Friday, November 17, 2017
News Roundup

Pasco commission sides with residents in neighborhood apartment fight

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW PORT RICHEY ­— Residents of Heritage Lake say they don't want their property values to drop. They don't want more traffic and an increased chance of flooding. And most of all, they don't want a busy apartment complex tucked in the middle of their neighborhood.

On Tuesday, they appealed to the Pasco County Commission, united under the name We Are 5533 Strong Inc., a group formed to address the concerns of the neighborhood. And they brought a powerful ally: Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano.

"Say no to the developer," Fasano told county commissioners, "and yes to the residents."

They have circulated petitions and hired an attorney in opposition to Clearwater-based Scherer Development. In March, they went before the Development Review Committee to appeal county staff's approval of the Oaks Apartments at Riverside Village.

They lost that round, but on Tuesday achieved something of a partial victory.

The commission voted to 3-2 to send the issue back to the DRC and make sure issues such as drainage and flooding were looked at adequately.

Residents in the room exploded in applause after the decision.

In September, county staffers approved plans for the Oaks Apartments. The first phase would include six two-story units, a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse, swimming and splash pools, a playground, picnic pavilions, tennis and basketball courts, a mulched car wash area, a 2-acre park with an open play area, parking lots and seven garages. The 102 apartments would be on Amazon Drive, just south of Heritage Lake.

The site has been woods for years but was zoned multifamily in 1985. In 2005 it was approved for 102 condominiums, which residents did not oppose. But the housing bust stalled the project, and the land was sold to Scherer, which revived the plans.

Scherer representatives declined to comment after the decision.

Ralf Brookes, attorney for We Are 5533 Strong Inc., told the commission that roads in the area are not compatible with the amount of people the apartments would bring in.

"It doesn't have convenient access to the thoroughfares or city streets," he said.

Commissioner Pat Mulieri spoke directly to the developer, seeking a compromise.

"Why can't you build single housing dwellings and make everybody happy? Show us that you're a developer that cares. Do with the community," she said, "and not to them."

Scherer attorney Barbara Wilhite said the developer carefully followed county requirements on drainage and other issues.

"This is my client's property," she said. "You have an obligation to represent all property owners."

Commissioner Henry Wilson said he was concerned for the well-being of the residents of the neighborhoods.

"I've lost a lot of sleep with this," he said.

Fasano applauded the decision.

"Common sense prevailed today," he said.

Contact Jon Silman at (727) 869-6229, Jsilman@tampabay.com or @Jonsilman1 on Twitter.

Comments
As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

As sex scandals topple the powerful: Why not Trump?

WASHINGTON — "You can do anything," Donald Trump once boasted, speaking of groping and kissing unsuspecting women. Maybe he could, but not everyone can. The man who openly bragged about grabbing women’s private parts — but denied he really did so — w...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

Allegations against Alabama’s Roy Moore dividing GOP women

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Standing on the white marble steps of Alabama’s Capitol, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women Friday to defend husband Roy Moore against accusations of sexual misconduct that are dividing Republicans, and women...
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Fri., Nov. 17, midday:15 614 9359e_SRit97440Fri., Nov. 17, evening:48 386 1619e_SRit48264Fantasy 5Fri., Nov. 17...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

Franken apologizes to woman who says he kissed, groped her

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken personally apologized to the woman who has accused him of forcibly kissing her and groping her during a 2006 USO tour, saying he remembers their encounter differently but is "ashamed that my actions ruined that ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
FSU men roll in basketball; Florida beats USF in NCAA women’s soccer

FSU men roll in basketball; Florida beats USF in NCAA women’s soccer

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Freshman reserve Mfiondu Kabengele scored 15, Terance Mann added 14 on 7-of-9 shooting and Florida State rolled to a 67-43 win over Fordham in the Jamaica Classic on Friday night. The Seminoles held the Rams to 23 percent shoot...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will play Sunday against the Dolphins without Vernon Hargreaves, who has been their nickel defensive back the past two games.Hargreaves, the 2016 first-round pick out of Florida and a former Wharton High standout, has been ruled out ...
Updated: 19 minutes ago

Rays give Rocco Baldelli new title of major-league field coordinator

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed the new look of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli a newly created title — major-league field coordinator.Baldelli, who had been first-base coach the past three years, now will implement ideas and inform...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

TAMPA — A local TV crew set up shop in front of Brayden Point’s locker stall the other day, waiting for the Lightning forward to be ready.Then, captain Steven Stamkos walked into the room for his scrum. It didn’t take long for the TV crew to change c...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Updated: 22 minutes ago