A request for a rezoning in East Pasco sparked concerns about a lack of road connections between it and an adjoining neighborhood.
The issue came up during consideration of a request to rezone 38.29 acres zoned for agricultural uses to the Deer Springs master-planned unit development (MPUD) allowing up to 115 detached dwellings or 100 detached dwellings and 5 acres of office uses.
The new development is planned next to the Cobblestone MPUD, but there are no planned road connections between the two neighborhoods — because the county approved a waiver for the requirement.
Attorney Shelly Johnson, representing Deer Springs, told the county board: “There’s no place to connect to the north.”
County planner Tammy Snyder said it’s not possible to make road connections between the two developments because of Cobblestone’s development plan.
“It (Cobblestone) has platted residential lots and a great big stormwater pond abutting their southern boundary. So, there’s nowhere for this project (Deer Springs) to connect directly north to Cobblestone,” Snyder said.
Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey questioned the planning that would allow that to happen.
“Why is there not connectivity to the neighborhoods around it?” Starkey said.
“I think there should be multiple ways to go north and south,” Starkey said. “There should be stub out connections,” she said.
“I just think we should be connecting,” she said. “If we don’t have a grid, you’re going to be bottlenecking.”
She added: “I just don’t like all of these neighborhoods that we’re building that don’t connect to anything, and I think we’re going to get ourselves in trouble.
“I just want to make sure we’re not making mistakes that we’ve made in the last 10, 15 years,” Starkey said.
She told county staff: “We need to be sure that going forward, that everybody is connecting.”
Despite those concerns, the request received recommendations for approval from both the Pasco County Planning Commission and from county planners, and it ultimately passed on a 5-0 county board vote.
Starkey’s not the only one who has raised concerns about the lack of connectivity.
Back in June, Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein raised the same issue during a discussion of the update of the county’s long-range plan.
Goldstein said the county has a tool, in its land development code, requiring connections between neighborhoods but said that it allows the requirement to be waived too frequently.
The interconnections are intended to give motorists additional ways to get around, without routinely being forced onto main roads to reach their destination.
The county has made progress in creating walkable communities, Goldstein said, but it needs to be more consistent in requiring interconnectivity between neighborhoods.
Published December 28, 2022