The Pasco County Planning Commission has delayed a request that would pave the way for a medical office, commercial uses, apartments and a veterinary office on a site at State Road 54 and Henley Road, about 1 mile west of U.S. 41, in Land O’ Lakes.
The site currently is entitled for an assisted living facility, but the applicant wants to change the approved uses through a text amendment to the land use plan and then to follow that up with a request for a rezoning to a master-planned unit development.
The land plan request had received a recommendation for approval from the county’s planners and had been placed on the planning board’s consent agenda — meaning it would be voted on in a single action with other consent items, unless someone raised questions about it.
David Goldstein, chief assistant county attorney, asked for the item to be pulled from consent.
Goldstein asked why the agenda memo, which was part of the board’s backup, did not include an analysis of how the proposed shift would affect the site’s job-generating capacity and what type of fiscal impact it would have.
From an entitlement perspective, Goldstein said, “this seems eerily similar to parcel S-19 in Seven Oaks (a recently denied request for an apartment development).
“It’s clearly an exchange of employment-generating uses for apartments, and if staff wants to recommend approval of that, I’m not saying you can’t, but there should be some analysis.
“At least with S-19, you did an economic analysis and a fiscal impact analysis to demonstrate why it met those policies.
“I see absolutely no analysis in this memo about why it meets our fiscal impact policies or economic development policies. I’m saying there needs to be more analysis that is not in this memo,” Goldstein said. “You did that analysis for S-19 and it wasn’t done here.”
Based on the applicant’s proposal, Goldstein added, “it appears that the employment potential of this site is being reduced. For example, they’re going from 80,000 office to 45,000 office; 30,000 retail to 10,000 retail; getting rid of the ALF (assisted living facility) and, now there’s multifamily.”
According to information from both Cynthia Spidell, representing the applicant and the agenda memo, the applicant wants to create a planned development project that includes a 45,000-square-foot medical/professional office; a vertical mixed-use multifamily development, with 240 apartments and 5,000 square feet of commercial, office and retail on the ground floor and a 3,500-square-foot pet center/veterinary clinic.
Spidell, representing the applicant, said “we have a very constrained site. We have some wetlands, we have stormwater ponds that are permitted already.”
Because of that, there is a limited amount of acreage available, she said.
The previously approved entitlement is not realistic for what can be achieved on the site, she said.
Nectarios Pittos, the county’s director of planning and development, said the county “reversed-engineered, in a sense, what could possibly fit on the site” and how the different land uses could be accommodated on the irregular parcel.
Spidell said the change is being pursued because there’s not a market for the assisted living facility.
Goldstein: “I’m not disagreeing with you that the site was probably over-entitled, but just because it’s over-entitled that doesn’t necessarily mean that you take the land and convert it to multifamily.
“You can take the land that’s available and make it all medical office; you can make it medical office and retail,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein reiterated: “Did anybody coordinate with the Office of Economic Growth on this application?”
Pittos said the application was sent to the Office of Economic Growth for review and it did not object to the proposal “due to property’s site-specific environmental constraints and the restrictive remaining uplands.”
Goldstein also asked: “Why is this on the consent agenda when our board has been pretty clear
about wanting to preserve employment on the (State Road) 54 corridor?
“This is our major economic development corridor, where the board has said they want to see employment-generating land uses. It’s not obvious to me that this is preserving that mission.
‘If it’s OK, then explain why it’s OK,” Goldstein said.
Planning board member Roberto Saez made a motion to continue the item until the planning board’s next meeting, to provide time for information to be gathered relating to fiscal and job-generating impacts.
“I just want to see the data. That is simple,” Saez said.
The planning board concurred, continuing the issue until its March 3 meeting.
Published February 23, 2022