Victorious Life Assembly of God Inc., is seeking a rezoning that would allow 122 single-family homes on 41.80 acres on the east side of Old Pasco Road, about 250 feet south of Overpass Road, in Wesley Chapel.
The request seeks to change the zoning from agricultural to a master-planned unit development.
Both the Pasco County Planning Commission and county planners have recommended approval of the request during the planning board’s April 22 meeting.
As part of the rezoning request, the applicant asked for variations from the county’s land development code.
The applicant is seeking a variation of a requirement to landscape the neighborhood park according to the county’s landscaping and screening requirements. Instead of placing a buffer around the perimeter of the park, as required, the applicant has suggested planting landscaping with the park.
The park, according to information in the planning board’s agenda packet, “will be designed to have an open feel and be visible from the residential development across the streets for safety purposes and aesthetics. The design will create an open feel so that it brings the community together and provides greater safety for the residents.”
The applicant also asked to decrease the required size of the park from 1.20 acres to 0.70 acres. That request is tied to a negotiation with the county for a smaller park, in exchange for dedicating an additional 1.23 acres of right of way needed for the future widening of Old Pasco Road, noted Tammy Snyder, a county planner.
She also noted that Wesley Chapel District Park is a large park, within walking distance from the proposed subdivision.
However, Planning Commissioner Peter Hanzel took issue with the request for a smaller park — noting that would shortchange residents within the subdivision. He also disputed the rationale citing the location of Wesley Chapel District Park as a justification for creating a smaller park within the neighborhood.
“How does that benefit the residents that are going to live there? It doesn’t,” Hanzel said.
He also questioned the notion of people from the neighborhood walking to Wesley Chapel District Park. He cited distance and safety concerns.
“I find it difficult to have adults or children walking Old Pasco Road, especially in the future, because it’s going to become a four-lane road eventually,” Hanzel said.
Hanzel also said fencing is needed to separate the neighborhood park and the pond on the site.
“This size park, which I would refer to as a kiddie park, you would assume there would be some type of barrier between the park and the pond,” he said.
It’s needed to keep young children, who are often attracted to water, from getting into the pond, he said.
Representatives for the applicant agreed to add fencing, to increase the park size from 0.70 acres to 0.90 acres and to add an amenity package at the park.
With those added conditions, Hanzel made a motion for approval, which was seconded, and the board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning and conditions.
The request was next scheduled to be heard at the Pasco County Commission’s meeting on May 18, which was after The Laker/Lutz News went to press.
Published May 19, 2021