NEW PORT RICHEY — Sharing lucrative and limited development rights among a group of landowners would seem like a recipe for conflict, and in the Central Pasco Employment Village, it was.
But last week, the County Commission approved the next 321-acre industrial and business park site within the 2,400-acre village after one landowner, his neighbors and the county found middle ground.
Eagle II, one of two parcels owned by George Southworth, was proposed for 2 million square feet of corporate business park, places for targeted industries, light industrial uses and 150,000 square feet of additional commercial and office space.
But Southworth, who owns the Eagle II property through a limited liability partnership called 3KS Family, riled up his neighbor to the east. Andy Scaglione, owner of D&D Ranch, argued that Southworth was seeking too large a portion of the commercial space available to all landowners. Scaglione also found fault with a proposed roadway across the site that he said would hinder his ability to develop his parcel in the future.
In June, the Pasco Planning Commission voted to recommend denial of the Eagle II application even though there were promises to work out the conflict. Since then, the parties have settled on a different road alignment between the two properties and the county has begun the process of lifting the cap it placed on the amount of industrial use that would be allowed in the employment village zone.
According to the county’s memo explaining the removal, “the cap was established at a time when the county could not have reasonably expected or anticipated the market demand for (business park and industrial) uses to increase as it has in recent years. As a result, the cap acts as an artificial limit on the attraction of industrial business into the Central Pasco Employment Village and Pasco County at a time when the demand is high and more can come to the County.”
Southworth also agreed to put all of his commercial property on the Eagle II site, removing commercial areas from the adjacent Eagle I property, which was previously approved for industrial uses.
The project also brought scrutiny by County Commission chairperson Kathryn Starkey, who urged a land plan that would allow a wide-enough swath of land to be available to create a connection to the Orange Belt Trail. Officials were also able to reach an agreement on that issue, with the developer agreeing to give a 30-foot slice of land and the county also talking to Tampa Bay Water, which owns the adjacent land.
While Commissioner Mike Moore said he didn’t want to see the county have to pay to buy land for that trail, Starkey said she didn’t think that would be necessary. Starkey, who routinely advocates for trails, said, “I’m glad we have this one worked out.”
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