The Lutz Church of God has been granted a special exception from the Pasco County Planning Commission, allowing it to locate a church on 8.50 acres, on the west side of School Road, at the northernmost intersection of Land O’ Lakes Boulevard and School Road.
The planning board approved the request, with conditions. Planning board Peter Hanzel voted no, saying he doesn’t think the proposed church is compatible with the surrounding development.
In granting the request, the planning board stipulated that the future church be prohibited from allowing access to the lake by motorized boats.
The church’s pastor said that won’t be a problem.
It may have an observation deck at some point, so people can view the lake, but has no plans for a boat launch, he said.
Three neighbors spoke against the request.
They said they were worried that the church could create an access to the lake, which already suffers from water quality issues, posing an ecological threat to the lake.
They said if that access was granted, there’s no way of knowing how many members of the congregation would use that access.
They also said the church’s traffic and other impacts would just be another thing they’d have to live with, in an area that already has traffic from nearby Sanders Memorial Elementary School, a church and Christian school on School Road, and Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park.
Planning board members told opponents of the project that the church would not be able to add a boat dock without environmental clearances, which would be unlikely to occur.
The site is flanked on the north by Edmonson Electric; on the east by School Road, vacant property and Land O’ Lakes Boulevard; on the south by wetlands and vacant land; and on the west by Lake Thomas and wetlands.
The site currently has a single residential dwelling, which will remain on the property to be used for church purposes, according to the church’s pastor.
Published September 20, 2023