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Pasco commissioners change course, appeal denial to dredge channel at SunWest park

This channel to the Gulf of Mexico would be expanded and  dredged, and 250 parking spaces and several boat ramps would be added as part of the proposed county park at SunWest. The Army Corps of Engineers has rejected the plan, but Pasco County decided Tuesday to appeal the denial.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times (2011)

This channel to the Gulf of Mexico would be expanded and dredged, and 250 parking spaces and several boat ramps would be added as part of the proposed county park at SunWest. The Army Corps of Engineers has rejected the plan, but Pasco County decided Tuesday to appeal the denial.

NEW PORT RICHEY — The appeal is on after all.

After first voting not to challenge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pasco commissioners reversed course Tuesday and decided to appeal the federal agency's rejection of its request to dredge a 4-mile channel from the proposed SunWest beach park to the Gulf of Mexico.

The vote came after commissioners learned that the application, which was initially made along with the developer of an adjacent private development called SunWest Harbourtowne near Aripeka, had been separated at some point by the Corps.

Developers, who appeared before the commission Tuesday, urged the county to press on and promised to pay for the costs and perform the work involved in an appeal.

"We're not asking you to provide any political assistance or any cost," said Buddy Selph, a real estate broker working with developer Gary Grubbs. "We're asking you to continue to be our partner."

Commissioners had shied away from an appeal because they feared angering the Corps and risking rejection of permits for the Ridge Road Extension and flood relief for the Thousand Oaks neighborhood in Trinity.

County attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder told commissioners that he couldn't guarantee how the Corps staff would react to a SunWest appeal, but he said projects are supposed to be considered independently on their own merits.

"I don't think any of us want the SunWest project to fail because we have failed to make a timely appeal," Commission Chairman Ted Schrader said.

The deadline for an appeal is July 9.

In the meantime, the county can redesign the proposed beach park to avoid having to get Corps' approval.

Pasco commissioners change course, appeal denial to dredge channel at SunWest park 06/25/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 5:27pm]
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