Pasco County officials are trying to search out the historical boundaries between Land O’ Lakes and Wesley Chapel to help determine the name of a new road near Cypress Creek Town Center.
Finding out that information could help determine whether a new stretch of Wesley Chapel Boulevard should:
- Be renamed Circle O Ranch Parkway
- Be named something else
- Keep the name it has
The roadway, south of State Road 56, is planned as a southern continuation of Wesley Chapel Boulevard that will connect with County Line Road.
According to county records, a compromise decision to name the road “Town Center Parkway” was considered, but then abandoned.
“I don’t think Town Center is historical, but at least it’s a new beginning,” said Sandy Graves, a long-time Land O’ Lakes’ resident and a member of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber requested the name change to Circle O Ranch Parkway in December. The name would recognize the King family, whose ranch now is a prime development area for Tampa Premier Outlets and the Cypress Creek Town Center.
In the next weeks, meetings with groups who are at odds over the renaming will be held. Interested parties are being asked to provide evidence in the form of documents, oral histories, videos or anything that might shed light on the matter.
“We’ll put this in a staff report,” said Matt Armstrong, the county’s executive planner for the long-range planning department.
He hopes to have that available to Pasco County commissioners in March or April.
The effort is to give everyone a fair shake, he added.
But, county officials also are trying to put the focus on more than drawing a line between Wesley Chapel and Lutz-Land O’ Lakes.
Settling the boundaries also will affect future decisions on vision plans for each community.
“It’s more important to focus on the heart of the communities,” Armstrong said.
Pasco County commissioners unanimously agreed to continue the public hearing on the road’s renaming.
“It would be really nice to have some resolution to this contentious issue,” said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey.
Renaming roads can be a delicate matter, said Commissioner Ted Schrader.
He had some concern, though, about road name confusion with Wesley Chapel Boulevard, State Road 54 and State Road 56 all converging at the same intersection. The entrance into the outlet mall, also at the juncture, is Grand Cypress Drive.
“What really resonated with me was the potential renaming and how four roads are at the intersection, all with different names,” Schrader said. “That really stuck with me.”
To date, county officials have met with area residents and members of the Central Pasco chamber.
A meeting is scheduled Feb. 19 with area residents and members of the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce.
Developers with Sierra Properties, which is building Cypress Creek Town Center, also are participating in discussions.
“This isn’t a chamber issue to me,” said Graves. “It’s something the county did that was wrong and needs to be corrected.”
Hope Allen, president of the Wesley Chapel chamber, declined to comment on the issue.
The Land O’ Lakes community crafted a vision plan and presented it to the county in 2003. The boundaries were Interstate 75, State Road 52, the Suncoast Parkway and the county line.
But in 2004, and Graves says without notice, the county renamed County Road 54 as Wesley Chapel Boulevard.
But, Lutz and Land O’ Lakes mailing addresses exist along the boulevard, north of State Road 56. The outlet mall and the town center have Lutz addresses, while Stagecoach and Grand Oaks subdivisions have Land O’ Lakes addresses.
“Lutz and Land O’ Lakes have been together forever,” Graves said. The King family had a Lutz address, but were ingrained in the Land O’ Lakes community, she said.
Still, she is hopeful that a resolution will soon be reached.
“The history of our community is very important,” Graves said.
Published February 17, 2016