Damaged roads in some Pasco County developments will remain unrepaired after the County Commission on Tuesday continued several board-initiated road projects amid objections from residents.
County Public Works Director Branford Adumuah presented several items regarding the road projects as the meeting stretched into the late afternoon.
The problem is that the Road Paving Assessment program lets the county charge homeowners who live along a street a special assessment to pave the road, unlike other Tampa Bay area governments. Furious residents railed against the assessment, and one resident said the commissioners have no compassion for people struggling in the “COVID economy” to keep their jobs and homes.
Just one project, a plan to pave Lake Como Drive, managed to pass on a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Mike Moore dissenting. Larry Motto of Lutz, the only resident in favor of the plan, said his vehicles’ shocks were getting damaged from the condition of the road.
On the other hand, Vicki King said a paving project would increase the speed of vehicles driving through the community and have a negative effect on safety.
“It definitely affects your property value when your road looks like heck,” said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, who said she often is contacted by people who want roads repaired. “We need to do a workshop on opportunities to figure out the best way to fix our roads. This is a very painful process. The county will be better off for it if we modernize the procedures.”
A $1.4 million plan to repair the road in Lakewood Villas also triggered strong opposition.
Adumuah said that after a 2017 storm, the road was damaged and repaired through a process called “chip-sealing,” which is a temporary fix that only lasts a few years, he said. Chip-sealing has also been done to other roads, he added.
Resident Sallyeanne Dawson said the problem is that the development’s roads flood and threaten people’s homes, and with the homes on a septic system but a possible sewer connection coming, any road project might have to be dug up to install the sewer connection.
“I don’t believe roads are in that bad condition,” said Chloeann Alexander. “Until we get sewers, it’s going to have to be torn up again. It seems like you’ve got the cart before the horse.”
Starkey said her understanding is that the neighborhood is about to go into the New Port Richey water system, and maybe the county shouldn’t dig up the roads.
Michael J. Carbella, the assistant county administrator, said they have delayed physical work for water line upgrades and can coordinate with the city of New Port Richey on its projects.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to continue the item to May 15.
Motions to continue were passed for road projects in Aristida, Cranes Roost and Lake Worrell Acres.
In other news
• Commissioners voted 5-0 to continue a proposed comprehensive plan amendment to change the zoning of a piece of property at State Road 54 and Meadowbrook Drive from residential to commercial amid strong and vocal protests from community members who said they are worried that a gas station/car wash might be located on the property near their homes, causing pollution, increased traffic and a loss of property value.
• Starkey showed photos of code violations in the Holiday area, and said she wanted to see more enforcement of the rules.
• Commissioners heard an update on the Key Vista Shoreline Stabilization Project and a presentation on the 2021 work program of the Commission on the Status of Women.
• County Clerk Nikki Alvarez-Sowles advised commissioners that residents need to be aware of a new traffic ticket scam that she has heard about in which attackers are emailing individuals and claiming proof of a traffic violation. “If you click on it, it will steal all your information,” she said. “It’s a very vicious scam. Our office does not send out emails related to traffic infractions.”
• Michael Northrup was honored for receiving the 2021 National Care and Control Association Animal Control Officer of the Year Award.
• Gina Botticello was honored for receiving the 2021 National Care and Control Association Animal Welfare Professional of the Year Award.
The next meeting of the Pasco County Commission will be a hybrid virtual meeting April 7.