The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended denial of a request for a conditional use permit to allow a residential treatment facility for up to 30 residents on Pomello Trace in Wesley Chapel.
Planning commissioners voted 5-0 against the request by Jordanes Hippolite, who is seeking permission to create an elderly care center, on a site at 29436 Pomella Trace, that’s smaller than a half-acre. The property is about 200 feet east of Caroline Drive.
The applicant proposed a single-story 4,500-square-foot facility. The application said the facility is intended for elderly residents.
In the application, the applicant states in part that, “as a Registered Nurse of 20+ years of experience, I’m writing this letter to request assistance in granting permission to build a home for elderly care in Wesley Chapel.
“As a dedicated caregiver to elderly residents of assisted living and memory care communities since 2000, I have worked as a nurse, where I assist residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with daily living needs.”
The county’s planning staff recommended approval, with a number of conditions.
But, several neighbors urged planning commissioners to reject the request.
Jeff Kirschner, of 29431 Pomello Trace, told planning commissioners that residents frequently take walks in the neighborhood with their pets, and their children ride their bicycles up and down the roads because there are no sidewalks.
He said the proposed care facility would be more appropriate on State Road 54 and is not “congruent” with the existing neighborhood.
“This was somebody’s backyard that someone purchased and wanted to make a commercial entity because of the convenience of it,” he said.
Michelle Obregon, of 29419 Pomello Trace, lives across the street from the proposed residential care center.
“I’ve been in the neighborhood for almost 15 years. The reason I chose the neighborhood was because of it being a quiet neighborhood to raise children in. I love Wesley Chapel. I love my neighbors.
“We only have one entrance in our neighborhood.
“We already have to share the road with those coming in and out. We have to share the road with our neighbors that are walking with their children. We have to share the road for the neighbors who are walking with their dogs. We have to share the road with the children who are riding bikes because we do not have sidewalks. We have to share the road with kids that are coming off the buses in the morning and afternoon.
“I know my neighbors. I do not know the people that will be living at the facility. I do not know the families of the people that would be living at the facility.
“This is a residential neighborhood. We want to keep it a residential neighborhood. We didn’t purchase for commercial to be put in there,” she said.
Other neighbors offered similar objections. They also raised concerns about ambulances coming and going to the residential care center, and about noise, drainage and property values. One neighbor submitted a petition with 112 signatures from people opposing the proposed use.
Planning commissioners Peter Hanzel and Michael Cox raised questions about trying to fit a facility of this nature on a lot of this size — while meeting necessary parking requirements.
“It’s almost like putting 10 pounds of sugar into a 5-pound sack,” Hanzel said.
“I don’t see the space there.
“To be very honest with you, I think at some point, you need to re-evaluate your business plan,” Hanzel added. “I don’t see it mathematically working out.”
Cox said: “Even at 20 (residents), how would you provide enough parking for the families that are coming out, and your staff and the support that would require.”
Cox added: “My mother was in an assisted living manor care unit for a long time. There was about 30 residents on the floor that she was on, and seeing the support staff that they had for those residents, there is no way in God’s green earth that you’re going to be able to do that on that piece of property.”
Cox called for denial of the request, which the board adopted.
The planning commission’s recommendation now goes to the Pasco County Commission, which has final jurisdiction on the request.
Published February 12, 2020