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Pasco approves first portion of massive 4G Ranch housing development

The new community is coming to an area where few large neighborhoods exist yet.
 
The entrance to the 4G Ranch north of State Road 52 and east of U.S. 41 in central Pasco County
The entrance to the 4G Ranch north of State Road 52 and east of U.S. 41 in central Pasco County [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Published July 14, 2023|Updated July 14, 2023

The first portion of residential development on the massive 4G Ranch, which could become a gated community, got the Pasco County Commission vote of approval this week.

The western side of the ranch property known for its large estate that has played host to political fundraisers through the years, spans 1,102 acres and is set for 1,500 residences. The housing type wasn’t specified, but developers left open the door for single-family homes, villas or townhomes.

The ranch is located on the north side of State Road 52 approximately three miles east of U.S. 41 and is considered a transition area between higher housing densities to the west and rural areas of Pasco to the east.

A county sign announced that changes are coming for the 4G Ranch in Central Pasco.
A county sign announced that changes are coming for the 4G Ranch in Central Pasco. [ Pasco County ]

Earlier this month at the county’s Planning Commission meeting, development representative Clarke Hobby said the central Pasco location could position 4G Ranch West as the perfect place for executive housing. He predicted a gated community “the likes of which we haven’t seen in many years.”

The site is fairly close to several major projects, including the new H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center life sciences campus and several large industrial prospects expected to be coming soon,

That sparked a comment from Planning Commissioner Jon Moody, who said he couldn’t imagine a day when quarter acre lots would be considered big enough for Pasco’s future executives. Hobby said in recent meetings about the project that it seemed that there would be more interest in larger but fewer lots.

Moody also noted there are numerous low areas on the property, complicating where housing will fit. In addition to wetlands, there is a swath of protected land which cannot be built upon. Years ago, the county reached an agreement with the Phillips family, which owns the ranch, to establish recharge ponds that are operated by Pasco County as part of a reclaimed water project.

The parcel also includes a protected bald eagle’s nest.

The 4G Ranch is Central Pasco has proposed housing, business and conservation uses on nearly 3,000 acres. The western half of that site has received rezoning approval from the County Commission.
The 4G Ranch is Central Pasco has proposed housing, business and conservation uses on nearly 3,000 acres. The western half of that site has received rezoning approval from the County Commission. [ Pasco County ]

The short- and long-term land use proposal for the total ranch area is encompassed in a larger change in the county’s comprehensive plan. That includes a total of 3,800 residences and 300,000 square feet of non-residential uses across the entire 2,903-acre property.

But the eastern side of the parcel is likely not to see development anytime soon. Hobby told planning commissioners that portion of the ranch will stay in the family for years into the future. That is the site of the family home and Hobby said that they plan a large extension of that compound.

That is why, he said, the family “is very interested in having a high-quality development” on the western side of the parcel because of their “long-term vested interest.”

Hobby also promised that developers are committing to new architectural, landscaping and other standards for various types that Pasco County is planning to implement. ”We’ve gone above and beyond,” he said.

The county also approved an exemption to standard land development rules for the ranch that would ordinarily require road connections around a project. The 4G Ranch is bordered on the north by the Cross Bar Wellfield and on the east by an ecological corridor between the wellfield and established ecosystems in the Conner Preserve to the south

Those connections would not be appropriate into protected areas, according to county staff who recommended approval of the exemption.