The Pasco County Planning Commission is recommending approval of proposed office development on a 1.67-acre site at the southwest corner of State Road 54 and Meadowbrook Drive, in Lutz.
The site is the same one where neighbors vigorously resisted a proposed gas station and convenience store.
That pursuit was dropped after the Pasco County Commission denied a request to amend the county’s comprehensive plan to allow general commercial uses to be considered at that location.
The county board’s action then prompted the applicant, Kiddie Campus University Inc., to change its previously filed companion rezoning request from one seeking commercial uses to one that allows a professional office use.
A land use amendment is not needed to accommodate the office request.
Attorney Barbara Wilhite, representing the applicant, told the planning board that her client has amended the rezoning request to office, in reaction to the county board “not wanting to see commercial uses at that location.”
She continued: “We heard over and over and over at both (previous) public hearings that office would be compatible, commercial would not.
“I think there was a recognition that this property is on State Road 54, at a signalized intersection, and it’s not appropriate for residential use,” she said.
Her client is seeking the least intense office use, Wilhite said, adding that in previous public hearings involving the site, the neighbors remarked that “what’s nice about office is, it’s occupied during the day, it’s not occupied at night, generally speaking, or on weekends.”
While previous hearings on the proposed gas station attracted a sizable number of opponents, only two people spoke at the planning commission’s July 22 hearing.
Jennifer Robertson, who lives on Riverstone Drive, told the planning board: “I don’t object to it, only because I know something will go there.”
However, she voiced concerns about flooding and also asked that the neighbors be able to weigh in on what the development looks like.
“We do want something that looks nice for our neighborhood, since it’s within our neighborhood,” she said.
Douglas Grant, who also lives in the area, said he doesn’t object to the portion of the rezoning that abuts State Road 54.
However, the southern lot, which is also part of the rezoning, represents a commercial intrusion into a residential neighborhood, he said.
He said he would drop his objection if the southern property was used as an area for a retention pond, or if the development met a number of other conditions.
Attorney Wilhite said her client is seeking a “low-intensity office” use.
She added: “We will be a good neighbor. We have worked with the neighbors before.”
The planning board voted unanimously, with Planning Commissioner Roberto Saez absent, to recommend approval of the rezoning.
Published July 28, 2021