The Pasco County Commission voted last week to continue a hearing on a rezoning request by Victorious Life Assembly of God Inc., for a 122-unit subdivision off Old Pasco Road, 250 feet south of Overpass Road.
The application — which was accompanied by a request to deviate from some of the county’s land development code — received pushback from county board members.
Commissioner Mike Moore made a motion to continue the hearing until June 8, after technical problems made it impossible for commissioners to understand what the applicant’s representatives were saying — as they attempted to participate remotely.
Moore said he didn’t understand why the developer’s representatives were not present at the meeting, since in-person appearances are no longer prohibited due to concerns about COVID-19.
“I think this item should be continued until we can have the applicant sitting right in front of us, so we can go back and forth and have a conversation, because right now, we can’t,” Moore said.
Moore’s remarks followed testimony by a woman who spoke on behalf of her son who lives near the proposed rezoning.
“I think we need to put the brakes on this project, at least until we get that red light and get the infrastructure done,” the speaker said.
She pointed to a new industrial park project that is being built near the proposed subdivision, plus the ongoing construction of a new interchange to Interstate 75, at Overpass Road.
Both projects are creating a significant amount of construction traffic, she said.
And, that’s on top of traffic created by Cypress Creek High School, Cypress Creek Middle School, she said. Plus, Pasco-Hernando State College now has a new Instructional Performing Arts Center on the road, she added.
Moore agreed that the two-lane Old Pasco Road is being overloaded.
He said he’s very familiar with the road because he has a child attending Cypress Creek Middle School and another child attending Cypress Creek High School.
“I drive it on a regular basis. The amount of school buses going on Old Pasco Road is incredible, and some of those areas with blind spots and the turns, with no shoulders,” he said.
“I have concerns.
“There’s a ton of development that’s currently going in on Old Pasco Road. There’s a lot of proposed development, along Old Pasco Road, as well,” Moore said.
“One of the things that we agreed upon when we did the industrial park is that that industrial park cannot receive its CO (certificate of occupancy) until that portion of Old Pasco (Road), that sits in front of the industrial park, is widened.
“Nobody’s given me a set date of when the rest of Old Pasco Road is widened,” Moore said.
“I think we need to research that road. I think staff needs to come back to us and say, ‘This is exactly when Old Pasco Road is going to be widened,” Moore said.
Commissioner Jack Mariano balked at the proposal for a park that is nine-tenths of an acre, versus the 1.2-acre park that’s required by code.
Planners supported the request, noting Wesley Chapel District Park is nearby, plus the developer agreed to dedicate a larger amount of land than required for right of way for the Old Pasco Road widening.
But Mariano said: “There’s no reason it can’t stick at 1.2, which is our code. Those kids need somewhere to play.”
Commissioner Kathryn Starkey wanted to know why the plans fail to indicate any kind of future trail. She said that county planners must start including that, to provide for the possibility of people getting from place to place, without relying on vehicles.
County Administrator Dan Biles responded: “We’ll have to check, but I think Old Pasco Road probably has a multi-use path, as part of the design for Old Pasco Road and I think Overpass also has one.”
Commission Chairman Ron Oakley supported Moore’s suggestion to continue the hearing.
The delay will enable the board to receive information it needs on when Old Pasco Road will be widened, and to find out more about the possibility of trails in the area, Oakley said.
Published May 26, 2021