The new Two Rivers community proposed to rise along State Road 56, between Morris Bridge Road and U.S. 301, is a step closer to reality.
The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended the approval of changes to a highway vision map and to the text of the county’s comprehensive plan — to bring the envisioned project closer to fruition.
The Pasco County Commission has final jurisdiction over land use and zoning decisions, so the project still needs additional approvals before any work can commence.
But, plans for the area envision a 3,405-acre community that offers a mixture of housing types, work opportunities, shopping, recreation and schools.
The Two Rivers project has been in planning stages — off and on — for more than 10 years, and there have been a number of ownership changes, according to Craig Lohmiller, a group leader for Ardurra, who has been involved with the project for more than a decade.
Current plans call for creating Two Rivers as a master-planned development in Pasco County, which would tie into a community under the same ownership that is south of the Pasco-Hillsborough line, according to attorney Clarke Hobby, co-counsel on the project along with Attorney Joel Tew.
Background materials in the agenda packet detail that planning for the project site includes:
- 246 acres of conservation area
- 3,875 single-family homes
- 1,400 multi-family homes
- 1,125 age-restricted homes
- 1.3 million square feet for a targeted industry
- 630,000 square feet retail
The plan also includes schools for elementary, middle and high students, on property that would be next to an 80-acre county park.
The plan calls for an extensive trail system that provides connectivity within the community, Hobby said.
It emphasizes walkability and also encourages the use of alternate modes of transportation, such as golf carts, to get from place to place, Lohmiller said.
The plan also calls for numerous recreational amenities, including recreational complexes, multipurpose fields, ball diamonds, an aquatics center, playgrounds, a dog park, tennis and basketball courts, and open spaces, Lohmiller said.
“We’re really excited about that,” he said.
There’s a large boulevard loop within the community, which will create a way to get around, without disrupting major wetland features, Lohmiller said.
Plus, there will be areas along the loop that “will support neighborhood retail, restaurants, other commercial opportunities, coffee shops, things like that, to really engage the community.
“When you complete the loop, with the southern piece of the property, it’s about 6 ½ miles,” he said.
Lohmiller envisions community activities, such as farmer’s markets, runs and festivals.
Hobby told planning commissioners that the project has had starts and stops since the mid-2000s.
Now that the extension of State Road 56 has been completed, he said, the project “is really ready to take off.”
State Road 56 was extended through this project and two others, Hobby said, and the county was able to build the road as a four-lane road, instead of two lanes, through a state infrastructure bank loan, through the Florida Department of Transportation.
“The county and the applicant owner worked together with two other big projects, to make (State Road) 56 happen, all at once. It’s been a collaborative deal for a number of years, and the county needs those mobility fee surcharges to pay back the state infrastructure bank loan that the county took out,” Hobby said.
The county’s transportation staff resisted two changes to the highway vision map, proposed by the applicant.
One involved reclassifying a road and the other involved removing a road.
The applicants explained their rationale, and planning commissioners supported their request.
Another proposed change initially called for removing an extension of County Line Road from the map because there are plans to extend it to the south, on land owned by the same property owner in Hillsborough County.
But David Goldstein, Pasco’s chief assistant county attorney, suggested a different option. He said the road should be kept on the map, along with a note to indicate it would not be needed, if a parallel road was built in Hillsborough County.
“Hillsborough County has been known to threaten us, if we don’t give them something they want on a different road. If for some reason they try to hold us hostage and not allow construction of the network to the south, I don’t want us to be stuck without any east-west road,” Goldstein explained.
Tew and Hobby agreed with Goldstein’s solution.
This request will now go to the Pasco County Commission for consideration.
If the proposed changes are approved, the applicant’s next step will be to see a rezoning to a master-planned unit development, which is expected in coming months.
Published January 13, 2021