The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a conditional use permit to allow an apartment development on the west side of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, south of Eagleston Boulevard.
The request, submitted by Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation, would allow a maximum of 248 apartments on the 16.24-acre site. Adventist intends to sell the land to enable the development.
The Pasco County Commission is scheduled to hear the request on Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m., in the board’s chambers at the Historic Pasco County Courthouse in Dade City.
Pete Pensa, director of planning for AVID Group of Tampa, outlined details of the request for planning commissioners.
The property is located at 5101 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., which is about one-fourth mile south of Wesley Chapel Boulevard, Pensa said. It has direct frontage on Bruce B. Downs and Eagleston boulevards.
There’s a mixture of development in the area, including retail, medical office uses, car dealerships and an assisted living facility, Pensa said.
It’s south of BayCare’s planned hospital, which recently was announced, Pensa said.
Baycare hospital officials recently had a ceremonial groundbreaking for the facility, which is under construction.
Other nearby uses include fast-food and sit-down restaurants, and a bank, Pensa added.
“To the south of us are townhomes and single-family subdivisions,” he said, adding, “there is no existing multifamily within this mixed-use quadrant.”
He also mentioned that multifamily is an appropriate transitional use between commercial to the north and single-family residential to the south.
The site has been zoned for commercial use since 1984, but there hasn’t been a market for that use, Pensa said. “They’ve not been able to find a buyer and developer.”
“There are a variety of commercial uses in the area that support the project, both from opportunities for shopping and eating, as well as working, including the BayCare facility,” he said.
The hospital is expected to have 275 jobs, and the nearby assisted living facility.
Plans call for preserving a significant portion of the apartment project property, Pensa added.
Amenities will include walking trails around a pond, a park, a dog park, picnic areas, a clubhouse and a pool.
Pensa also noted that there would be fewer trips generated by this development than from a commercial use. And, he said there is water, sewer and reclaimed water available to service the site.
He submitted two letters of support for the project.
However, there were objections.
Todd Yontec emailed his objections, noting that he’s a longtime resident of the Seven Oaks community and objects to adding apartments in an area that already has plenty of residential development.
“This would truly be poor planning by the commission, if it keeps adding apartment complexes without encouraging the building of the infrastructure to support the increasing population density in this area,” Yontec wrote.
“The only deviation from this original plan that I would support would be to return the parcel to wetlands, or create a park,” he added.
Planning commissioner Roberto Saez, who lives in Seven Oaks, also objected to the request.
He said the area is oversaturated with apartment complexes.
“I go to Publix. Every time, it’s getting busier,” he said, making it harder to find parking.
“As an owner, I believe it is increasing the value of my property. As a user, it can be a real nightmare. I don’t see any type of expansion of Bruce B. Downs. I don’t see any plan to cover the schools,” Saez said.
“I have a hard time with the project, to be honest with you,” the planning commissioner added.
Saez said he’s also concerned about overloading Seven Oaks Elementary School.
Chris Williams, who represents Pasco County Schools on the planning board, said the proposed development would generate 30 elementary school students.
Saez voiced skepticism about that projection.
But, Williams said the biggest impact on schools comes from single-family developments.
As the school district’s director of planning, Williams is in charge of the planning done to address future school needs.
He said he has no concerns about the impact on schools from the proposed development.
“We don’t object to this particular development,” Williams said.
Revised on Jan. 3, 2021