The Pasco Planning Commission is recommending approval of a rezoning that will allow homes to be built on 5-acre lots, instead of 10-acre lots, on a 211-acre site, on the northwest corner of Trilby Road and Dowling Lake Road.
The applicant for the rezoning change, Massey Partners Limited, was represented by attorney Clarke Hobby.
Planning commissioners are recommending approval despite opposition by nearby neighbors.
County planners also have recommended approval.
Art Woodworth, who lives nearby, expressed concerns about the potential for public access to Dowling Lake, from the new homes that will be built.
Plans call for eight new lots to be situated on Lake Dowling, with other lots without direct access.
“They might want to have a common beach area or a dock — well, we have a problem with that,” Woodworth said. “I don’t want to have a dock across the lake from me where 34 homeowners can get together and have parties. I object to that.”
He also expressed concerns about adding more traffic to Trilby Road, which is a narrow road.
“There are curves on Trilby Road that have very little sight distance, at best 100 feet,” Woodworth said.
He noted: “Cars commonly encroach into the other lane because the lane widths are so narrow.”
Calvin Weese, a neighbor to the north, told planning commissioners: “They never came to us — asked us for our input, listened to our concerns, (to) hear other options or suggestions we may have.
“I haven’t heard anyone in the neighboring area say that they support this change,” Weese said, adding the impacts on the neighbors were not considered.
“It you can see through the smoke and mirrors, it’s simply a way of getting more value for this property,” Weese said.
Another neighbor, Chris Baker, urged planning commissioners to deny the request — in order to help preserve the area’s wildlife and serenity.
“It’s an amazing place,” he said. That lake is unique. It’s special. There’s a lot of wildlife there. There’s a nesting pair of eagles that hunt there, half the year.
“We see many eagles there, when they come back in season. We see a great deal of hawks, cardinals, every type of raptor that Florida has to offer, are there,” he said.
He said his fear is, “you put too much activity in there, it’s going to chase away some of these animals.”
Sylvia Kelly, another neighbor, also is worried about adding more traffic to Trilby Road.
“It’s a dangerous road for all of us that are out there,” she said. “There are deep culverts.”
She urged planning commissioners to retain the requirement for a minimum lot size of 10 acres.
Hobby said the applicant is willing to record a deed restriction that would limit the number of lots on the lakefront to eight. He also agreed to language that will prohibit a community dock, boat launch or beach.
“We are not in here seeking small lots. We are in here seeking the second largest lots in the county,” Hobby said.
“This project is going to have a negligible effect on Trilby Road and the surrounding network,” he added.
Planning Commission Chairman Charles Grey said, “For me, it’s difficult to deny someone something that other people have been granted.
“I don’t think they’re asking for anything that’s not permitted in the code,” he added.
Grey said initially he was concerned about potential impacts to the lake.
“I wasn’t happy with (the possibility of) having 35 people have access to that lake,” Grey said. “I know if I lived on that lake, that would ruin it for me. I wouldn’t vote for that. I wouldn’t allow that.”
Unlike the neighbors, Grey said, “I don’t think it’s going to spoil the rural nature of that area.”
Planning Commissioner Michael Cox noted the applicant is the majority landowner on the lake.
The request now goes to the Pasco County Commission for final consideration. A public hearing on the request has been scheduled for Oct. 7 at 1:30 p.m., in the board chambers at the Historic Pasco County Courthouse, in downtown Dade City.
Published September 11, 2019