Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey's plans to annex state park fall apart

PORT RICHEY — Port Richey officials had said it would be simply a feather in their cap: Annexing nearly half of the state-owned Werner-Boyce Salt Springs Park into the city limits.

But Pasco County commissioners objected, saying they feared the city would use the move to "cherry pick" adjacent parcels on U.S. 19.

Then Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, said he didn't like the idea, either, sending state officials a letter last week that said annexation "could provide long term harm to this jewel of west Pasco."

Now, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection says: Never mind.

The department is withdrawing its petition for voluntary annexation, deputy secretary Bob Ballard wrote Legg on Thursday.

"After further review and in light of the many concerns that exist, it is my opinion that the department not move forward with annexation into the city at this time," Ballard wrote.

Port Richey Mayor Richard Rober had not heard about the state's decision Friday and expressed disappointment.

"I wanted to see it go through," he said.

The state had filed its petition in February after city officials said the department could save on utility costs for its planned picnic and restroom facilities. Port Richey, which has water lines nearby, can charge property owners in unincorporated Pasco rates that are 25 percent higher than city customers.

Pasco officials attacked the petition on a number of fronts, saying it could jeopardize the county's redevelopment plans on U.S. 19 and that a future Port Richey City Council would try to expand the boundaries of its Community Redevelopment Agency, which designates added county revenue, generated from increasing property values, for citywide redevelopment.

Port Richey officials said everybody was making a big to-do over nothing. They said they just wanted part of the 4,000 acre state park for the bragging rights and that they had no plans to use the parcel to pursue future annexations.

But the city's stormy political history was part of the problem. Legg said he had no problem with the current administration but could only look at the city's track record.

"The city of Port Richey has not had a history of being very diligent in all the things they address," he said. "Just a year ago, they were looking at dissolving. … I have a real concern, not with the current manager or council, but there's no telling what could happen in the future."

State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, didn't oppose the annexation request but said he would oppose any future annexations of commercial and residential property along U.S. 19, said his top aide, Greg Giordano.

Rober said he wasn't surprised that the city's history played a role.

"Port Richey expects an uphill battle no matter what it does. That's life," he said. "We're going to have victories and losses. … I can't let something like this discourage me. In my view, we've made a lot of headway on issues."

Reach Jodie Tillman at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

Port Richey's plans to annex state park fall apart 06/18/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 18, 2010 9:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Editorial: A proud moment for civic involvement in Hillsborough County

    Editorials

    It took private citizens less than 24 hours to do what their elected leaders in Hillsborough County could not for the past three months: Find the moral fortitude and the money to move a century-old Confederate war memorial from outside the county courthouse. Thursday's achievement was a lesson in leadership to county …

    The Hillsborough County Commission dithered for three months over moving the Memoria in Aeterna monument from the old county courthouse.
  2. Fort Myers woman arrested for doing cocaine off iPhone in parent pick-up line

    Bizarre News

    A Fort Myers woman was arrested Tuesday after police saw her snorting cocaine off her iPhone while in the parent pick-up line at a Lee County middle school.

    Christina Hester, 39, faces two different drug-related charges, according to police records. [Lee County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  4. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law

    Editorials

    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  5. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system

    Editorials

    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.