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Opponents of Apartment Complex Plan Next Meeting

Potential neighbors in surrounding single-family subdivisions don't want to see the multi-story rental units on Amazon Drive.

Opponents of Apartment Complex Plan Next Meeting

Opponents of an apartment complex proposed for a 40-acre site surrounded by a sea of single-family homes have set a meeting for Aug. 30 to rally people to their cause and raise money for an expected legal challenge to the project.

A number of residents in subdivisions near Amazon Drive where the complex would be built object to , Clearwater-based Scherer Development LLC, which has submitted site plans to Pasco County calling for 102 units in six, two-story buildings.

The proposed site for the Oaks Apartments at Riverside Village is east of Little Road and slightly outside New Port Richey city limits. The property is zoned for multi-family use, though it’s amid a number of subdivisions of primarily single-family homes such as Southern Oaks, Riverside Village and Heritage Lakes.

Opponents have set a meeting at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 8320 Old County Road 54 in New Port Richey that starts at 6 p.m., said Bob Rock, a trustee and former president of We Are 5333 Strong, the organization formed to combat the project.

The group got its name from the number of voters affected by the apartments, Rock said.

The meeting will provide the latest information but is also intended to raise money for future opposition and appeals of the project. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Because the land has the proper zoning, if the developer meets the county’s requirements, approval is certain from Pasco County’s Zoning and Development Department staff.

“If he dots all his i’s and crosses all his t’s, they have to approve it,” Rock said.

But the group expects to appeal any decision approving the project. The first appeal would go to the county’s Development Review Committee. An appeal from that decision would go to the county commission.

Rock said the group’s ultimate goal would be to halt all construction and leave the 41 acres empty, though that isn’t likely to happen.

“We’d like nothing there at all, but that’s unrealistic. We know that isn’t going to happen,” he said.

Instead, the organization would like the developer to return to plans for condominiums in two-story buildings that were approved in 2007, Rock said. “We’d much rather see owner-occupied units,” he said.

In 2011, the developer submitted plans for 285 apartment units but the county ordered the density trimmed because wetlands reduced the site’s usable acreage by about 14 acres. That left a density of 244 units.

The developer’s site plan submitted in July calls for 102 apartments in six buildings, plus a clubhouse and seven garages. The maximum allowable building height is three stories, the plans say.

The 102 units and accompanying buildings would take up about 15 acres with the rest of the land marked for future development, according to the plan.

What do you think about the project? Let us know in the comments section.

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