Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County to decide density of project in rural Blanton

BLANTON — A controversial subdivision that would be the first of its kind to dot the rolling hills of Blanton is up for a third vote Tuesday.

And unlike earlier votes before the county's top staff and planning commissioners, this one can't end in a tie. The decisionmaker this time is the five-member Pasco County Commission.

"Not unless someone gets sick on me," said zoning administrator Debra Zampetti.

County leaders have been struggling since spring with a developer's request to build 266 homes on 403 acres across from Pasco-Hernando Community College. Planner Michael Holbrook, who represents owners of the old Touchton property, wanted to build 266 homes but shuffled plans after opposition from neighbors. He returned with a proposal that still called for the same number of homes, but with some that would sit on bigger lots. Developers also offered to install 300 feet of buffer, triple the initial amount, on one edge of the project.

The project qualified as a "conservation subdivision," which under county rules approved in March allows for greater density as long as more than half the property is set aside as green space. The developers offered 51 percent.

Still, county officials were reluctant to recommend the plan for final approval. Berry Hill would be the first development of any real density in the area, and County Administrator John Gallagher wanted to tread carefully.

After listening to pleas from neighbors fearful that the new neighborhood would ruin their rural lifestyle, the county's Development Review Committee ended the discussion with a 3-3 tie, which technically counts as a denial. Later, planning commissioners were equally torn, with that group unable to break a 4-4 deadlock. That also was technically a denial but still sends the matter to the County Commission, which has the final say.

Even if the developers fail to win approval for the conservation subdivision, the land doesn't have to sit vacant.

The zoning is agricultural/residential, which allows for homes on 1 acre lots.

"Under those rules, they could put mobile homes on those lots," Zampetti said. Also, current rules don't limit how close to the road those homes can be put.

Zampetti called the case "challenging" and said the developers had followed all the rules to get the higher-density development.

"If someone opposes it, then they just don't like the ordinance," she said.

It's not that the property can't be developed. Under existing zoning rules, 200 homes could be built there with no special county approval.

Lisa Buie can be reached at or (813) 909-4604.

>>Fast facts

If you go

What: Public hearing on a proposal to develop the Touchton property, Pasco County Commission meeting.

When: Commissioners start hearing agenda items at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Pasco County Historic Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., Dade City

More info: Visit

LPA_10-07-2008/Outline.pdf or call the Zoning Department at (727) 847-8132.

County to decide density of project in rural Blanton 10/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bar review: The Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    I've spent many evenings in St. Pete's Jannus Live courtyard, enjoying one of the best open-air venues in the Tampa Bay area. It's where I saw my first concert in Florida: Toadies, on the Rubberneck tour sometime in the mid '90s.

    The drinks at the Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg are about as cheap as you’ll find at any other regular downtown bar, a nice surprise.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Two Henrys Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

    Bars & Spirits

    Two Henrys Brewing Company is a unique entity in the Tampa Bay brewing scene, due to both its status as the only brewery in Plant City, as well as its location on a 27-acre working farm, which also includes a winery.

    Photo by Justin Grant
  3. Who is Congressman Patrick Murphy?


    The fundraising email came fast, and full of outrage.

    A fundraising email from former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy
  4. Interview: Todd Rundgren comes to St. Petersburg looking to reach a new generation

    Music & Concerts

    They're teaching Todd Rundgren in college now.

    Todd Rundgren will perform at the Mahaffey Theater on May 27. Credit: Lynn Goldsmith
  5. Bob Buckhorn: Expanding homestead exemption will endanger Tampa's progress


    In the years leading up to my taking office, Tampa families experienced some of the hardest times in recent history. Homes were lost, jobs were cut, and optimism for the future waned.

    Critics say expanding the homestead exemption for Florida property owners will strain the resources of local governments as they recover from the Great Recession.[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times, 2005]