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County, builder battle over 47 feet

That's the width of a right of way officials want in Land O'Lakes. It's also a third of the proposed retail site.

By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published August 11, 2006


DADE CITY - A Development Review Committee decision Thursday would eat up a third of a Lutz builder's proposed retail site off U.S. 41, next to the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce.

The outcome followed a tense exchange with builder Todd Caroline's attorney, who demanded an up-or-down vote to end 14 months of wrangling with county staff.

Caroline's Land O'Lakes property is a third of an acre, of which his proposed retail center would take 3,900 square feet.

At issue is 47 feet of right of way the county wants from the developer, which would push nearly a third of the way into the 156-foot-deep property.

The right of way would be given for road expansion.

The legal escape clause for Caroline would have been a $25,000 traffic study that could substantially reduce the amount of property he has to give up, legally termed "rough proportionality."

But who should pay for the study?

Caroline's attorney argued the county should.

Officials said that's not their practice.

The standoff could result in a court case, after a compromise attempt for 23 feet of right of way failed for logistical reasons.

"No, we're not prepared to strike a deal here today," R. Michael Brooks, Caroline's lawyer, told the Development Review Committee. "You picked on the wrong person in this case."

Chuin-Wei Yap covers growth and development in Pasco County. He can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com.

[Last modified August 11, 2006, 06:29:54]


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