The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a proposal that would expand the area where new applications for multifamily are on hold.
The planning board voted to recommend approval of the expansion during its Jan. 6 meeting.
The larger area was proposed by Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, who has championed the pause on new multifamily applications — to allow completion of a study to determine whether the county has an oversaturation of entitled apartment developments.
Moore repeatedly has warned his colleagues about potential long-term consequences from allowing too many approvals of apartment projects.
He fears the prospect of an oversupply leading to buildings being abandoned, as renters move to newer developments. That, he has said, will set the stage for blight and increased crime.
The temporary moratorium on new multifamily applications applies only to an area within Moore’s District 2.
The temporary ban on new applications applies to an area essentially made up of Wesley Chapel and Land O’ Lakes.
The area initially was generally defined as between State Road 52, on the north; U.S. 41, on the west; State Road 54 on the south; and, Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, on the east. The boundary zigzags between Moore’s District 2 and Commissioner Ron Oakley’s District 1.
The proposed expansion includes several additional areas along the State Road 54/State Road 56 corridor.
The expansion area can generally be defined as State Road 54 to Collier Parkway to County Line Road (south) to Mansfield Boulevard to State Road 56; and from just east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and State Road 54 due north to Interstate 75 to Overpass Road and west to the existing moratorium boundary.
The planning board’s recent recommendation follows Moore’s request to apply the moratorium to areas that became part of his district as a result of redistricting.
(The board recently adopted new boundaries for commission districts in response to population changes recorded by the 2020 U.S. Census. Redistricting is an exercise that aims to balance out population within individual voting districts.)
The call for expanding the moratorium area does not include a request to extend the April 1 deadline on the moratorium.
Originally, the moratorium was set to expire on Sept. 28, 2021, but the county board extended it for 185 days, to allow more time to complete the study.
The study is examining whether there’s a potential oversaturation due to existing and possible future multifamily developments, and to determine whether additional regulations are necessary.
It aims to identify how much multifamily already is entitled and to examine market demand, occupancy rates and other issues.
A housing market research firm is preparing the report and will present it to the board.
That report will cover the current quantity of multifamily dwelling unit entitlements and the current acreage of land zoned for multifamily dwelling units, including the acreage having potential for multifamily units upon approval of a conditional use.
It also will include the potential number of multifamily dwelling units available through existing land use equivalency matrices to accurately calculate and determine the true potential for the oversaturation of multifamily dwelling units within the moratorium area.
If the expansion area is approved by the county board, it would take effect on Jan. 6 — the date of the planning board’s public hearing on the topic.
In extending the original deadline, county staff said the extension was justified because of procedural delays, staff shortages, and the complexities associated with accurate data collection.
In its original approval of the ordinance allowing the temporary pause on new multifamily applications, the county board described the action as being “in the best interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, and (noted) that it advances a valid and important public purpose.”
Published January 12, 2022