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Question: How well is Pasco handling its growth?

Alison Berke Morano, owner and president of Bworks.com, a search engine marketing company based in Wesley Chapel:

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 15, 2004

"I think the county is doing a good job. The first thing that has to be planned is roads. As long as you have the road structure in place, you can manage growth. I believe the county is planning for more than they need at this time - overcompensating - so that if they need to widen the roads later, they've planned for that.

"Business growth, especially managed growth, is very important, especially in a town like this where there's so much residential. It has to be balanced or you end up with an upside-down tax structure. You need the impact fees; you need the tax base. We're at the cusp of development. Businesses are just starting to come in and really map out Wesley Chapel.

"The other thing that's going on in our area is there are a lot of home-based businesses and they're growing and looking to expand into storefronts. I have a home-based business and the fact that I will soon be able to get everything done while managing a business in my home is what makes for the perfect community."

Dewey Mitchell, owner/broker of Prudential Tropical Realty in New Port Richey:

"Obviously the widening of (State Road) 54 is very needed . . .

"The county has a chance not to repeat some of the mistakes it made in the past. For example: U.S. 19. But that's what development looked like in the '70s. (Now) the county has an opportunity to do something that will look a lot more tasteful over time.

"Hopefully more rooftops (along the 54 corridor area) will drive some more business into the county and people will be commuting to Pasco to work instead of Hillsborough and Pinellas.

"I think ultimately we'll see some more business relocations. That's my prediction."

Richard Bekesh, owner, Spring Engineering in Holiday:

"Considering the enormous number of new projects coming into Pasco, both commercial and residential, I believe the county is doing an adequate job of dealing with the regulatory aspect of new growth.

"The regulatory process within the county has become consistently longer, which in large part is due to having so many new projects and not enough staff to keep up with the demand. Perhaps the county should look at alterative ways to streamline the overall development and permit process, similar to those methods used in other adjacent counties.

"From an infrastructure standpoint and both a maintenance and capacity perspective, I believe the roadway system requires constant, ongoing attention. There are a significant number of roadway improvement projects that must be set in motion to keep up with the growth.

"Serious effort should be exerted in the process of bringing these projects from conception to completion more expeditiously. The Penny for Pasco tax will certainly go a long way in helping to bring about so many needed roadway improvement projects, if it is approved in March.

"As for public facilities (i.e., parks, fire stations, libraries, etc.), the county leaders are doing a good job trying to keep ahead of the growth as it pertains to these areas. I believe our county leaders are truly committed to improving the quality of life for all the residents of Pasco."

Dan Youngman, executive with Florida Manufacturing Group Inc. in Odessa (formerly Florida Computerized Machining):

"As a whole we're excited about it. We feel like we're stranded on an island out here. I think growth is good. More and more housing is moving out this way. It hopefully will give us a larger employee base to choose from.

"We need more manufacturing companies in Pasco. A strong manufacturing base helps everyone in the county. We're behind the times (in that regard) and it's growth related. As more and more people move out this way, it's going to be nothing but help."

[Last modified February 15, 2004, 01:15:45]


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