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C.T. Bowen, Pasco Times Columnist

C.T. Bowen

C.T. Bowen has been reporting and writing about the people and politics of Pasco County since moving to Florida in 1987. A native of upstate New York, he lives in Land O' Lakes with his wife, Mary Beth, a public school teacher. They have two sons.

Phone: (727) 869-6239

Email: bowen@tampabay.com

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  1. Neighbors express concerns over plans for ranch land in central Pasco

    Local Government

    GOWERS CORNER — Despite the rural setting, neighbors in two affluent central Pasco communities say peace and quiet is unobtainable.

    Just a half-mile east of the intersection of State Road 52 and U.S. 41 is Pilot Country Estates, home to flying enthusiasts who park Cessnas right at their houses. Takeoffs and landings at the airstrip surrounded by 45 homes number just a handful a day, residents say, and nobody is bothered by the momentary noise of a single-engine plane climbing skyward....

    Pilot Country Estates residents, from left, Joel Giurtino, Mike Hatfield, and Sue Richards identify their neighbor’s property.
  2. Bowen: Raiding Ridge Road account would not be wise

    Roads

    Look west from Connerton in Land O'Lakes, and the visual is both frustrating and exhausting.

    Fifteen red diamond-shaped signs mark a stub-out — the connection for a planned road that never materialized. There are plenty of those around the county, but this one carries extra meaning. On the Suncoast Parkway, south of State Road 52, motorists drive over a similarly dubious landmark. It's an overpass, allowing the parkway to cross a highway underneath, except the road below has yet to be built....

  3. Ex-Pasco Commissioner Mulieri pans charter panel picks

    Blog

    Former Pasco Commissioner Pat Mulieri is criticizing the make-up of the just-released county advisory committee on charter government.

    Within hours of the appointments being made public Tuesday evening, Mulieri fired off e-mail to commissioners and journalists saying the picks lack gender and economic diversity. Of the 15 appointments, School Board member Alison Crumbley - named by Commissioner Kathryn Starkey – is the only female....

  4. Pasco commissioners pick charter study committee members

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Retired County Administrator John Gallagher heads the list of citizens who will consider the merits of a charter government for Pasco County.

    Commission Chairman Ted Schrader included Gallagher as one of his two appointments to the 15-member advisory committee that will make recommendations to the commission next year. Gallagher, who turned 68 later this week, retired last year after 32 years as county administrator....

  5. Pasco commissioners voice little support for increasing tourism tax

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — For the fourth time in the past half-dozen years, Pasco County commissioners heard a pitch for a penny-on-the-dollar increase in the county's tourism tax. And, as with past commissions, the current board turned inhospitable to the idea.

    The proposal came this week during a workshop among commissioners and the advisory Tourist Development Council to discuss a five-year strategic plan for tourism. The tax increase, which would have generated about $400,000 annually, was intended to boost the county's marketing efforts to attract sports and nature-based tourists....

  6. Bowen: Economic arguments for charter government don't add up

    Local Government

    Talk with state Rep. Richard Corcoran about a charter government for Pasco County and lots of names come into the conversation.

    T. Rowe Price.

    Raymond James.

    Bob Buckhorn.

    So, two financial institutions and Tampa's mayor are a key part of this debate? It harkens back to James Carville's internal campaign message to Bill Clinton in 1992: It's the economy, stupid.

    This is the charter logic being offered. T. Rowe Price paid $13.5 million for a prime piece of real estate in Lutz, but then never followed through on its plans to add up to 1,200 new jobs on its 72-acre campus. The six-year romance with Pasco finally fell apart publicly 10 months ago. The county is helping to market the land....

  7. Ground broken for Cypress Creek Ice and Sports Complex in Wesley Chapel

    Economic Development

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Hockey sticks and pucks replaced shovels and hard hats Tuesday morning, even though a front-end loader and dump truck moved dirt where a Zamboni machine will travel across ice in about nine months.

    The dichotomy came as more than 100 people gathered to celebrate the commencement of construction on the Cypress Creek Ice and Sports Complex. The $20 million, privately owned and operated facility, located near the State Road 56/Interstate 75 interchange, is about to be rechristened, however. ...

  8. Pasco County to consider housing lawsuit settlement

    Local Government

    Pasco County is poised to pay $450,000 and become partners with a developer on 13 new rental homes reserved for low-income and special-needs residents to settle a legal fight over a scuttled affordable housing partnership.

    If commissioners approve the proposed settlement Tuesday, the legal fight will have cost the county $400,000 in legal fees, plus the $450,000 payment to CWHIP Partners LLC, General Home Development Corp. and Ten Oaks Development Corp. Additionally, the county will use state and federal housing dollars to let the developers build the 13 homes....

  9. Bowen: Trusting Pasco voters to chart their own government

    Local Government

    State Rep. Richard Corcoran says he trusts the citizens of Pasco County.

    It's one of the standard talking points from the future speaker of the Florida House of Representatives when the topic turns to charter government for Pasco County. Corcoran likes the idea of a charter. So much so that he previously talked about forming a political action committee, raising money and paying people to collect 46,000 petition signatures, which would force the issue to an eventual ballot referendum. He thinks a charter ought to provide for an elected county executive/chairman, single-member districts for commissioners, terms limits and a recall provision....

  10. Suburbia beginning to spread north of SR 52 in central Pasco

    Real Estate

    GOWERS CORNER — The suburbanization of central Pasco is heading north.

    Residential growth patterns for the past two decades primarily followed the east-west route along the State Road 54/56 corridor from Trinity to Wiregrass. That trend certainly isn't slowing, with Starkey Ranch under construction in Odessa, the Asturia development slated to add 900 homes and apartments on the former Behnke Ranch, Newland Communities planning to offer homes for sale at the massive Bexley Ranch development by year's end, and Standard Pacific homes debuting its Estacia at Wiregrass just last week....

  11. Pasco commissioners agree to appoint, maintain control of charter panel

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County commissioners agreed Tuesday to explore a charter government on their own terms, and plan to appoint an advisory committee of voters to propose potential changes on how local government operates.

    Under the plan, to be formalized in a local ordinance, commissioners would retain the option of blessing the finished product, or modifying the recommendations, before seeking a voter referendum, possibly in November 2016. ...

  12. State Rep. Richard Corcoran displeased with Pasco's changing charter discussion

    Blog

    State Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, isn’t too pleased that the Pasco County Commission is staking out an alternative route toward charter government.

    Corcoran, who started this public debate, said in January he planned to form a political action committee to raise money and obtain the 46,000 signatures necessary to require a charter commission. Under state law, that panel would have 18 months to complete its task and to take the results to the elected County Commission for a voter referendum....

  13. Pasco commission discusses options for charter government

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County commissioners are considering a "starter charter'' form of government to retain greater control over a proposed makeover of how the county operates.

    By adopting a local ordinance to create a charter government advisory committee, commissioners can retain the ability to select from multiple options for a voter referendum, including whether the county administrator should be appointed by commissioners or elected by the public. More significant changes could be made later, if voters approve....

  14. Pasco EDC seeks state aid for Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

    News

    PORT RICHEY — The sign proclaiming Florida state parks as a "national gold medal winner voted America's best'' is low the ground, partially obscured by dead branches from a nearby palmetto bush. It sits amid a short, pothole-filled lime rock driveway leading to a trail head off Scenic Drive, one of three public access points to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park in western Pasco County....

    Paddlers explore Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Its lack of development disappoints people eager to market the area’s ecotourism potential.
  15. Bowen: Cities, business interests ready to pitch in to beautify U.S. 19 corridor

    Roads

    The beautification of U.S. 19 through Pasco will begin in the middle of the road.

    At least that is the plan of the West Pasco Board of Realtors and the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce. They want green palm fronds to replace orange construction barrels. Greg Armstrong calls it creating the "wow.''

    Armstrong is head of the political affairs committee for the Realtors. His business, Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey and Son Residential Inc., fronts on U.S. 19, just north of the Main Street intersection in New Port Richey. For the past several months, he's been preoccupied, not with "wow,'' but with "when?'' As in, when is this construction going to be finished? Fall of this year, says the Florida Department of Transportation. ...