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Developers rush to get okay for new subdivision in Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS — On Monday, the proposal went to the Planning and Zoning Board. On Tuesday, it went to the City Commission. Wednesday, it was on the Board of Adjustment agenda.

By Thursday morning, the deal was supposed to be sealed.

But it didn't all go as planned.

Despite the rapid pace, a plan to build 62 single-family homes on the former Linger Longer mobile home park property hit a hiccup Wednesday when not enough Board of Adjustment members showed up for the meeting.

Without the necessary quorum, the board could not take up the developer's request to avoid building some sidewalks along Anclote Road.

The proposal for a new subdivision called Tarpon Key had been speeding through the city approval process. The Linger Longer owner aimed to close on the sale to national developer Ryland Homes before the end of the year for tax purposes, a project consultant said.

It was unclear Thursday whether the land purchase closed without the sidewalk waiver. A representative for Ryland Homes did not return phone calls.

The Tarpon Key plan comes a year after the city considered buying the same property to build a public boat ramp and recreational area. But the City Commission twice declined to move forward with the purchase, pitched first at $4 million then at a reduced $3.5 million.

At nearly 20 acres, Linger Longer housed 279 mobile homes, RVs and apartments before it closed in 2006. The site at 355 Anclote Road was once considered for townhomes.

Tarpon Key project consultants say the single-family home community would have less of an effect on traffic than its previous use. The proposal calls for a mix of 62 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes with two-car garages. Linger Longer fronts the Anclote River and has a boat launch.

"This project looks like a great fit for this property," said Commissioner Susan Slattery, who had been the most adamant proponent of the city purchasing Linger Longer.

An added benefit, she said, would be the property tax dollars generated by the homes. If the city had bought Linger Longer, the parcel would have stayed off the tax rolls.

After winning a 5-0 vote from the Planning and Zoning Board, the Tarpon Key plan gained 4-0 approval from the City Commission. Commissioner Townsend Tarapani abstained from discussions because his mother is a project consultant. He also had to bow out of last year's Linger Longer talks because his father represented the property owner.

The sidewalk issue will be postponed until the Board of Adjustment's January meeting. While Tarpon Key would build sidewalks within the subdivision, it is seeking to waive the construction of sidewalks on Anclote Road.

The county road borders the property to the north and east. Consultants say swales make the road too narrow for sidewalks, and trees would also interrupt the stretch.

In other business from the City Commission's Tuesday night meeting, officials unanimously changed rules in order to require new construction to provide separate water lines for utility service and fire protection systems. An issue arose recently when the city was unable to shut off water to condominiums delinquent on utility payments, because water service, fire sprinklers and fire hydrants all hooked up to the same water pipe. It's a felony in Florida to disconnect water that services emergency systems.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or swang@tampabay.com.

Developers rush to get okay for new subdivision in Tarpon Springs 12/20/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 7:36pm]
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