teartical3.htm    June 21, 2006        Return to Estates home page

Trilby Estates Development Approved

By Richard K Riley
June 20, 2006


On Tuesday evening, before a crowd of 35 Northeast Pasco residents and activists, the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners approved the rezoning of 342 acres to become a new subdivision called “Trilby Estates” with up to 85 homes.


The developers, represented by Attorney Clark Hobby, had proposed a development of 95 homes on the site with land set aside on each lot as “open space” and a 100-foot natural growth buffer on Powerline Road and Christian Road, adjacent to US 301.  Hobby presented the plans to the Commissioners and addressed some of the concerns that have come up in previous meetings with the County and the public.  Along with Planner King Helie, they described the features of the development, and how it will fit in with the existing zoning and land use. 


As planned, the development would have a density of one home for each 3.57 acres.  The development would have a neighborhood park in the center around a natural wetland, and the north and western edge, along existing roads, would be space for a county developed multi-use trail.  There would be two access points, one on each existing road.


Eight area residents spoke against the development or urged the Commissioners to hold the development to higher standards.  Daryl Pennington suggested that the development should contain lots of five and ten acres each, as presently allowed.  He complained that the trees on the 342 acres had been just harvested, and that the developer’s representatives used scare tactics of showing how other plans would involve twice as many homes.  Denny Mihalinec presented a stack of petitions that urged the Commissioners to not over-develop the area.  He expressed concern over what the additional homes would do to the well water level for existing residents, and urged the development to be limited to half of the proposed lots.


Richard Riley spoke, advocating the use of an existing abandoned railbed as a county maintained multi-use trail and continuing it along the east and south boundaries of the development.  Robert Pennington was concerned that there would not be enough water for 95 news homes, that the 100 foot buffer did not have enough trees on it, and that such a large development would reduce the quality of life in the area.


Other residents spoke about the problems of increased traffic, uncontrolled growth, use of common water and septic facilities, activities for new families and concerns for the existing protected and endangered wildlife in the land.


Hobby responded to the points brought up by stating that there were no centralized water or sewer utilities available in this part of the county.  He stated that the old railbed did not exist below the development, so it would not be practical to use the eastern side for a trail.  He stated that he did not mean to use scare tactics previously, but restated that under the new comp plan, more homes could be allowed to be built than under this plan.  And he said that the three and a half acre lot size, on average, was the result of negotiation with the County staff.


As the board discussed the proposal, Commissioner Ted Schrader, responsible for this area, stated that there should be more discussions about preserving the railbed and that he was concerned about the density.  He said that he had talked with the forester that planned the cuttings, and he felt that the harvesting was appropriate.  “The land looks bad now, but it will grow and look a lot better,” he stated.  Other Commissioners discussed whether there should be only 68 lots at an average of five acres each, and whether the railbed should be set aside as a trail. 


It was finally agreed and approved for the zoning change to MPUD, but with the additional condition that there be a cap of 85 ( an average of one home for each four acres) on the development.  If the developer accepts this change, further site plans will be presented to the Development Review Committee as the next step in the development of Trilby Estates.