Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco commission sides with residents in neighborhood apartment fight

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, or @Jonsilman1 on Twitter.

Pasco commission sides with residents in neighborhood apartment fight 08/27/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 8:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Restaurant review: Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights should focus on mom-and-pop pharmacy vibe

    Food & Dining

    By Laura Reiley

    Times Food Critic


    Sometimes, the more time you have with a project, the more complicated it gets. I started hearing about Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights about 18 months ago. It was the vision of Ujwal Patel, a pharmacist;

    Mortar & Pestle opened in Seminole Heights in Tampa in August. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  2. Snap Judgment's Glynn Washington on growing up in a 'cult' and how to tell a good story


    Glynn Washington spent much of his last visit to Tampa preparing his soul for the impending apocalypse. He was assured it was coming any day.

    Glynn Washington, the creator and host of NPR's "Snap Judgment," will bring his live show to the Tampa Theatre on Sept. 29. 
Photo courtesy Snap Judgment
  3. Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in sexting case


    NEW YORK — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency.

    Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  5. Lightning to retire Vinny Lecavalier's No. 4 in February


    When Marty St. Louis became the first Lightning player to have his jersey retired back in January, it was hard not to think that former captain Vinny Lecavalier would be the next one.

    Vinny Lecavalier takes the ice before a 2010 game against the Florida Panthers.