Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Smart urban development is needed for Pasco to thrive, county planners say

Planners see a wasted opportunity in the way the area around State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway was developed.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times (2011)

Planners see a wasted opportunity in the way the area around State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway was developed.

DADE CITY — Why do developers keep building the same big-box stores with huge parking lots in Pasco while putting up nicer ones in other communities?

Because they can, county planners say.

"There are two answers we hear over and over again," senior planner Richard Dutter said. "One, (Pasco officials) 'do not expect it' and two, 'they do not require it.' This has been going on for 30 years, and I think it's time we change."

County staff took a first step toward that change at a workshop Tuesday. Under the watchful eye of land-use attorneys, they presented a plan to county commissioners that showed how to make the most of the county's most densely populated areas, the State Road 54/56 and U.S. 19 corridors.

Both are the county's top areas for urban development and mass transit. Planning and Development director Richard Gehring recommends concentrating development in those areas to prevent sprawl.

The populations in those areas are expected to soar over the next several decades. With that comes the need to maximize space for businesses, decrease dependency on auto travel and create walkable areas for people to live, work, shop and play.

It's a future that also includes higher-rise buildings.

But that comes later, Gehring said. The key now is getting the framework in place so that areas can evolve, "so you don't have to rip the whole thing out and start over."

One example cited as an "opportunity lost" was the southwest corner of SR 54 and the Suncoast Parkway. Now the site of a Super Target, a strip center and several restaurants that front the highway, it's an example of traditional suburban development. Gehring said a more urban plan would have included parking lots on the side or behind buildings, and stores that face away from the main highway, which create more of a Main Street effect.

A few land-use attorneys expressed concern about rules applying to current projects or those soon to be in the works.

"We're worried this might cause a chilling effect on development we all so want in the urban service areas," attorney Clarke Hobby said. "We don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg."

Gehring reassured everyone that stakeholders would be included in drawing up the rules.

"We want a lot of players at many different levels and want them to get together and succeed," he said. "We see this as a big cookie jar with lots of cookies and a big opening."

The presentation comes five years after the county began an overhaul of its land development code based on the recommendation of the Urban Land Institute, a think tank of planners and developers who help revitalize communities.

The group is set to return next week to take another look at the county and determine where it should next focus its efforts.

Lisa Buie can be reached at buietimeswriter@gmail.com or (813) 909-4604.

Smart urban development is needed for Pasco to thrive, county planners say 10/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 6:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman

    Blogs

    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion

    Fire

    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.