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. NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

    World

    BRUSSELS — NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

    U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive at Fiumicino's Leonardo Da Vinci International airport, near Rome, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Trump is in Italy for a two day visit, including a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, ahead of his participation in a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday. [Associated Press]
  2. Taiwan becomes first in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage

    World

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a first for Asia, Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, punctuating a yearslong campaign by advocates for gay rights in one of the continent's most liberal democracies.

    Same-sex marriage supporters wave rainbow Taiwan flags after the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, making the island the first place in Asia to recognize gay unions. [Associated Press]
  3. 'Top Gun' sequel? Tom Cruise says it starts filming soon

    Blogs

    Tom Cruise is once again feeling the need for speed.

    Tom Cruise starred in "Top Gun" in 1986, and said he'll begin work on a sequel within the next year.
  4. Trump presents Pope Francis with sculpture made by Florida artist

    Blogs

    An artist from Stuart, Florida, made a bronze sculpture that President Trump presented today to Pope Francis.

    The artist and his work
  5. What could have been the game-winning blast turned into a long single for Colby Rasmus.