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County envisions villages, not sprawl
Pasadena Hills would be built using "smart growth" principles.
By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published June 6, 2007
DADE CITY - As growth advances northward from Wesley Chapel, county officials laid out a plan at a County Commission workshop Tuesday that would manage development across 22, 000 acres of central Pasco.
The idea is to stop the romp of bulldozers stamping out an incoherent mess of subdivisions.
In their place, the county's long-range planners and their consultants see 11 "village centers" linked by a network of two-lane roads, in the area between State Roads 54 and 52, bounded by Curley Road to the west and U.S. 301 to the east.
The area is called Pasadena Hills, and it could have 45, 000 homes - rivaling Wesley Chapel - when it's completed.
The plan is to design what it'll look like in the year 2050, and the design is influenced by antisprawl "smart growth" tenets.
That means pedestrian-friendly environments. Narrower roads to slow cars down. Self-sufficient communities that radiate outward, from dense downtown centers to homes on 5- to 10-acre lots.
The plan has won tentative acceptance among many after three public workshops, but questions remain.
"This is very good, very valuable and appropriate planning, " said Richard Riley, who lives in Trilby. "The county is doing the right thing. But we're putting off the water problem."
Riley's chief question: Where is the water going to come from for all these new homes?
Blake Drury, the Glatting Jackson consultant working with Pasco on the project, said planners had discussed the same concern with Tampa Bay Water.
"Development, when it goes through the review process, has to go through the same kind of securing of water, " Drury said. "Nothing that we do here is going to secure that water."
The other tricky proposition is how to fund the public roads that tie the village centers together. What's tricky about it is getting developers to pool resources to build roads that aren't exclusively for their residents to use.
Planners think that one way to do it would be to get the county to designate Pasadena Hills as a special taxing district and use property tax revenue growth to pay off the bonds that would pay for the roads.
As these issues get worked out, the plan's next public airing is before the county's top staff planners on June 21.