TARPON SPRINGS — Developers are poised to construct 35 high-end homes in a gated subdivision off Keystone Road.
City commissioners easily approved the plan last week, with no objections from residents.
The homes, planned for 11.6 acres south of Keystone Road and north of Lake Tarpon, are expected to be priced at upwards of $500,000, said Karen Lemmons, the city's economic development manager.
The neighborhood — across Keystone Road and to the east of the Tarpon Sports Complex — would bring an estimated $125,000 in yearly tax revenue and fees to Tarpon Springs. One-time development fees could bring in another $410,000 for the city, Lemmons said.
The neighborhood is one of at least 10 projects slated for construction in an area that's growing — albeit a bit slower than the rest of Pinellas County.
An agent for the developer, B&B Limited LLC, did not give a timeline for the project or respond to phone calls.
"All this development is good because it builds our tax base and brings in additional tax revenues and residents," said Lemmons, who estimated the combined projects under way could generate an additional $700,000 for the city.
"Then there is the ripple effect of people who are living here, shopping here and spending their money here. And that all helps our businesses that are located here," she said.
In built-out Pinellas County, it is rare to see a project move so easily past government boards, where neighbors often come out to express concerns about traffic and congestion. But the traffic isn't expected to be much of an issue on newly widened Keystone Road. And the area is mostly devoid of neighbors, except for the nearby Harborside Hill Drive subdivision.
Commissioners supported the project unanimously, although Commissioner Jeff Larsen expressed some concerns over what would become of the trees on the property, which is heavily wooded.
"We have a minimum number of trees per lot, which is four, and I certainly hope they go above the minimum," Larsen said, adding that saving trees benefits both the developer and the residents.
The city has a strong tree ordinance that requires developers to put money into a tree bank, depending on how many inches they cut.
Sean Cashen with Gulf Coast Consulting, which represents the developer, said the project will save as many trees as possible — possibly up to six per lot.
"It increases the character of the development," he said. "Especially some of the mature trees."
Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4155.