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Sign up to have a say in the county's growth

Tuesday is the deadline for applications to join the committee that will work on Pasco's blueprint for future development.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 4, 2001


Want to sit on the committee that will help shape the future face of Pasco County? You have less than a week to apply.

The county has set a deadline of Tuesday to accept applications for the comprehensive plan citizen's advisory committee.

Despite its dry-sounding name, the comprehensive plan is the critical document that shows what development goes where in Pasco.

Developers looking to erect housing subdivisions, office parks, factories or anything else must follow this blueprint for growth.

Sixty-one people with an interest in Pasco's growth -- or the lack of it -- have applied for the 25 positions on the committee.

County commissioners are expected to name committee members, five from each of five planning districts, in mid June.

Applicants include developers, attorneys, real estate brokers, environmentalists and neighborhood leaders.

"I would say it's pretty balanced. It's a diverse group," said Deborah Bolduc, a planner in the county's growth management office, which has been taking applications.

Pasco agreed to form the advisory committee as part of a legal settlement with environmentalists last year. The committee will recommend changes to the land use plan, often maligned as a recipe for overdevelopment, by October 2003.

A criticism of earlier committees was that over-representation by developers stifled opposition from slow-growth activists. Pasco vows to avoid that situation this time around.

At a meeting Thursday of the Development Review Committee in Dade City, county administrator John Gallagher stressed the need for citizen involvement in shaping the plan.

Neighbors near Centennial Road south of Dade City complained about approval of a 35-home subdivision. After listening to an hourlong laundry list of concerns, Gallagher told neighbors there was little he could do.

The comprehensive plan "pretty much sets what your neighborhood will look like," Gallagher said.

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