NEW PORT RICHEY — Plans for a 321-acre industrial property that is part of the Central Pasco Employment Village hit a hiccup this week when the Pasco County Planning Commission decided to recommend denial of the project based on incomplete information and unsettled issues with a neighbor.
Now the Eagle II project goes to the County Commission for a final vote in the coming weeks. Pasco commissioners have been historically supportive of developing industrial and other job-creating sites, which allowed for the initial creation of the employment village a dozen years ago.
But the idea for the 2,400-acre employment village planning district was that the 20 or so landowners there would share rights to industrial, business and residential development. That sharing has caused friction between property owners in this newest application.
Developer George Southworth, who owns the Eagle II property through a limited liability partnership called 3KS Family, was seeking approval for 2 million square feet of business park and industrial use and 150,000 square feet of commercial operations on the site.
Southworth’s neighbor to the east, Andy Scaglione of Pasco County’s D&D Ranch, has argued that Southworth is trying to take too large a portion of the commercial entitlements that everyone was supposed to share. He showed that when he looked at not just the proposal for Eagle II but also a previously approved granting of development rights for his adjacent parcel known as Eagle I, also owned by 3KS Family, the disparity was severe.
Amazon has announced plans for a huge new robotic sorting center on the Eagle I site.
Scaglione also has challenged the location of a proposed access road by Southworth and accused him of improperly removing trees from his property. Planning commissioners have told the property owners to work out their differences.
While the property owners appear to be reaching an agreement on the entitlement issues, planning commissioners expressed frustration Thursday that the paperwork did not reflect this.
But there was no compromise on the road alignment, which Scaglione says damages his ability to develop his land. And a new problem arose when county staff realized that the multi-use trail that would have been attached to the road was in limbo. County Commission chairperson Kathryn Starkey testified to the planning commission that the trail was extremely important.
Scaglione, meanwhile, has called environmental agencies to look at the downed trees next to his property. He also said Southworth told him on a conference call that he could “nuke” any wetland he wanted to because the property is currently considered agricultural land.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District has written a letter to Southworth telling him to stop clearing until the issue can be resolved.