The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended changes to the county’s land use plan to allow consideration of 285 dwelling units at the southeast corner of State Road 52 and Old Pasco Road.
The current land use designation, RES-3, allows up to three dwellings per acre. The new one, RES-12, would allow up to 12 dwellings per acre on slightly less than 28 acres. About 1.85 acres of the 29.25-acre site would retain its current designation of ROR (office, retail, residential) — but the intention is to use the entire site for a residential project, according to materials in the planning board’s March 17 meeting agenda packet.
In addition to the land use change, the applicant, represented by attorney Barbara Wilhite, intends to seek a rezoning for a master-planned unit development including detached or attached units, with buildings on the site being no more than two stories tall, according to the agenda backup.
Initially, the applicant was seeking to change the entire site to a land use designation allowing 12 units per acre. The applicant, however, amended the request, after David Goldstein, chief assistant county attorney, raised issues about amending the ROR portion of the site.
Goldstein told Nectarios Pittos, the county’s planning and development director, that he was concerned about changing the ROR designation to R-12 because of the potential for a future request to change the ROR use on the property to the north, to allow additional residential.
He asked Pittos if the planning director could document “that we’re not giving additional residential to that property owner to the north, because there’s already adequate residential in this ROR district, including the area we’re about to change right now.”
Another option, Goldstein said, would be for the county to change the designation on the land to commercial, to retain office and retail uses on the land.
“The problem with the ROR district is that it allows all three (commercial, office and retail),” Goldstein said.
“I just think it would be a mistake to take that key corner of (State Road) 52 and Old Pasco Road and make it residential … I’m worried that 10 years from now some staff person says, ‘ROR, residential’s allowed.’”
Pittos said he understood Goldstein’s concern and that he could make a notation in the county’s files.
That’s when Clarke Hobby, an attorney who frequently appears on behalf of clients at land use and zoning hearings, stepped up to the microphone.
Hobby told the planning board that he wasn’t there to represent the property owner to the north, but that he is working with that landowner.
Hobby then said: “I think it’s really inappropriate for the county to be effectively trying to impose conditions on their (the adjacent) property, when their property wasn’t the subject of today’s application.
“Effectively what you are saying is that their comp (land use) plan is being changed or conditioned somehow today, and they had no knowledge of it, so I think it’s unfair,” Hobby said.
Goldstein then asked Wilhite why it was necessary to change the ROR designation on the pending application.
Both the attorney and the county planning staff told Wilhite the density that is being sought in the forthcoming request for master-planned unit development could be achieved, without changing the ROR designation.
Wilhite said she was willing to drop that request, as long as it did not require re-advertising the request or delaying the process.
Goldstein said re-advertising would not be required because Wilhite is not seeking to change the ROR. That being said, Wilhite agreed.
In the backup materials, planners recommended approval of the proposed land use change, noting that it complies with the county’s policy regarding the provision of transitional uses to serve as a buffer between varying densities of residential and commercial land uses.
Planners also found that the “proposed amendment to RES-12 supports the vision and
mission of the South Market Area by encouraging higher-density residential development adjacent to major corridors.”
And, they noted because of the proximity of the Interstate 75 corridor and State Road 52, the proposed use “provides the opportunity for residents to live/work within major corridors.”
The planning board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed land use change. The request now goes to the Pasco County Commission, which has final jurisdiction on land use and zoning changes.
The proposed development cannot proceed until the pending master-planned unit development zoning also gains approval from the county board.
Published March 23, 2022