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Developer planning 1,599-home project

US Homes submits a proposal to build a subdivision on 1,188 acres north of State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2000


LAND O'LAKES -- The siren song of the Suncoast Parkway has helped lure another housing developer to central Pasco County.

US Homes Corp. has submitted plans to build a 1,599-home subdivision on the 1,188-acre LeDantec property north of State Road 54 in Land O'Lakes.

On the map, the LeDantec subdivision is nearly a mirror image of Oakstead, the 1,200-home development about to break ground on an adjoining 841 acres.

Both subdivisions have timed their arrival to the January opening of the parkway, the three-county toll road that promises an easy commute between central Pasco and Tampa.

Additionally, US Homes envisions a new north-south thoroughfare, called Sunlake Boulevard, to serve LeDantec and Oakstead.

Sunlake Boulevard currently starts at Dale Mabry Highway and ends in northern Hillsborough County at a ranch owned by Peter and Nick Geraci.

The Geracis have suggested building Long Lake Ranch, a massive commercial and housing development, south of the LeDantec property across SR 54. Sunlake Boulevard would serve the Geraci project as well.

But the LeDantec subdivision, as now configured, probably won't roll forward without a fight.

US Homes insists the land, rezoned in January 1988 to accommodate a master-planned unit development, can break ground as soon as the county approves construction plans.

County planners disagree. They want U.S. Homes to reapply to rezone the land under the stricter guidelines of the county's comprehensive land use plan, adopted after January 1988.

Citing the insufficiency of the old zoning, the county's development review division rejected preliminary site plans for LeDantec. A meeting this month between US Homes and county attorney Robert Sumner failed to resolve the differences.

Nevertheless, developer's blueprints show a tightly coiled subdivision built around the wetlands common to central Pasco. About half the land is high and dry enough to hold homes.

US Homes estimates that about 3,600 people will live in the 1,599 homes, including 345 school-age children. Some are expected to attend the new elementary school promised by Oakstead developers.

Amenities would include a recreation center, a storage center for recreational vehicles and an artificial lake.

US Homes contracted to buy the land in September 1998 from the descendents of Alexis LeDantec. The sale closing depends upon the county okaying the development.

Company representatives in Clearwater didn't immediately return calls from the Times.

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