A huge swath of land now occupied primarily by pastures and trees is expected to become home to Two Rivers, off State Road 56, between Morris Bridge Road and U.S. 301.
The Pasco County Commission voted 5-0 to approve a master-planned unit development (MPUD) zoning that will allow 6,400 residences, more than 2.6 million square feet of office and industrial, and 630,000 square feet of commercial uses.
The 3,405-acre property’s southern boundary is on the north side of County Line Road, and its northern boundary is on the north side of State Road 56.
The Two Rivers development also includes a site for an elementary school, middle school and high school, an 80-acre district park and a public safety site.
The development also will feature a connectivity plan, with trails and pedestrian paths — aimed at making it easier for people to get around the community — without relying on vehicles.
The Eisenhower Property Group will be building the majority of residential uses within the project, said Clarke Hobby, an attorney representing the applicants. “The Thomas family is retaining substantially of the all non-residential uses within the MPUD,” he said.
The Thomas family also owns the adjacent property, directly south of the Two Rivers site, in Hillsborough County, and part of the approval for the Two Rivers project requires a connection between the two developments to give the Two Rivers project access to U.S. 301, on a planned extension of County Line Road through the Hillsborough tract.
If that connection isn’t made on the Hillsborough side, then Two Rivers will be required to make the connection on the Pasco side, as one of the conditions for approval.
The schools and district park are expected to be co-located, so they can share land and other amenities, according to Joel Tew, who is co-counsel with Hobby, for the applicants.
The exact access to the school isn’t shown on the map because the school district and county must work out their plans to ensure access and safety for different uses, Tew said.
The shared uses could be similar to the arrangement the county and school district have at the Starkey Ranch K-8 and district park site in Odessa.
The Two Rivers project has been in planning stages for decades, Hobby said, noting that “Bob Sierra had this site under contract back as far as 2008.”
The Thomas family played an instrumental role in helping to secure the funding for the first two lanes of the State Road 56 extension to U.S. 301, and then for lanes three and four of the extension, Hobby said.
“Two Rivers was the largest part of the additional surcharges that are imposed on developments in this area to pay for lanes three and four of that extension. Of the $26 million that the county has to pay back to the state infrastructure bank, $15 million of that comes solely from surcharges on development on Two Rivers,” he said.
“What we’re bringing to you today reflects a lot of thought and effort by a lot of parts of your staff, the school board, particularly your natural resources (department) and the county attorney’s office.
“We believe this project has been done the right way,” he said.
“One of the biggest things you have to remember about Two Rivers is that it truly is a mixed-use project,” Hobby said, with 2.6 million square feet of employment-generating uses.
“So, this project has been set up correctly, from the get-go. We’re not shortchanging it. And, we’re going to create a lot of jobs along the way, in addition to creating an overall great community,” Hobby said.
Some residents objected to aspects of the request, including potential traffic congestion, concerns about potential flooding, and a lack of specificity regarding access points and other details, but the county board was not swayed by the testimony.
Published September 22, 2021