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Council to bend rules to help annexation

A mobile home park would be allowed to become an enclave, easing plans for a dairy.

Published March 9, 2004

ZEPHYRHILLS - In the interest of easing the annexation of a 325-acre dairy, City Council members Monday evening agreed to bend some rules.

Brightside Mobile Home Park is on 10 acres and sits across U.S. 301 from Gore's Dairy, which is under contract with a developer.

Instead of annexing the park to make the city's land contiguous, Zephyrhills would allow the park to became an enclave, barring any objections from Pasco County.

State law prohibits creation of enclaves, but City Attorney Karla Owens said she thinks the plan would be permissible as long as the county approves it.

"The only people that have standing to object to an annexation is the applicant or the county," Owens said.

If county officials do object, the city plans to annex the park without requiring it to connect to municipal water and sewer service until the land is sold.

Owners of the mobile home park, which is south of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, have resisted annexing because the utility connection fees would total about $200,000.

City Manager Steve Spina conceded that those costs make annexation undesirable, especially because the park, which sits in the middle of the city's emerging commercial district, will probably one day sell to developers.

"They have no reason to (annex)," Spina said.

The city's main interest in the matter is to clear the way for Gore's Dairy to annex. The Wal-Mart Supercenter and a planned Lowe's home improvement store next door have made the dairy a prime target of other commercial interests.

The development of Gore's Dairy will have a major impact on the city, namely through traffic, City Council member Lance Smith said.

"We're going to be affected by whatever goes on that property," Smith said.

By annexing the land, the city would collect thousands in impact fees to help offset some of those changes.

In other news Tuesday:

Council members again delayed moving on plans to build an interactive water fountain. The project, budgeted at $300,000, would be funded in part by a federal grant that requires a substantial city match. Officials hoped to use a $225,000 state transportation grant toward the match but have learned that might not be possible.

City officials will get a final answer about the state grant and, if necessary, find other funding alternatives to present at the March 22 council meeting.

The water park could go in Times Square on Fifth Avenue or in Zephyr Park.

[Last modified March 9, 2004, 01:35:32]

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