Pasco County commissioners, for a second time, pushed off a decision on the fate of the Quail Hollow Golf Course.
In a 3-2 vote, they opted to continue the issue until June 6 at 1:30 p.m. in Dade City.
The intent is to give the golf course owner and Quail Hollow homeowners more time to settle differences.
But, there is a wide gulf between an owner who wants to redevelop his unprofitable golf course, and homeowners who want to preserve their golf course community.
“They want to stop the project,” said Barbara Wilhite, a land use attorney representing the golf course owner.
Andre Carollo, of Pasco Office Park LLC, wants to close the golf course and build up to 400 single-family houses, 30,000 square feet of office/retail and 10,000 square feet of day care.
Quail Hollow homeowners packed the boardroom at the Historic Pasco County Courthouse to again plead their case on May 9.
The outcome of the meeting was the same as it was at the April meeting — without a vote on the project, and with a continuance.
Homeowners are challenging the project and the impacts of construction.
“The runoff from construction will affect the water, the wetlands and the basin to the Hillsborough River,” said Anna Spencely.
Homeowners also worry about a loss of property values, and increased traffic along inadequate roadways.
Homeowners also say they bought their homes based on long-ago sales pitches that they were buying into a golf course community.
Wilhite disputes that, saying the golf course was built prior to the subdivision.
Maureen Jones, a Sarasota-based attorney, is representing the Quail Hollow Neighborhood Citizens Group Inc. She raised questions about homeowners’ property rights in Quail Hollow, but also in an adjacent subdivision.
She sparred repeatedly with Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore and with Pasco County Attorney Jeff Steinsnyder, who told Jones not to stray from allowed topics of discussion.
Moore and Steinsnyder told speakers that comments had to strictly deal with the four additional conditions that had been added to the project’s site plan since the previous public hearing.
The new conditions include designing a stormwater management plan for 25-year and 100-year storm events of 24-hour duration, and hiring an inspector to oversee activity before and during construction.
Pasco County Commissioners Ron Oakley and Kathryn Starkey expressed support for the project, and voted against the continuance.
“These golf courses are going defunct everywhere,” Starkey said. “Something has to be done with them. This gentleman has property rights. I am definitely a property rights person.”
Oakley agreed that Carollo, under county codes, has the right to rezone his property.
But, Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano responded, “These other people (homeowners) have property rights, too.”
Mariano also had a compliment for Wilhite.
“You’ve done a phenomenal job,” Mariano said. “I think I’d like to give you and the (homeowners) association one last chance, and bring it back.”
If the project is approved and a lawsuit is filed against the developer and the county, one stipulation is the applicant, not the county, would pay legal fees.
No additional public comment is expected on June 6.
Published May 17, 2017