Large Mixed-use Development at S.R. 54 and Madison Unveiled
Plans spurs concerns about storm water flooding
There was no shortage of people eager to ask questions as a 216-acre proposed development at S.R. 54 and Madison Street was unveiled last week. Residents of the southwestern part of Pasco County, where storm water flooding is a frequent problem, packed the informal introductory session at CARES Elfers Center to share their concerns, particularly about drainage and traffic flow.
DCH Groves LLC and Lennar Homes Inc. submitted a master planned development proposal to Pasco County, Tampa-based land-use attorney Clarke Hobby explained. The county will hold public hearings later. The proposed development at S.R. 54, known as Harvey Madison 54, includes residential, retail, office, recreation and conservation areas, developers and planners said.
Traffic already snarls near Anclote Elementary School during busy times of the day, several people said. The school at 3610 Madison St. is on the southwestern edge of the proposed development. Pasco’s long-range redevelopment plan for the West Pasco area, called the Harbors, mentions the site at S.R. 54 and Madison Street, Hobby said. “We want to have a good, walkable community,” Hobby told the crowd. All parcels along the Anclote River, which is prone to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall, will be within conservation areas, he said.
“All our development will be way back up on the higher end of the property,” Hobby said, “so as not to be in the floodplain or create any flooding problems. We’re very much aware of the flooding that has occurred on the south side of the river. We don’t want to exacerbate that or be a part of that in any way.”
An unidentified man asked, “Well, where do you think the water is going to go?”
All water will be retained on site, Hobby said, a statement met with moans and groans from audience. A resident, Chuck Papworth, disputed the drainage plan can handle the load. In comments before the meeting, he said he has watched floodwater levels in the area get higher about each year since 1979, menacing his home in the Veterans Village area.
“The county is keen to have some access to the river from the site,” Hobby continued. A park is possible along the southern end. “We are preserving most of the planned uses on the S.R. 54 corridor,” Hobby noted. Residents might be able to walk to work from the single-family detached homes in the Lennar development. Hobby said home prices might range from $175,000 to $300,000. Developers made some changes after quizzing several association officials the past few months, Hobby observed. Access off Madison Street would align with Mockingbird Drive, he said, and a right-turn lane would be added at the developer’s cost. The new intersection at Madison and Mockingbird will not become a four-way stop, Kelly Miller, Colonial Hills Civic Association president, was told.
“I think we might want to really revisit that again,” Miller said. She believes more traffic counts are advised for peak times. The Colonial Hills association at this point favors the Harvey Madison development at 54 , Miller said in an interview after the group meeting. However, Colonial Hills leaders still advocate for a four-way stop at Madison Street and Mockingbird Drive. Miller also questions if developers understand heavy traffic to and from Anclote Elementary before and after classes. “It’s a residential development that I think will just improve our neighborhood,” Miller said. “We’ve been working so hard to bring our neighborhood out of blight. When you have new construction … I think it’s a good thing” to boost the entire area and raise Colonial Homes property values.
Papworth expressed irritation that the meeting broke up into small groups. “This meeting was a waste of time,” Papworth said. “It was a typical, political move where they talk for about five minutes and then they divide us up. When you divide a crowd, it becomes powerless.”
Developers mentioned that the plans are also available for public inspection during weekday hours at the Pasco Zoning and Intake Department in room S-230 at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey. People can ask for the Harvey Madison 54 project, (RZ 7241/CPAL 17-04).
Source: Large Mixed-use Development at S.R. 54 and Madison Unveiled – Carl Orth Suncoast News assistant editor Apr 12, 2017
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