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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. Pasco County spreads path toward more walkable communities

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The land planners call it MUTRM, pronounced "mutter um." It's the bureaucratic acronym for dense housing abutting sidewalks and traffic grids leading to nearby businesses and open spaces in a neighborhood center.

    Combined, these elements are considered mixed-use trip reduction measures, MUTRM, even if others outside of county government might use a more familiar name: a compact, walkable community; more feet on the pavement than on the gas pedal....

  2. To aid code enforcement, county plans change to foreclosure rules

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY – It seemed like a good idea at the time: Tell everyone this home is in foreclosure and here's who to call if the house falls into disrepair.

    The county rule requires these public notifications to be posted at the front of the houses, usually in windows facing the streets. The intent is to keep a handle on neighborhood blight. In 2010, the year the County Commission adopted its registry ordinance, there were 14,000 foreclosure cases pending in Pasco and new filings reached 6,374 that year....

    The Pasco County Commission is planning to change its rules regarding foreclosed properties.
  3. Bowen: Trash debate colored by indifference to residents

    Local Government

    The county attorney called it the F word.

    He was joking. Sort of.

    The F word, in this case, is not vulgar. But it might be profane in some circles.

    "Franchising.''

    It came up last month as county commissioners sat around a table in a public meeting talking about how to get the public to do a better job of recycling.

    It emerged again four weeks later as the same people met to chat about the idea of changing the current system of disposing of household trash — known in government vernacular as solid waste management....

  4. Pasco commission okays money for continued pursuit of permit for Ridge Road Extension

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County will pay another $261,000 to try to obtain federal permission to build the Ridge Road Extension.

    On Tuesday, county commissioners agreed to extend their contract with Dawson & Associates of Washington, D.C., for up to nine additional months to try to persuade the Army Corps of Engineers to issue the required environmental permit. But at least two commissioners indicated their patience is wearing thin on the escalating consultant costs....

    The planned site where the Ridge Road extension project would link with the Suncoast Parkway.
  5. Pasco GOP chairman resigns

    Blog

    James Mathieu has resigned as chariman of the Republican Party of Pasco County.

    Mathieu notified members of the Pasco Republican Executive Committee of his decision in an email message Tuesday night.

    "For personal reasons, I am resigning as chairman of the Republican Party of Pasco. Thank all of you for this opportunity to serve. Keep the faith and Republicans will prevail in 2016. Thank you all,'' the email said....

  6. Despite some reservations, Pasco to seek $27 million for wider SR 56 extension

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County wants to borrow $27 million for a road connecting Wesley Chapel to Zephyrhills, but only if the repayment plan doesn't jeopardize road construction projects planned elsewhere in the county.

    County commissioners agreed unanimously Tuesday to seek the added funding from the state Department of Transportations's revolving loan program to build two additional lanes on the eastward extension of State Road 56 from Meadow Point Boulevard to U.S. 301. The approval came after commissioners learned they could walk away from the proposal later this year if the financing poses potential delays to road projects already on the county's capital improvement plan....

  7. With another population boom looming, Pasco discusses options for trash disposal

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Faced with a trash incinerator operating at capacity and a county population projected to increase by 30 percent over the next 15 years, Pasco County is trying to figure out how to handle growing amounts of garbage the tens of thousands of new residents will produce.

    "We're really looking at how do we whittle down the waste stream,'' Daniel Strobridge, vice president of CDM Smith, the county's solid waste consultant, told county commissioners this week....

    One of Pasco’s solutions to handle the increase in trash is expanding its incinerator. Financing a $190 million expansion plan would add $67 a year to each household. .
  8. Bowen: Prickly park debate underscores distrust of Mariano

    Local Government

    Jack Mariano is on restriction.

    If he misbehaves again, he'll be grounded, probably until the Fourth of July.

    Kid you not.

    This is how far governing and leadership has deteriorated within the chambers of the Pasco County Commission. It was on full display last week.

    Mariano, who's been on the dais for 11 years now, is the chief cheerleader for the county-owned SunWest Park in Aripeka and also has been running a far-from-clandestine campaign to get additional funding for the multimillion-dollar beach park....

  9. Timber Oaks residents cry foul over golf course drainage plan

    Local Government

    PORT RICHEY — Seventy-year-old Larry Dahlquist bought his home in the Timber Oaks neighborhood in 2006 and moved there permanently from Minnesota six years later, attracted by the peace and quiet of the 55-and-older community, and by his home's location away from the golf course. He is not a golfer.

    The peace and quiet, however, has been interrupted by an ongoing legal battle over — what else? — the golf course....

  10. Critics assail Pasco charter government advisory board

    Local Government

    LAND O'LAKES — The initial meeting of the Pasco County Charter Advisory Committee Monday afternoon began and ended in a similar manner: absorbing public criticism about how the 15-member board will operate while considering whether to alter the local form of government.

    At the outset, longtime environmental activist Clay Colson of Land O'Lakes questioned the group's validity because it had failed to meet within 30 days of its creation, as spelled out in the county commission resolution creating the advisory board....

  11. Pasco golf course owner considers future residential development

    Real Estate

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Developers are targeting Quail Hollow Golf Course for 350 single-family homes, but not anytime soon, according to one of the principals involved.

    "I assure you that it is no time in the near future,'' Jim O'Brien, principal of the ETHOS Development Group, which represents the course owner, said in an email.

    The 175-acre golf course is a mile northeast of the intersection of Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Old Pasco Road. It is owned by Andre Carollo's Pasco Office Park LLC, which purchased the property for $1.7 million in 2010, two years after the course closed....

  12. Pasco schools pondering natural-gas buses

    Education

    The Pasco School District is rolling along with a plan that could put natural gas-powered buses on local roads by the 2016-17 school year.

    The district, which already has received an unsolicited proposal from Nopetro of Coral Gables to partner on a compressed natural gas fueling station, is advertising for similar proposals from other vendors, as state law requires.

    The district also hasn't ruled out building and operating its own fueling station, and school officials were scheduled to met this week with representatives of the municipal-owned Clearwater Gas System as part of that analysis....

    The Pasco School District is looking into using natural gas to fuel buses, possibly by the 2016-17 school year. One of the negatives is that the district would have to buy about 130 buses.
  13. Bowen: Timing matters in Main Street Landing reboot

    Local Government

    A year ago, while I was addressing the 2014 class of Leadership Pasco, someone asked what I would like to see happen in Pasco County.

    The question came just weeks after the much-ballyhooed relocation of T. Rowe Price from Tampa to Lutz fell apart, leaving the unfulfilled promises of a new office campus for Pasco's property tax rolls and 1,600 high-paying jobs for the local economy.

    The answer reflected that jilt. What I'd really like to see is for one of these long-range projects come to fruition, whether it be a substantial business recruitment, or a tourist draw, or another technique to alter the county's designated role as a bedroom community for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties....

  14. Legg snubs Pasco GOP fundraiser

    Blog

    NEW PORT RICHEY – The push back over the Pasco Republican Party hierarchy’s treatment of its longest-tenured GOP club has begun with Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, skipping the party’s largest annual fund-raiser later this month.

    Legg, in a May 4 letter to Pasco Republican Executive Committee Chairman James Mathieu, returned his eight tickets to the 2015 GOP’s Reagan Day dinner scheduled for May 28. Mathieu and Republican state commiteeman Bill Bunting recently refused to reauthorize the charter for the 40-year-old West Pasco Republican Club....

  15. Legg snubs GOP fundraiser

    Blog

    NEW PORT RICHEY – The push back over the Pasco Republican Party hierarchy’s treatment of its longest-tenured GOP club has begun with Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, skipping the party’s largest annual fund-raiser later this month.

    Legg, in a May 4 letter to Pasco Republican Executive Committee Chairman James Mathieu, returned his eight tickets to the 2015 GOP’s Reagan Day dinner scheduled for May 28. Mathieu and Republican state commiteeman Bill Bunting recently refused to reauthorize the charter for the 40-year-old West Pasco Republican Club....