The Pasco County Commission has approved a rezoning on North Dale Mabry Highway, near the Pasco County line, in Lutz, for an apartment development next to an existing Target store.
The approved rezoning will allow up to 238 multi-family units to replace commercial entitlements on about 9 acres.
The rezoning also changes the name of the development from Dale Mabry Town Center to Arlington Dale Mabry master-planned development.
The site is on the southeast side of Dale Mabry Highway approximately one-half mile south of the Dale Mabry Highway/U.S. 41 intersection. It is adjacent to Hillsborough County to the south.
The existing site has a Target and a bank, but the remaining commercial portion had been undeveloped.
Attorney Clarke Hobby, representing the applicant, said it had remained undeveloped for about 17 years because there were restrictions in place prohibiting all sorts of commercial uses that may have developed — had those restrictions not been in place.
The land was zoned for commercial, but is designated on the county’s long-range land for up to six residential units per acre.
The site has remained undeveloped because there have been significant restrictions for the types of commercial allowed on the site, Hobby said.
Those restrictions prohibit gas stations, bars, liquor stores, hotels, secondhand stores, car dealerships, bowling alleys, movie theaters, vet offices, massage clinics, schools and technical schools, and there’s a severe limitation on restaurants.
That’s the reason the site has been vacant for so many years and has become a place where semi-trailer trucks park and people dump mattresses, wooden pallets, tires and other items, based on photographs that Hobby provided to the county board.
Taxes weren’t paid on the property for eight years; it was almost lost to a tax deed sale and the lender foreclosed on the site in 2015, Hobby said.
The county also brought a code enforcement lawsuit against the property, the attorney added.
“The only realistic use is multifamily,” Hobby said. “This fills in an area that needs some productive use.
“This is clearly a good, economically viable use and is going to be the first time the site has been in any type of productive use since at least 2005,” Hobby said.
The request had previously been brought to the board, but was put on hold for additional study after commissioners Jack Mariano and Mike Moore questioned the wisdom of swapping out commercial land — which can generate jobs — for more apartments.
But after Hobby told board members about the restrictions that had been imposed on commercial uses, Mariano said he had a better understanding of the situation.
Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey said: “This is a great improvement over what we have going on, there.”
She said the satellite photograph shows 11 semi-trailer trucks that are likely illegally parked on the property.
No one from the public spoke for or against the request.
The board rezoned the property on a 5-0 vote.
Published August 17, 2022