Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County Commission approves mega-development

NEW PORT RICHEY — The Starkey family won the right Tuesday to build a 4,200-home development on the last piece of its namesake ranch near Trinity.

With family members watching, the County Commission quickly voted 5-0 to approve the development of homes, offices and a movie theater on 2,500 acres off State Road 54. It was pasture that the late Jay B. Starkey obtained in 1937, a ranch that brought the family into prominence in the county.

Now, it's slated to become a mega-development just as the Tampa Bay area waits for a sour real estate market to sweeten. The project already is feeling the slowdown.

The development deal anticipates the first 1,600 homes in 2012. However, Trey Starkey and Perry Reader, Florida president of developer Crosland, acknowledge that number won't be built by then. Although they wouldn't specify a new count, they said the downturn hasn't damped the potential of the project.

"A project this large is bigger than a real estate decline," Reader said.

While breaking ground is still possible by the start of 2009, Reader said 2010 is more likely. He said establishing a quality product and making a good impression on the existing market is more important than pace. The deal includes building the movie theater by 2017.

And despite winning entitlements Tuesday to build, the development still must clear rezoning hurdles, where neighbors could object to the traffic the project would add to busy State Road 54.

"We're going to build a town behind your property," Starkey told one curious man.

The agreement calls for the developers to pay $58.8-million to improve roads, including improving intersections on SR 54.

But commission members have lauded the "new urbanism" the Starkeys and Crosland plan at the ranch near to the Starkey's Longleaf neighborhood, a smaller similar development.

The concept is supposed to encourage more centralized neighborhoods of homes, offices and shopping, reducing sprawl and preserving natural areas. The ranch project is next to the namesake Starkey Wilderness Preserve. The Starkey Center for Nature and Community will operate at the development, run by Laura Starkey who, like Trey, is another grandchild of the patriarch.

About half the mega-development acreage will be set aside for conservation — preserving a legacy, if not the family's run of the land.

David DeCamp can be reached at or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6232.

Pasco County Commission approves mega-development 09/23/08 [Last modified: Friday, September 26, 2008 4:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mayor Rick Kriseman says election is about moving forward


    Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office  Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward..

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  2. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection


    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    Pepe Salgado, 18, was killed Friday along with his sister Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, in a car crash in Plant City. They were passengers in a car driven by their cousin Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, who was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and was listed in critical condition. All three lived in Mulberry and attended Mulberry High School. [Polk County School District]
  3. Assisted living facility owner accused of sexually assaulting employee in Pinellas


    ST. PETERSBURG — An assisted living facility owner was arrested Thursday on charges that he sexually assaulted an employee, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Find serenity at Grand Cayman Island's Cemetery Beach



    Hey, cruisers, if you've been to Hell and back, snuggled with the stingrays and taken photos with the turtles at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might be looking for something different on your next trip. (Guilty!)

    Good snorkeling can be found off shore at Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman.
  5. Editorial: Honoring a solemn sacrifice


    For a nation still slogging away in Afghanistan, Iraq and other war zones across the globe, this Memorial Day holiday marks the latest commemoration of sacrifice abroad, of uncertainty over America's role in securing the globe and of the country's great debt to its military families. The peace of yesterday is almost …