The Pasco County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a proposed subdivision of up to 75 homes at the northwest corner of Happy Hill and Sarah Lynn Drive, in Dade City.
The land currently is zoned for agricultural and rural density use, but, if approved by the Pasco County Commission, will be rezoned to a residential-4, high-density residential district. The county board has final jurisdiction in land use and rezoning requests.
County planners also have recommended approval of the application by Distinct Development Dade City/Happy Hill Road to rezone the 18.78 acres.
The site currently consists of undeveloped hayfields.
Access to the proposed subdivision will be from Happy Hill Road, which is a county-maintained collector road.
In accordance with an interlocal agreement between the county and the City of Dade City, the county has requested a review of the subject request from the City of Dade City and has not received any comments, according to materials in the planning board’s agenda packet.
The area surrounding the site is characterized by residential development and agricultural pursuits. The site is designated in the county’s land use plan for up to six residential units per acre.
Attorney Clarke Hobby represented the applicant at the planning board’s Jan. 6 public hearing.
He told planning commissioners that his client opted for the R-4 zoning request, rather than seeking a master-planned unit development that would have yielded the potential for approximately 120 houses.
The site is “immediately adjacent to the Sweetwater apartment complex to the south. Two of the sites adjacent to this site are zoned MF-1, so they allow multifamily at considerably higher density.”
A traffic study shows that after the development occurs, Happy Hill Road “will still be at level of service A and B, depending on whether you are north or south of the site. There’s a lot of capacity there.
“There’s a lot going on in that area and there’s really two big influences in the area, that’s from the crest of the hill, down to (State Road) 52, on Happy Hill. One is, the roads, including the Clinton Extension, which you can see from these sites looking down. So, you have (State Road) 52 and the Clinton Extension, which are going to be major, major game-changers in this area.
“And then the second thing is, the City of Dade City has annexed a considerable number of parcels, not very far north of this site and now have approved basically 1,000 units with lots that are smaller than this site,” he said.
Alisa Weaver, who lives directly across the road from the proposed rezoning, urged the planning board to recommend denial of the request.
“My question is: How does this zoning change positively affect the health, safety, welfare and morals of the surrounding community? And, how does this change benefit the surrounding homeowners?
“That’s a lot of houses in a small area, and I don’t feel any of the resident homeowners are benefiting from this,” she said.
She’s concerned about traffic on Happy Hill Road.
“It’s always been a two-lane rural road,” she said.
But she pointed out, there’s already a problem with traffic and that’s likely to worsen with increased development.
The speed limit is 45 mph, and 35 mph near the school and church, she said.
“Nobody goes 45 (mph). I’ve been run off the road. I’ve got my blinker on, turning left. They go around you,” she said, adding that even county vehicles have nearly run her off the road.
“It’s very hazardous, and now we’re looking at additional homes, on top of what’s already going to go in down the road (on the land that Dade City has annexed).
“My question is: What is the county going to do to protect me and my visitors and my property? What is going to keep us safe?
“Now, is the time to support your current homeowner residents before allowing additional high-density development.
“I ask you to deny this proposal on Happy Hill Road,” she said.
Hobby told the planning board that the transportation analysis, completed by an expert in the field, showed there’s sufficient capacity on the roadway.
He also said that lot sizes in the proposed subdivision will have frontages of at least 60 feet.
The planning board unanimously recommended approval of the request.
In other action, planning commissioners recommended approval of a request by Rucks Cobblestone for a land use change to allow commercial use on 3.34 acres at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Chancey Road.
The land currently is designated for residential development, at up to nine dwellings per acre. The applicant is seeking a designation to allow commercial uses.
In recommending approval, the planning board concurred with county planners, who supported the request.
In supporting the request, county planners found that shifting the land use to commercial would “create little or no objectionable, external effect upon neighboring land uses.”
Planners also noted that the proposed commercial site is at the intersection of two arterial roadways; is not located internally to an existing single-family neighborhood and will not act as an intrusion.
Planners also found that the development intensity is limited and designed to serve the needs of the immediate neighborhoods.
The request now goes to the Pasco County Commission, which has final jurisdiction on land use and zoning issues.
Published January 12, 2022