Pasco zoning dispute roils countywide commission race

By William March. Tampa Bay Times. Original date 07/17/2021.

An angry dispute over a proposed apartment complex near West Pasco’s Tanglewood neighborhood has further stirred up what already looked like a competitive race for a countywide commissioner’s seat.

The episode will add a chapter to the rapidly developing county’s debate over growth versus. sprawl, and possibly an issue to the campaign.

Tanglewood residents vehemently objected last month to a proposed change in the county’s comprehensive growth plan that could allow the 230-unit complex with retail space at Tanglewood Drive and Ridge Road. They said it’s incompatible with their large-lot, semi-rural area.

But commissioners voted 3-2 to take the first step toward the plan change. Christina Fitzpatrick, who already faces a tough Republican primary challenge from Gary Bradford for re-election, was the motion sponsor and one of the three favorable votes.

Since the vote, a third GOP candidate, Tanglewood resident Shannon Wittwer, has entered the race, saying she was motivated by the dispute.

Bradford said he would have voted against the plan change, although, “I don’t want to give the impression I’m not pro-business or pro-development. But it has to be smart growth. We don’t want Pasco to look like Hillsborough or Pinellas.”

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