As the Pasco County Commission was wrapping up a meeting last month, Commission Chairman Ron Oakley called for increased scrutiny on how Pasco is growing.
Developers coming into the county should build communities, not merely subdivisions, according to Oakley, who has deep roots in Pasco County.
“If we don’t start looking out for what we’re getting built here in our county, in large developments — if we don’t start watching it closer, then we’ll have developed land for houses that will just be houses,” Oakley said.
“And, I think what we all really want for our county is to have developed land that becomes a community for each project that we have, going forth,” he said.
He then went on to describe what those communities should include.
“One that has architectural design in it. One that has better landscaping,” he said.
Put simply: He said builders who want to be a part of Pasco County need to have a better product.
Oakley pointed to recent concerns raised by Commissioner Kathryn Starkey about a lack of landscaping.
There are areas in Pasco, Oakley said, “that I think we’ve gotten housing developments — whether small or large, that they’re really not up to what we really need for our county.”
They don’t measure up to the county’s desire to be a premiere county, Oakley said.
“We need better than that,” he said.
He wants the county to have tighter controls over its master-planned developments.
“I’m not saying all of them are bad. Some of them are great. Some of them are so-so. There are some that I’ve seen lately, and Commissioner Starkey brought them up — showed us a picture — that when you look down a road and you see concrete sidewalk, concrete driveway and houses either all the same color, or just bland. No landscaping.
“There’s something wrong with us developing that kind of product and we need better than that in our community,” Oakley said.
He called on County Administrator Dan Biles and his staff “to bring something forward to us that will improve that look of Pasco County.
“I plan on being here until my last days. I don’t want to see some of the product that I’ve seen that’s terrible looking and not a good community for people to live in.
“I don’t want to just push houses. We all want to live in a place that looks better. We don’t want to live in a place where you don’t have any landscaping,” Oakley said.
Oakley added: “I’ve seen some residential areas, they’re just absolutely terrible. And they’re supposed to be new and I can tell you, they don’t look new.
“We want the best for the folks that live in Pasco and work here, and play and do all of the things that we fight to do the right way,” he said. “Mr. Biles, please bring that to us, sooner than later.”
Commissioner Mike Moore said he agrees with Oakley, but Moore is particularly concerned about development along the State Road 54/State Road 56 corridor.
“Let’s be very conscious of the things that we do approve along that corridor (State Road 54/State 56,” Moore said.
County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder sought some clarification from Oakley: “So, what you’re really asking for is amendments to the land development code — that this would be applied universally to MPUD (master planned unit development) projects, single-family, primarily.
“Pasco has traditionally taken the approach of a conceptual MPUD. You think the board may be looking for a little more detail, a little more permanency to that plan. So, regulation that creates a community versus a subdivision.”
Oakley agreed with Steinsnyder’s assessment.
The county attorney added that research being done now, during the county’s temporary moratorium on new multifamily applications, may be pertinent to issues raised by Moore.
Published June 02, 2021