07/26/17 Economic Development
The east Pasco property of Angelo's Aggregate Materials, which failed to obtain a state environmental permit to be developed as a garbage landfill, is being studied as a potential 1,000-acre mega site for industrial recruitment.
"There are no mega sites of that size in Florida right now. This puts us clearly on the map,'' Bill Cronin, president/CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council, told county commissioners earlier this month....
Railroad traffic through Land O'Lakes and Lutz periodically interrupts cars and trucks trying to get through one of the busiest intersections in Pasco County — the crossroads of U.S. 41 and State Road 54.
It actually averages less than one freight train per day, according to CSX.
That shouldn't pose too terrible of an inconvenience for motorists.
The crossing gates stopping cars from entering the intersection are another story....
07/18/17 Economic Development
ODESSA — Graham Mavar said he first looked around Pasco County seven years ago for a suitable place to develop a high-end employment center.
"Industrial likes to go next to industrial, but somebody's got to go first. That's always the biggest challenge," said Mavar, a partner in the Tampa-based commercial real estate development firm Harrod Properties.
The company finally settled on a location — the Asturia development north of State Road 54 and west of the Suncoast Parkway — and now is partnering with Pasco County on a $26 million project to develop two roads and up to 200,000 square feet of Class A spec space for office/industrial use....
07/12/17 Local Government
DADE CITY — A Wesley Chapel golf course can be bulldozed for 389 homes, Pasco County commissioners ruled Tuesday.
On a 4-1 vote, with Chairman Mike Moore dissenting, commissioners decided a long-delayed rezoning issue by allowing the owner of Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club to swap fairways for driveways.
The decision came as dozens of objecting neighbors sat wearing green shirts adorned with green stickers and yellow lettering that parroted the county's marketing slogan, "Open spaces, vibrant places.''...
Florida's nearly 39,000 restaurants are projected to do $41.7 billion in sales this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. And the appetite for eating out is showing up in a big way at the Cypress Creek Town Center development that traverses State Road 56 just west of Interstate 75.
The initial retail center on the northern portion of the development will include both Mellow Mushroom pizza and Chuy's Tex-Mex restaurants, according to Pasco County building permit records....
DADE CITY — The monthslong back and forth over how to pay for new schools took a timeout Tuesday after the Pasco County School District, the Tampa Bay Builders Association and the county's legal staff negotiated a three-year, $3,500 increase in the charge for new single-family homes.
The accord, reached on the eve of a County Commission public hearing on the impact fee ordinance, prompted the commission to delay its final vote until August to meet legal advertising requirements....
07/11/17 Local Government
DADE CITY — It's no longer going to cost $2 to visit Pasco County's beaches.
On Tuesday, commissioners agreed to spend a portion of a $3 million budget windfall by ending the parking fee at nine coastal and wilderness parks. Commissioners left in place the $5 charge to park boat trailers at the county's boat ramps.
The elimination of the parking fees does not apply to the privately operated SunWest Park near Aripeka....
Kelly Smith, 42, of Wesley Chapel, a child advocate and a former government zoning administrator, is seeking the District 2 Pasco County Commission seat held by incumbent Republican Mike Moore.
Smith, a Democrat, moved to the county in 2008 from Naples. She said the 2016 national election inspired her candidacy.
“Just as it did for many Americans, the 2016 election outcome sparked my desire to become more involved in politics. Those elected to represent us no longer reflect a variety of viewpoints or experiences. I also don’t see many elected officials operating from the basic belief that it is their responsibility to care about all people and to make decisions that improve the quality of life for everyone,’’ she said in a released statement. “I was raised to believe that you can’t complain if you’re not willing to work towards a solution. With that, I couldn’t sit by and not get involved.”...
DADE CITY — Two years ago, amid a flurry of budget vetoes, Gov. Rick Scott spared a $1 million appropriation for Pasco-Hernando State College. Legislators sought the money, at the behest of Sheriff Chris Nocco, for refurbishing and modernizing the gun range at the police academy at the college's east Pasco campus.
The state-of-the-art facility reopened in January. But less than six months later, Nocco publicly asked Pasco commissioners to develop the county's own gun range for his agency. It will require a roughly $855,000 payment to the county's utility fund for nearly 10 acres of utility-owned land abutting the trash-to-energy incinerator in Shady Hills, plus the cost of building the range, which has not been disclosed....
Social worker Brandi Geoit has filed to run for the Pasco County Commission seat held by incumbent Republican Mike Wells Jr.
Geoit, 41, is executive director of the West Coast AIDS Foundation and vice president of the Pasco County National Organization for Women. A Democrat, she lives in the Embassy Hills area of west Pasco.
Earlier this month, she was one of the public speakers at a stakeholders meeting on a proposed one-stop homeless navigation center to be located in the shuttered Boys & Girls Club buildings on Youth Lane. Geoit urged the county to proceed with the plan and asked objecting neighbors to reconsider their opposition. ...
LAND O'LAKES — Two chambers of commerce representing more than 850 business members from west Pasco to Wesley Chapel and New Tampa are merging into a single organization.
The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce, formerly known as the Trinity Odessa chamber, are combining, the groups announced Wednesday morning. The entity, still unnamed, will be headed by Hope Allen, president and CEO of the Wesley Chapel chamber, and will operate under that chamber's bylaws and organizational structure....
Tennessee-based Hutton Development is proposing a boutique grocery store at the northeast corner of State Road 56 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard, in the northern portion of Cypress Creek Town Center.
The location, which has a Lutz address, puts it across the street from a proposed Aldi grocery store at the southwest corner of the same intersection.
"There is a retail grocery that we'd like to get. One of the new fad of grocers, I guess you would call it,'' landowner Robert Sierra said about the latest proposal....
06/14/17 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — For the first time in three years, Pasco commissioners considered a proposed county budget that matched recurring spending with available revenue.
It didn't last long.
Instead of an austere budget, with enough money for employee raises and little else in new general fund spending, commissioners dipped into a reserve account for a multimillion-dollar spending spree. The proposed 2017-18 budget now includes money to: keep libraries open longer; add ambulance service in Trilby and west Pasco; bolster elderly nutrition; turn an empty building in Dade City into a one-stop community center for needy youth; double the size of employee raises, and honor all of the spending requests from Sheriff Chris Nocco, Elections Supervisor Brian Corley, Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller Paula S. O'Neil and Property Appraiser Gary Joiner....
A corner in Land O'Lakes could become a Home of the Whopper.
Brightwork Crossing, the mixed-use development near the northwest corner of State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard, is poised to include a Burger King restaurant, a Wawa convenience store and a Firestore tire and auto center, according to plans filed with Pasco County.
Representatives of Quality Dining, which operates 158 Burger King restaurants in Florida, Indiana and Michigan, are scheduled to meet with Pasco County planners next week to discuss their proposed 3,349-square-foot restaurant. It would be the third Burger King in the vicinity, joining restaurants at the northwest corner of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and SR 54 in Wesley Chapel and at County Line Road and Bruce B. Downs, just south of County Line Road in New Tampa....
The descriptions ranged from criminals to drug addicts to alcoholics to panhandlers. At least nobody said bums.
Others characterized Pasco's homeless population as unemployed, down on their luck, parents, neighbors. Or simply, human beings.
The divergent declarations — none of which should be construed as entirely inaccurate — were tossed about last week amid a group of four dozen people hashing out the pros and cons of turning the shuttered Boys & Girls Club headquarters and teen center on Youth Lane in west Pasco into a center for homeless services....