The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a request that would allow an increase in commercial square footage and more multifamily units on 490 acres at the northwest and southwest quadrants of State Road 56 and Interstate 75.
Planning commissioners joined with Pasco County’s planning staff in recommending approval of the request to modify the master-planned unit development. The Pasco County Commission has the final say.
Attorney Clarke Hobby represented the applicant during a Jan. 10 public hearing before the Planning Commission at the county’s historic courthouse in Dade City.
Planning commissioner Peter Hanzel raised questions about the potential impacts the modified plan could have on Pasco County Schools.
But Chris Williams, a school district representative who sits on the board, said the school district can absorb the impacts.
The additional multifamily units would generate 27 elementary students, 12 middle school students and 16 high school students — which the district would be able to serve through Denham Oaks Elementary, which has existing capacity, and Cypress Middle and Cypress High schools, Williams said.
“We feel we have sufficient capacity to house these students in the middle and high school, as well, when the new (middle) school opens.” The new middle school will open in 2020, Williams said.
The proposed modification would allow for an increase of retail/commercial square footage from 1,998,400 square feet to 2,399,500 square feet — an increase of 401,000 square feet. It also calls for a decrease in hotel rooms from 350 rooms to 135 rooms; and, an increase of multifamily units from 230 units to 600 units.
“The Sierras (who own the property) believe that they need some additional commercial,” Hobby said. “That’s the primary thing we’re doing here, over the long haul.”
The Sierras plan to continue ownership of these parcels in their family entities for many years, Hobby said. “They wanted to extend the buildout date.”
“On the multifamily, the Sierras have one parcel that is located near the northern boundary of the north parcel that already has some approval for multifamily and fits within the 230 number of units they already have.
“There’s only one more parcel up near the north boundary that they are thinking of adding multifamily on, but they have no plans immediately,” the attorney added.
“They’re trying to plan for the next 15, 20, 25 years. And, they do believe because of the mixed-use nature of the project, with all of the office and all of the retail that’s going to build out there, that it’s a good site, ultimately, for multifamily.
“We’re trying to make a true mixed-use parcel,” Hobby said.
Published January 16, 2019