The Pasco County Commission has approved a rezoning for two new villages in Connerton, and that clears the way for the creation of a 40-acre Downtown Connerton.
Plans also call for creating connections — through trails and mid-block pedestrian crossings — that encourage walkability and reduce reliance on automobiles.
The plan promotes the use of neighborhood vehicles, bicycles and other ways to get about — with strategically placed hubs that feature amenities such as water refill stations, restrooms, places to make bike repairs, and public gathering spaces.
County board members unanimously approved the proposal, by applicant Lennar Homes LLC, for Connerton Villages III and IV.
The master-planned development allows:
- A maximum of 2,160 dwelling units
- 150,000 square feet of retail
- 150,000 square feet of office, including 50,000 square feet in the downtown area and the other 100,000 square feet within downtown or spread throughout the villages
- A charter school with up to 765 students
- An 80-acre district park
- 7 acres for a library/fire/emergency medical services facility within the villages
The proposed development drew opposition from three speakers, who raised concerns about the impacts that rampant growth is having within Pasco County.
Rob Park, who lives on Ehren Cutoff, reiterated his concerns about the traffic impacts — particularly along Ehren Cutoff — from additional growth in Land O’ Lakes.
Maryann Bishop, who lives on Hale Road, told commissioners: “As a longtime resident of Pasco County who fell in love with the rural aspects that Land O’ Lakes had to offer, I am truly sickened by the lack of vision here, across the board, that county officials have about responsible development. I am not against development. But I am totally against the runaway development that is being allowed in Pasco County now.
“You are allowing developers to completely strip the land bare, so they can fit as many dwellings and buildings as possible and then call it proper landscaping when they plant a few water oaks or palms,” she said.
Nicole Miller, who also spoke in opposition, submitted a petition with 1,592 signatures from residents, she said, “who are joining their voices together to speak out against these different development projects.”
But county planners and the Pasco County Commission recommended approval of the rezoning.
County planner Tammy Snyder outlined Connerton’s downtown plans. She also detailed its extensive plan aimed at making it easier to get from neighborhoods to downtown, the district park, shopping, public gathering spaces and various amenities — without having to rely on a vehicle.
Clarke Hobby, an attorney representing Lennar, told the board that when Connerton was approved as a development of regional impact more than 20 years ago, it was planning a regional mall and a community college.
Now, it is calling for a development that will create a community where people truly can live, work and play, he said.
Hobby also noted: “When Connerton began, it was about 8,500 acres. Three thousand of those acres were conveyed for preserves to SWFMD (the Southwest Florida Water Management District). Of those 3,000 acres, there was wetland enhancement done on over 1,600 acres.”
“We’re very proud of the project. We plan on this being a featured community for Lennar,” Hobby said.
Commissioner Mike Moore said he’s excited about the project and he believes the residents of Connerton will be, too.
Published April 28, 2021