Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

East Pasco residents' pleas heard; development request put on hold

DADE CITY — In the end, it all boiled down to political realism, and the county administrator's own affinity for the east Pasco hills.

"When I leave a bad County Commission meeting, I drive up there and I'm going, 'God, this is beautiful,' " John Gallagher told those gathered Thursday for the Pasco Development Review Committee meeting.

The committee, comprised of the county's top employees and a school district representative, was set to decide the fate of a developer's request for a 266-home planned community on nearly 403 acres of hills nestled up against land designated a rural protection area.

After listening to neighbors' pleas for peace and quiet and against more rooftops, Gallagher sent the developers back to the drawing board and urged them to work toward receiving the residents' blessing.

"This is going to be a tough row to hoe for you guys," he said. Even if the employee committee gave the initial okay on technical grounds, he said, the controversial development would have more problems once it lands in the lap of elected officialdom.

"I suggest you and the property owners have a meeting with the residents to come up with a compromise," he said.

Opponents, at least one of whom wept at the lectern, expressed relief.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Noah Kaaa, who lives on Platt Road, a dirt two-lane route that would run north of Berry Hill Estates. The Kaaas moved into a farm-style house on 5 acres there 18 months ago to escape the strip malls and tract houses in Riverview.

"We thought we were in the country," his wife, Tanya, said as the tears started to flow. "I didn't think I'd be fighting so soon."

One by one, residents lamented how, if the project were approved, the new neighbors' houses would leave them without places to go hunting, how the new neighbors' cars would cause more traffic accidents, how the new neighbors' streetlights would take away their view of the night sky.

One resident showed a map of a previous property's owners' plan to build 202 homes, the number allowed under the land's current zoning and asked why the number couldn't stay at that level or go lower.

Developers had asked to put 266 homes on the land, clustered in varying densities. The most dense section would put 121 lots on slightly more than 33 acres, while others called for half-acre, 1-acre and a handful of 5-acre lots. The developers were seeking to offer a project similar to "conservation subdivision" with half the property forever set aside as green space. The property is off Blanton Road, across from Pasco-Hernando Community College.

Residents criticized the project as incompatible with the surrounding homes, many of which sit on 5 acres.

"Why don't they make a committee and work with us?" asked Wendell Greenhalgh, who railed against "out of town developers" who try to "ram this down our throats."

Thanks to Gallagher, that's what they got. A meeting is now set for May 20, with the matter set to be reintroduced at the development review committee meeting May 29 in Dade City.

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

East Pasco residents' pleas heard; development request put on hold 04/17/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 19, 2008 11:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Coming to Hulu in August: 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,' 'Saw' movies and more


    Hello, binge-worthy new additions to Hulu. Clue, Clueless and five Saw movies? You spoil us, Hulu.

    Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
  2. Whitman: Hollywood whitewashing raises questions about Jesus' depiction


    I grew up believing in white Jesus.

    A painting on my grandma's wall depicted a blonde, blue-eyed Christ.

  3. Special sorority seeks ways to help their Green Berets and themselves during St. Leo summit


    ST. LEO — Julie Huynh-Rusk lies down on the floor of a St. Leo University conference room, covered by a blanket and a pink eye-pillow.

    Julie Huynh-Rusk, 31, of Seattle, takes advantage of a meditation session at Saint Leo University on Wednesday as part of the Steel Mags Summer Summit. 
The Steel Mags Sorority was founded to help spouses, daughters, mothers, and sisters of  Green Berets. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]

  4. Watch: Sarasota vlogger goes on viral rant against MTV's 'Siesta Key'


    Looking forward to MTV’s Siesta Key? Well, this Florida native definitely is not.

    Vlogger Louie Carey posted his reaction to MTV's "Siesta Key" in a viral video.
  5. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 23: Of tiny towns, wonderful naps and dreamlike ice cream bars


    Day 23: Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon: 20.8 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-23 = 541 km (336 miles)