Designing a better Pasco County
As Pasco County’s rampant growth continues, the Pasco County Commission has called for changes to the land use code that would address cosmetic issues.
They have been discussing the subject, intermittently, for months.
Commission Chairman Ron Oakley put it this way in a recent meeting: âWe have to be very careful about what we allow our developers to do – make sure they (do) the right thing. thing for Pasco County.
Oakley has repeatedly expressed concerns about neighborhoods made up of houses on 40 lots, noting that there was little room for landscaping.
âWe have lived in rural areas for many, many years,â Oakley said. “We really don’t want to destroy the nature of what we have in Pasco County, and yet we want to grow and create jobs for our citizens, and do the right thing for our citizens.”
Commissioner Kathryn Starkey has insisted that more attention be paid to design details, as the county’s building boom continues.
âIf you drive around and find a 40-foot front-loading street, it’s just a driveway, garage, and door.
âIf you drive down a street where they’re loaded in the back over 40 feet, it’s a porch and grass, and that’s very nice.
âYou can see it at Starkey Ranch, you can see it Longleaf, you can see it in Asturias. In Bexley, I know, you see it,â she said.
âI’m not against 40-foot pitches. I’m opposed to 40ft front load lots and only 40ft, and the house is cookie-cutter and there’s no architectural feature on it, âStarkey said.
âThis is a problem that I think needs to be resolved quickly. I don’t want 10,000 homes approved before we fix this, âStarkey told colleagues at a board session.
âI understand that our development community needs to understand what we’re looking for.
âWhen I met developers, I let them know that I was loath to approve a development that was only for the 40s (40ft lots).
âI need better landscaping in front of the houses. I need a mixture of 40, 50, 60 (a lot). I need better architectural details on the sides and front. I need more than 40ft loaded in the back.
âI want to be fair to the development community. They have to understand what the rules are or when someone is buying land (what to expect), âStarkey said.
Commissioner Jack Mariano agreed: âWe don’t want to build slums for the future. You know density is sometimes overestimated – how good it can be. If the lots are a little bigger, it makes it more comfortable.
âIt’s a conversation worthy of being raised at an upcoming meeting,â said Mariano.
County administrator Dan Biles told the county administration board that planning staff have drafted some potential terms that could be added to planned unit developments to address concerns raised by commissioners – regarding small lots, lack of landscaping on the front, parking and other issues.
Nectarios Pittos, director of planning and development for the county, meets individually with the commissioners to discuss the issues.
Biles noted, âYou focused on these little single family, 40 foot lots, but we also thought about what that looks like from a townhouse perspective. You have to think about these two discussions. Your front-loading townhouse, you have the same kinds of issues you have with the small 40ft lots.
Starkey told his colleagues: âThe town of Zephyrhills and Dade City needs certain architectural details, and we don’t. And, so, we get … windows, a door, and a roof.
Pittos said, when the aisles are loaded in the back, âyou can talk about windows: how many windows you want to see. Where to place the door – keep it on the front of the house, rather than the side of the house. A porch. “
Starkey said “there can be an assortment of architectural details” that can be added, which are not expensive.
âWe don’t want to see what we get. We want to see better, âStarkey said.
As the county board considers changes to the land use code, Jennifer Motsinger, executive vice president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association, encourages the board to consider updates that can streamline the process development review.
In an interview with The Laker / Lutz News, Motsinger said the cost of a home consists of four things: land, materials, local regulations and labor.
Certain regulations in the Pasco Land Use Code have hampered ongoing efforts to streamline the development review process, Motsinger said.
She also noted that there is a need to balance the desire for a particular type of aesthetic with the need for affordable housing.
âEach of the suggestions that are made (by the commissioners) can be accepted for a price. For a price, âMotsinger said.
“We have to make sure there is a balance between options for people,” she said. âWe have to be careful not to try to legislate for a particular type of buyer.
âOne of the reasons you would make a neighborhood with only 40 lots (40 feet) is to get this product more affordable,â Motsinger said.
She also addressed the issue of requiring homes with 40-foot lots to be reloaded.
âThis trend is not in great demand. Because, guess what? Kids want a backyard to play in, âshe said.
She said the construction industry will pay close attention to the proposed changes and want to influence them.
âWe need to make sure that our local government doesn’t have too much power to say how we live in our homes and what our homes look like,â Motsinger said.
Posted on 01 December 2021