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Water restrictions eased for owners of new lawns

New Port Richey officials allow daily watering for 30 days after planting, responding to sod industry pleas.

By JENNIFER GOLDBLATT

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 3, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- New Port Richey residents with new lawns now will be able to water once each day in the first 30 days that the lawns are planted.

City Council members on Tuesday night revised the water restrictions they had adopted two weeks ago, which limited new lawn watering to once a week during the first 30 days. The council adopted the restrictions in response to an emergency order from the Southwest Florida Water Management District to its member governments to curtail non-essential uses of water and reduce water use by 5 percent. Before the emergency order, residents with new lawns could water each day between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Now, those with new lawns can water every day, but must do so in just one of those designated time periods, not both.

Council members voted 4-1 in favor of the new change Tuesday night in response to complaints from area businessmen in the sod industry, who said that their business had suffered dramatically as a result of the restrictions.

In other council business: The council approved the rezoning of an 8-acre property south of Green Key Road, a half-mile west of U.S. 19, to allow for the development of townhouses. The land is vacant and zoned for unattached, single-family houses.

A Palm Harbor-based group called Altair 5 LLC wants to build a 40-unit townhouse development on the land and had asked for rezoning to allow that.

The City Council also accepted a $349,000 offer from New Port Richey Community Hospital to buy a city-owned property at the corner of Marine Parkway and Grand Boulevard. The hospital plans to use the property for parking. The council added a condition to the offer that the hospital extend the lease of the Red Apple School for at least one year, so construction on the parking lot could not start until then. Red Apple is a non-profit school for the mentally challenged that has occupied a building on the city-owned land for six years.

The council also voted to readvertise for bids for a $1.5-million street-improvement project. There was a mistake in the original bidding information.

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