San Antonio is taking St. Leo to court — that is, unless St. Leo town officials work out a settlement with its neighbor instead.
City officials in San Antonio filed a suit against St. Leo in Pasco County’s Sixth Judicial Circuit claiming town officials there violated its comprehensive land use plan and development codes by allowing what San Antonio has called an “industrial style” facility in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
The conflict is over a proposed plant operations facility on property owned by Saint Leo University off Pompanic Street.
“The construction of the facility at this location is inconsistent with the rural character of the community and the adjacent residential uses,” said Brian Bolves, San Antonio’s attorney, in a release.
The placement of the facility violates the provisions of St. Leo’s land development code, Bolves said, since it is being constructed on a hillside overlooking Lake Jovita. It would be visible from State Road 52, McMullen Drive, Lake Jovita and Pompanic, which the lawsuit says conflicts with St. Leo’s code designed to protect hillside views in the area.
A request for comment from St. Leo attorney Patricia Petruff was pending return.
Bolves is asking a judge to stop Saint Leo University from building the project, claiming it will create a “hazardous condition endangering the lives of the residents of the community and general public,” according to a release.
Yet, Bolves says he’s trying to avoid going to court. He has invited St. Leo officials to sit down and negotiate — as long as no work is done on the Saint Leo project during those negotiations. Otherwise, Bolves said he will have the lawsuit served on St. Leo’s mayor, Richard Christmas.
The Saint Leo facility, according to the lawsuit, would be 16,000 square feet of offices and storage and warehouse space. It would include 15 on-site parking spaces, with a single access point for both cars and trucks on Pompanic.
Kim Payne, a spokesman for Saint Leo University, told The Laker/Lutz News the school is “committed to constructing the plant operations building and look forward to beginning the project soon.”
St. Leo approved the university’s plans on Aug. 11. Bolves has given St. Leo until Sept. 15 to respond.
Updated 9/8/14, 11:01 p.m., to include comment from Saint Leo University.