The controversy-plagued East Pascoin Florida received its first official approval from the Pasco County Commission this week. This was despite the concerns of residents who claim that the proposed plan isn’t in line with rural development standards the county has set for that area.
The project is planned for 131 acres to the east of Lake Lola Road and south of Blanton Road. The proposed site, as per a report, is located adjacent to Interstate 75 but surrounded by agricultural lands.
Thepark will include 550 sites, a clubhouse, two miles of trails, as well as buffers and landscaping.
The plan was initially proposed in 2019 with 675parking spaces, but was reduced after discussions with the community. From the beginning, residents have been against the plan by arguing that the county already has development protections in place to protect the rural atmosphere of the area.
In line with the protections, the county even established a citizens’ advisory committee to offer suggestions on building commercial nodes within the vicinity. However, the county commission disbanded the group last month per Commissioner Ron Oakley’s request, who declared it too negative.
The residents had previously been critical of Oakley for his strong support of theproject, given that the owner of the , Vcare Consultants Inc., acquired this for $1.2 million from the commissioner’s sister Ann Oakley Maggard and her husband Dale Edward Maggard, the brother of state Rep. Randy Maggard (R- ).
Oakley has said previously that he will give the project a fair hearing despite this connection.
Barbara Wilhite and Frances Chandler Marinoan proposed the project. Wilhite was an assistant county attorney when Pasco was preparing its comprehensive plan. She is now a consultant. Meanwhile, Marino is a consultant involved in the rural protection plan for the northeast portion of Pasco County.
Wilhite stated that 48,500pass at the interchange of I-75 every day. The applicant also said the park would not accommodate full-time residents, and 50% of the land would be open space.
Marino said that the project was in line with the comprehensive growth plan of the county as well as the Northeast Pasco Rural Area Plan.
Residents strongly disagreed that the development is appropriate for the surrounding area.
Marino defended the plan, saying it was in line with the rural area plan she wrote for the county. The plan was conceived to “stop the freight train of low-density residential development” at the time.
The commissioners agreed and were unanimous in their vote to approve the project.
The request to amend the land-use map of the county and growth management plan is the initial step in a commission’s action to approve the entire project. The proposedchange will be discussed in April.