NEW PORT RICHEY — County officials had been prepared to give a proposed new neighborhood the thumbs down. But after concessions from developers of Riverchase South, they reversed course.
The developers agreed to install a 28-foot-wide landscape and sod buffer between Riverchase and neighboring Fairway Springs, narrow the road to 20 feet and shift it slightly toward the newer homes. The move neutralized the argument county staffers gave that Riverchase created a "double frontage" road for 16 homes in Fairway Springs.
"They have taken that argument away from us," development director Cindy Jolly told members of the Development Review Committee on Thursday. Committee members then approved the project.
The 19-home community is proposed for nearly 15 acres east of Little Road in the Seven Springs area. It first came up Feb. 28, but officials postponed it at the request of developer Patricia Buck, who hired attorney Clarke Hobby after learning that staffers were recommending denial of the project.
Neighbors in Fairway Springs complained that a proposed road running behind their yards would essentially turn their yards into medians and devalue their property.
Developers met with the residents Sunday to discuss compromises. But residents left unhappy Thursday, saying the option developers pitched to the county wasn't discussed with them. They said they prefer an option that had the newer homes backing up to theirs.
"We got something thrown at us," said Marie Barrett, president of Fairway Springs Homeowners Association. She said her board would confer with its attorneys before deciding whether to appeal the matter to the commission.
The developers' request fell well within the zoning limits, which were established in 1987, Hobby said.
He said developers could have legally crammed more homes on it, but "they did what they thought was right."
He called the tree-lined area, which is in view of Fairway Springs homes, "a pretty piece of property" and he understood residents' feelings about losing their picturesque views, but the property owners have the right to develop it.
"Nothing is going to make everybody happy," he said.
Lisa Buie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4604.