A proposal for a 24 million-square-foot corporate business park, plus residential and other components in Central Pasco is a step closer to reality.
The proposed development, dubbed Project Arthur, would be located on 6,951 acres — east of the Suncoast Parkway, west of the CSX rail line and south of State Road 52.
In addition to the massive office park, there would be 11,495 residences and other supportive uses, under the proposal.
Besides changing the county’s long-range land use plan, Project Arthur requires changes to the county’s highway vision map.
The Pasco County Commission voted 4-0 on Dec. 11, with Commissioner Kathryn Starkey absent, to transmit the proposed changes to the Department of Economic Opportunity and other agencies for review.
Commissioner Mike Wells welcomes the proposed project. “This is about jobs. It’s about time we’re a county that’s creating jobs, being competitive with the region,” Wells said.
The next step is a much more detailed process, which lays out all of the particulars for a Master Plan Unit Development that would govern the way the tract is developed, according to Clarke Hobby, the land use attorney representing the applicants.
In presenting the proposal to county commissioners, Ernest Monaco, assistant planning and development administrator, characterized it as “a great opportunity for Pasco County to address the imbalances between jobs and housing.”
The site had been previously approved on the county’s long-range plan for a variety of uses. The net increase, under the Project Arthur plan, is approximately 19 million square feet of employment-generating land use, Monaco said.
Project Arthur will create an employment center, with residential to support it, reducing the need for people to commute elsewhere for jobs, Monaco said.
In the planning department’s report on the request, planners noted: “Project Arthur is uniquely poised to create an innovative and sustainable community, which uses the site’s strategic location to realize the employment-generating vision set forth in the County’s 2008 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Report.”
Specific issues, such as the need for schools, police and fire services, would be addressed during the request for approval of zoning for the development, Hobby said.
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the proposed long-term land use and highway vision map changes during its Nov. 29 meeting.
During that meeting, some planning commissioners expressed great enthusiasm for the proposal.
Planning Commissioner Peter Hanzel said, “When I was reading through this document, I became very excited about it, and I’ll tell you why. There’s city in California called Davis, California, it’s outside of Sacramento.
“When I read through this document, it almost identifies that city. It’s a self-contained city. For the most part, the people who live there, work there. They have a great hospital. They have great recreational facilities.
“It will definitely be a benefit for Pasco County. It will definitely be a benefit for employment opportunities that will be available,” he said.
Planning Commissioner Roberto Baez added: “Thank you for being in Pasco County, and for embracing Pasco County and believing in this community. That is the kind of project that is going to change the entire county.”
Hobby said he expects to be back before the Planning Commission in a matter of months to present a more specific plan.
“We’re excited. This is a big opportunity; I think everybody can see that,” Hobby said.
Published December 19, 2018