Lack of building permits halts work

Pasco County issued a stop work order at Epperson, after a routine county fire inspection found 19 structures lacked building permits.

A 7.5-acre recreational pool by Crystal Lagoons is being built at Epperson.

The May 10 inspection came less than two weeks after Epperson kicked off the anticipated opening of the Crystal Lagoons amenity. The festivities, to mark the first development in the United States with this type of amenity, featured an appearance by Michael Phelps, the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics.

The massive pool, with a patented technology to keep its waters crystal clear, covers about 7.5 acres at Epperson.

Pasco County building officials were notified of the problem immediately, and the stop work order issued the same day, said Anthony Mastracchio, the county’s deputy building official.

County officials said most of the structures without permits were tiki bars and cabanas.

Representatives of Metro Development Group, which is developing Epperson, met with building officials about the permits on May 14, and permit applications are being pursued, Mastracchio said.

“This is a great project and the county wants it to move forward,” he said.

However, the county will assess penalties by doubling the cost of the permit fees.

Mastracchio said some of the structures weren’t placed on the initial site plan submitted a year ago but Metro Development has provided new drawings which include the structures.

Building inspections, including plumbing and electrical, are done by a private company, which then files reports with the county.

Mastracchio said the county only does the fire inspections.

“Our process actually worked,” he said. “He (fire marshal) alerted us immediately. Our concern is for life safety.”

Metro Development’s president, Greg Singleton, wasn’t available for comment.

Epperson officials did release this statement: “The Crystal Lagoon at Epperson unfortunately did not open as we all hoped on May 19th. Here’s why: This is the first-ever Crystal Lagoon in the United States, and while exciting, that means the review processes are all new, and that is requiring more certifications. We know this is disappointin

g, and we apologize. We are working closely with Pasco County partners, and we appreciate their diligence. Meanwhile, we are doing everything we can to welcome everyone to the lagoon as soon as possible.”

Published June 6, 2018

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