County rejects access for K-Bar development
By JOHN BALZ, Times Staff Writer
TAMPA -- Pasco County officials on Thursday threw a twist into the debate over bringing K-Bar Ranch into Tampa's city limits by effectively denying future homeowners in the ranch development access to Pasco roads.
The city, which is in annexation discussions with the owners of the 2,280-acre ranch bordering Pasco County, had planned on a set of north-south roads that would allow homeowners to exit the property through Pasco County.
But a letter faxed to the City Council from the Pasco County administrator's office said the county's roads could not handle the congestion of the 1,599 homes planned for K-Bar.
Until the city provides adequate improvements, "Pasco County will not allow interconnections between county roads and the City and Hillsborough County," read the letter, signed by Administrator John Gallagher.
Although the City Council went ahead and approved a preliminary annexation agreement for K-Bar, members agreed they could not support the final draft on Aug. 22 if the complications are not resolved.
"I'm greatly troubled," said council member Shawn Harrison, who still supports the annexation. "I don't know where we go from here."
Council members were surprised because they thought the questions about roads had been resolved.
K-Bar's owner, the Krusen-Douglas Partnership, wants to give drivers four access roads to the community.
Planners calculated that nearly 700 homes would use two of those outlets, Mansfield Road and Meadow Pointe Boulevard, to link up with State Roads 54 and 56. Transportation blueprints show an extended Kinnan Road running through K-Bar and connecting with Mansfield Road in Pasco.
Mahdi Mansour, an engineer with the city's transportation department, said K-Bar met the transportation requirements precisely because of the outlets in Pasco County.
"Eliminating access to the north will cause some problems," he said.
Likening the effect on traffic to "water in a balloon," council member Bob Buckhorn said drivers, squeezed onto two-lane Morris Bridge Road and Cross Creek Boulevard, would quickly clog up the traffic network.
City transportation officials may have to repeat their traffic analysis excluding usage of Pasco County roads. That could take months.
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