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City retains status quo for watering

New Port Richey council members say it would be too confusing to impose the county's watering schedule on city residents.

By MATTHEW WAITE

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 8, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Tom Finn isn't so sure the confusion in New Port Richey over when to water the lawns is by not knowing or by design. But he has his suspicions.

The council member said Tuesday that he has seen people watering on the city day to water, and on what would be the county day to water, leading him to believe the "accident" isn't so accidental.

But he doesn't want to add to the confusion.

At the New Port Richey council meeting Tuesday night, Finn and the rest of the council unanimously voted down a measure that would have made the city's watering restrictions mirror the county.

Their rationale was the county's new restrictions, which use house numbers to dictate what weekday a homeowner can water, are too confusing.

"If confusion is what we're trying to avoid, things ought to stay the same," Deputy Mayor Ginny Miller said. "It's simple."

New Port Richey's watering days will stay as they are: Even numbered addresses on Tuesday, 5-9 a.m. or 7-11 p.m.; odd numbered addresses on Sunday with the same hours.

So far, only the county and Port Richey have gone to a system of watering hours where addresses that end in 0 or 1 water on Monday, 2 or 3 on Tuesday and so on. Under that system there is no watering on the weekends or between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Mayor Wendy Brenner said New Port Richey didn't have the water shortage that Hillsborough County had when it instituted the five-day water restrictions, nor did it have the production pressure crunch Pasco used to justify its change.

"We have no need to do this," she said. "Our ordinance is a good one."

In other council business Tuesday night, the council unanimously opted out of any school impact fees that the county may try to impose. The ordinance would come up for a second reading at the next council meeting.

Several council members said they didn't want to slow any redevelopment in New Port Richey, and most of the new growth in Pasco County wasn't within the city limits.

Pasco commissioners are reworking the county's school impact fee ordinance and will have public hearings on it in the next couple of months. They were set to approve a school impact fee, but the governor's veto of a bill outlawing school impact fees gave them more time to fine tune the proposed ordinance.

Brenner said she didn't want to affect any redevelopment efforts inside New Port Richey.

"We need to be cognizant of any impact fees we impose," Brenner said.

-- Matthew Waite can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.

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