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Surcharge would pay for infrastructure of Pasadena Hills project

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County commissioners got their first look Tuesday at how to pay for a 50-year visioning plan to build an infrastructure that would serve 20,000 acres in north central Pasco.

Pasadena Hills, the name given to the area bordered by Curley Road and U.S. 301 that lies north of State Road 56 but south of State Road 52, would require a total of $630-million spent for roads, parks and schools as well as improvements to the surrounding area required by new development, according to consultant Heidt & Associates.

The consultant, assisted by attorneys for the group of landowners, recommended raising the money by a 27.8 percent surcharge tacked onto impact fees for homes to be built in the area.

Joel Tew, attorney for the landowners, said he hoped commissioners would adopt necessary ordinances in 2009 so they'd be in place "should the world come back to life" and the housing market recovers.

Heidt & Associates senior vice president Pat Gassaway, who presented the report, said the committee wanted to go beyond minimum requirements.

"They believed the funding plan should do much more," he said.

It includes a pool of money to help pay for two-lane roads as well as primary roads, as well as $21.2-million to pay for school sites and $13-million for parks.

The report also targeted 16 possible park sites. The committee decided that rather than build one regional and two district parks, it would be more efficient to build one "super park" in the area. Each site was given point values based on location, access to roads, closeness to existing parks and other factors. The site that rated highest was a 310-acre site near Overpass Road and Fort King Highway.

Commissioner Ann Hildebrand said the county has very few opportunities to "get it right" when it comes to land development, but "I think this is it."

Commissioner Ted Schrader, who encouraged the plan's development, called it "a plan I think we can all wrap our arms around.

The plan sets out a series of village centers spread over 22,000 sparsely populated acres of east and central Pasco.

Commissioners adopted the concept last year, saying they wanted to avoid the haphazard development of Wesley Chapel and Land O'Lakes. They asked landowners to come up with a financial plan by the end of the year.

The plan calls for 11 "village centers" linked by a network of two-lane roads, in the area between State Roads 54 and 52, bounded by Curley Road to the west and U.S. 301 to the east.

The area is called Pasadena Hills, and it could have 45,000 homes — rivaling Wesley Chapel — when it's completed.

The plan is to design what it'll look like in the year 2050, and the design is influenced by antisprawl "smart growth" tenets such as pedestrian-friendly environments. Narrower roads to slow cars down. Self-sufficient communities that radiate outward, from dense downtown centers to homes on 5- to 10-acre lots.

Surcharge would pay for infrastructure of Pasadena Hills project 12/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:28am]
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