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Dade City lets out belt for 48 homes

(ran PC editions)

Construction will begin soon on Highland Oaks, a 48-unit development of townhouses starting at about $107,000 on Fort King Road.

Dade City commissioners on Monday gave final approval to annex the 6-acre property and rezone it for residential development. Annexations take effect after 10 days.

With the townhomes starting at $106,900, the development potentially adds more than $5-million to the city's stagnant tax base.

City Manager Harold Sample said the project is a definite boost, but its impact won't be felt for a while. Sample estimated that 2006 is the earliest the city will collect any property taxes on the townhouses.

"The issue about development is wonderful, except it's a long lead before we actually start to see it in the city coffers," Sample said. "But we have to start somewhere."

Developers say the project could be finished in about 14 months. All the townhouses will be one story. A privately maintained street will run through the center of the lot.

The property lies on the east side of Fort King Road, across from Pasco High School and abutting Royal Oak Nursing Home to the north. City officials are requiring that a homeowners association be established to deal with maintenance issues.

Commissioner Hutch Brock voiced concern during Monday's meeting about the traffic impact on Fort King, which is two lanes with no turn lane.

"That just seems like it's bound to have more traffic _ if not 48 new cars then 96 new cars," he said.

But City Attorney Karla Owens said the project did not meet the threshold for road widening, according to engineers.

Developer John Dalfino said in the meeting that a third of the land will be left as green space and that trees that have to be removed for construction will be replaced.

Dalfino could not be reached Wednesday.

The townhouses, he said Monday, will be clustered in six to eight buildings and include a few different layouts.

_ Molly Moorhead covers news about Dade City and Zephyrhills. She can be reached at (352) 521-6521 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6521. Her e-mail address is moorheadsptimes.com.

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