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Grand proposal shrinks again

Published Oct. 12, 2005

The Lansbrook subdivision, envisioned in the 1970s as a 20,000-home giant before being scaled back substantially in the 1980s, is dwindling even further.

In a proposal set to go before county commissioners this evening, Lansbrook Development Corp. wants to change its development plans to allow 8,230 houses and apartment units, down from the 10,488 units it bargained for in 1989.

Lansbrook officials said the move reflects the reality of home-building in East Lake in the 1990s: Residents favor single-family homes rather than the more people-intensive apartments or condominiums.

Many of the units being dropped from Lansbrook plans were in multifamily buildings.

"There's more of a demand for single-family homes," said David Evans, chief operating officer for Lansbrook.

The proposal also calls for commercial development to be capped at 205,570 square feet, down from the 262,000 allowed in the 1989 agreement. County records show Lansbrook has built less than 7,000 square feet of that commercial space.

Lansbrook officials also are asking for an extension on their deadline to complete construction at the 2,000-acre development. In 1989, they agreed to finish by November 2004. The proposed change would give the subdivision developers until November 2006 to finish the project.

The proposed changes also call for shifting road-building duty from Lansbrook to Pinellas County.

As part of the 1989 agreement to amend the development agreement, Lansbrook said it would widen 1.5 miles of East Lake Road, from Brooker Creek north past Ridgemoor Boulevard. County officials said that then they would get the necessary state water and environmental permits for the job.

More than three years later, those permits still are holding up the road widening, said Al Navaroli of the county's zoning department. That delay brought the Lansbrook section closer to the timing of a county project that will widen much of East Lake Road to four lanes.

"The time frames now are such that it's more practical for us to do all the construction," Navaroli said.

Lansbrook is proposing to pay Pinellas County $4.1-million for its section of the work, which is determined by estimating the traffic effects of the subdivision.

Lansbrook also will give the county an extra 2 acres of property for the road widening project as part of the proposed agreement.

The county plans to widen about 5 miles of East Lake Road, from Tarpon Woods Boulevard to Keystone Road, starting in the next year. Work on that road will continue through 1995.

Although there have been delays in building Lansbrook's portion of the road, Evans said the slowing of the subdivision's growth put fewer cars than expected onto East Lake Road, making the improvements unneeded until now.