Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SunWest Harbourtowne resort project given preliminary approval

NEW PORT RICHEY — The devil was in the details for a resort proposed for coastal Pasco County.

A committee of top county officials gave preliminary approval Thursday to developers of SunWest Harbourtowne and also granted the necessary rezoning for the 1,000-acre community, which would feature hundreds of homes, offices, commercial buildings and a resort.

But the Development Review Committee stopped short of approving an agreement outlining the developers' obligations after too many questions surfaced about the language in the document.

Officials agreed to postpone a vote on the agreement until the next meeting on Feb. 11. Land use attorney Ben Harrill said he was certain the wrinkles could be ironed out by then.

Frustrated by too many "last-minute changes," County Administrator John Gallagher told staff to come back later.

"You didn't do a very good job on this," he admonished planners. Even if approved by the Development Review Committee, the agreement must also win approval from the County Commission.

The project, which would replace an active mining site in Aripeka, is classified as a development of regional impact and therefore must undergo a higher level of scrutiny than smaller developments. It has been on the drawing board for about three years.

Developers have estimated they may not have all approvals in hand until mid 2011.

Its southern border is to be a newly dredged channel to the Gulf of Mexico abutting a new 312-acre county park with multiple boat ramps.

Environmentalists have fought the project on a number of fronts. A chief concern has been the destruction of habitat for the Florida black bear.

On Thursday, they were at the lectern again, this time asking why it had to be approved before a detailed habitat management plan could be approved, preferably by an independent panel of experts.

"Why the hurry to approve SunWest Harbourtowne (Development of Regional Impact)?" asked Lance Arvidson of Wildlands Conservation, a group that acts as a consultant for the Central Florida Regional Planning Council.

Quoting a letter from the group, he said, "We feel that it would be remiss to approve the development, until we have adequate assurances that the impacts (direct and indirect) to the black bear sub population will be mitigated for on a landscape level, and that an appropriate management plan exists."

The concerns drew a response from Georgianne Ratliff, a planner for the developers.

She said it was unfair for her clients to have to pay for a study on a project that ultimately may not be approved. The developers have pledged to pay about $29 million for road improvements in the area.

She told county officials that developers had been in constant contact with county and state agencies about a mitigation plan for bears.

Of all the projects she has worked on that required such plans, she said, "This goes further than any of those have."

Ratliff also addressed concerns that the state expressed in September about homes being built in a velocity zone, the coastal area that would take the hardest hit in a hurricane.

She said the number of homes in that zone would be limited to 100, and they would be required to be "fortified." She added that the development would draft a hurricane preparedness plan, with evacuation plans for each part of the development.

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

By the numbers

SunWest Harbourtowne

1,072 Acres in the SunWest Harbourtowne project

350 Single-family homes

2,150 Multifamily homes

50,000 Square feet of office space

250,000 Square feet of commercial space

250 Rooms in a resort hotel

18Holes in the golf course

500Boat slips (350 dry, 150 wet)

2020 Year project is scheduled for completion

Source: Pasco County government

SunWest Harbourtowne resort project given preliminary approval 01/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.