The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a project that includes 280 apartments and 49,500 square feet of commercial, on the north side of State Road 54, between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Collier Parkway.
The site, approximately 25.4 acres, is about 2 miles west of the interchange of State Road 56 and Interstate 75.
The request received a recommendation for approval by county planners.
Attorney Clarke Hobby represents the A.G. Spanos Companies and the Aiken Trust.
“I’m very excited to be representing the Spanos Corporation,” Hobby told planning commissioners.
“My client tells me that they intend on building the nicest multifamily community that’s been built in Pasco County. It’s a very substantial company that’s built over 100,000 multifamily apartments. They’re all Class A around the United States for over 50 years.
“I feel it’s going to be a quality project, with quality people involved,” Hobby said.
The main access to the site would be from the intersection of State Road 54 and Oak Grove Boulevard, an existing signalized intersection.
The commercial portion of the request would be developed near the front of the property, to take advantage of the signalized intersection, Hobby said.
Hobby also noted that the applicant is seeking, In a separate action, an amendment to the county’s comprehensive plan, and the Pasco County Commission unanimously voted to forward that request to the state for review.
Such reviews are a standard part of the plan amendment process.
Hobby said his client wants to be a good neighbor.
“We realized there are about 10 or 12 houses that are adjacent to where the multifamily area will be back here, but we agreed to a 75-foot setback from our property boundary that effectively will create a 90- to a 100-foot setback from any home in here,” the attorney said.
“Additionally, this whole area already has mature oak trees on their side, and we’ll be planting a large buffer on our end,” he said.
Karen Mason, who lives on Foggy Bottom Parkway told planning commissioners that she wasn’t there to speak for or against the request. However, she did note that within a 1-mile radius of the Twin Lakes community there are 1,659 apartment units of 1-, 2- and 3-bedrooms.
“That’s within a 1-mile radius. You don’t have to travel much further to find many more. We’re not privy to the number of entitlements approved for that area,” she said. At the same time, however, Mason said she believes the Spanos Companies will build a quality project.
John Pavka, who has lived in the community for 25 years, said he lives within 400 feet of where the apartments will be built. He opposes the project.
“If you approve this and this thing goes through, my neighborhood is going to take a hit,” Pavka said.
Planning Commissioner Peter Hanzel asked if there could be negative consequences if the apartment market becomes overbuilt, and the economy cools.
Hobby responded: “I do not believe we are overbuilt or over-planned on multifamily units, now.
“We commissioned a firm to do a market study and they showed the penetration rates, even with the ones coming online, they’re all leasing up.”
He also said his client wouldn’t invest in a project that’s in the ballpark of $60 million if there was uncertainty the market could sustain it.
Planning Commissioner Michael Cox supported the request, making a motion for its approval.
“I’m a big believer of the capital markets. What’s being built is what’s being demanded.
“Recessions are normal. We go through them periodically. It’s part of the business cycle,” he said.
Cox said the project is clearly in keeping with the intent of the county’s comprehensive plan.
Planning commissioners voted to recommend approval to the Pasco County Commission, which is scheduled to consider it at a public hearing on Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m., in the board room at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive in New Port Richey.
Published September 11, 2019