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Developers propose 1,300 new homes

Two subdivisions are planned near Wesley Chapel High School and Weightman Middle School.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2000


WESLEY CHAPEL -- Two new housing developments totalling more than 1,300 homes are planned for Wesley Chapel between Boyette and Curley roads.

The first subdivision, plans for which show 760 houses and townhomes around six lakes, would occupy 328 acres northwest of Curley and Wells roads.

The property owner is Lykes Development Corp., a division of the company best known for making orange juice. Lykes, which runs a dirt mine on part of the land, submitted its rezoning application to the county last week.

Less far along are plans for Chapel Pines subdivision, a proposed 590 houses on 204 acres southwest of Curley and Wells roads.

The developer, Byrd Corp. of Clearwater, contracted to buy the land this month, but the deal isn't expected to close until February.

Both properties are within a half-mile of Wesley Chapel High School and Weightman Middle School. In the case of the Lykes land, school property bumps against the future housing development.

The proximity of the schools sparked interest in a section of Wesley Chapel little touched by developers, said Tim Hayes, a Land O'Lakes attorney specializing in real estate.

"I think what's really making it develop is the county water and sewer lines that go up to the high school and middle school," Hayes said. "Without water and sewer, you're limited to 3/4-acre and 1-acre home sites."

Lykes and Byrd aren't the only developers poking around the mostly rural landscape, dotted with dirt mines, between Boyette and Curley roads.

Safety Harbor Capital Corp. has submitted plans to build 790 homes on a former tree farm northeast of the Lykes land.

Safety Harbor originally planned to mine dirt on the property, but withdrew the proposal after hundreds of complaints from neighbors.

Karla Owens, the attorney representing Safety Harbor, said her clients intend to trim the number of houses to about 170, larger lots being the norm in the neighborhood.

Lykes plans to develop its land in four phases. Lakes, some created from reclaimed burrow pits, would take up about a quarter of the property.

Plans are sketchier for the Byrd project. The developer has yet to formally file a rezoning request with Pasco.

Neither developer could be reached for comment Tuesday.

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