AT A TURTLES PACE SUNWEST HARBORTOWNE
CONTINUES IT'S MOVE AHEAD!
Sorry everyone about being so slow with the progress going on in Sunwest Harbortowne. If you've been past the mines lately (espectially on Memorial Day Weekend) you may have noticed the signs that were trouting this new (in the future) developement.
Since I had to go on a listing appointment out to Aripeaka I decided that I too would just drive by to take a look. There were concession stands on the lake and a ski jump and boats and lots of people!!! I of course wanted to stop and interview all these people to see what their thoughts were and what was going on but unfortunately my time frame would only allow me a quick view....but what I saw was beautiful and I can only imagine how this will look once everything is in.
The only bad part to my trip down Old Dixie road is that people still continue to use this as their personal dumping ground. This shows such disrespect to our land, wheather you may be for or against this project. I ask, if you see anyone dumping along this area please take a license number and report it to our local sheriff's department.
But for me personally, I can't wait to take my grandchildren as I know this is going to be a destination for me...and I'm sure many, many other people.
So, here's the latest article that hit the Tampa Tribune...
Planning agency approves Pasco resort plans
By | The Tampa Tribune
Published: May 27, 2009 Updated: May 27, 2009 - 6:04 PM
The developers of the former SunWest Mine in northwest Pasco County won one more approval from county commissioners today, despite the objections of residents of nearby Aripeka.
County commissioners, sitting as the Local Planning Agency, approved plans for SunWest Harbortowne, a proposed resort project that would take advantage of the lake created by years of limerock mining a short distance from the Gulf of Mexico.
The proposal must pass a review by the state's Department of Community Affairs before commissioners can finalize their deal with SunWest's developers.
The developers want the county to revise its comprehensive plan so they can transform their 1,076-acre site from a mix of industrial and high-density residential land into a resort.
The developers have proposed putting 2,500 homes, an 18-hole golf course, as many as 500 hotel rooms and 300,000 square feet of office and retail space on the property, at the southwest corner of U.S. 19 and Aripeka Road.
The project has stirred controversy among Aripeka residents and environmentalists because the property is at the southernmost end of black bear habitat stretching north to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Citrus County. Environmentalists fear the project will interfere with the bears as they move back and forth through their territory.
The development proposal comes with a deal with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to swap 90 acres of upland near U.S. 19 and Aripeka Road for more than 1,200 acres of coastal wetland along the Gulf of Mexico.
Water district officials supported the swap because the 90-acre site would have become difficult to manage as it became surrounded by development. The swap depends on SunWest officials winning approval for their development plan.
Thursday Dec 1. 2011 By Lee Logan
NEW PORT RICHEY — County commissioners embraced plans Wednesday for a wakeboard park at the old SunWest mine site in Aripeka and a multifield youth sports complex in the middle Wesley Chapel's Wiregrass development.
Now it's time to work out the details.
Both parks would be privately operated, with a mix of private and public funding to build the facilities. Among the considerations are the legal restrictions of using $11.6 million in hotel tax money set aside for creating tourist destinations.
"It's not a slam dunk yet," said Commissioner Ann Hildebrand. "There's still a lot of stuff to work out, and that's stuff with a capital 'S.'"
• • •
Commissioners balked at using tourist money for the $1.5 million wakeboard park, largely because roughly three-quarters of the visitors would be day-trippers from Pasco or Hernando County.
Plans call for two cable courses to pull up to 10 wakeboarders at a time through a series of jumps and rails. Other activities include beach volleyball, disc golf, a rope climbing course, an inflatable water playground and ziplines.
"We understand that a lot of people are not wanting to wake-board or water-ski or knee-board," said Patrick Panakos, president of the Wake Park Project, which would build and operate the park. "That's why we're trying to provide all these amenities."
A one-hour wakeboarding pass would cost $23, or riders could buy a daylong pass for $38. Full-year passes would run $600.
The inflatable playground would cost $10 and the climbing course would cost between $12 and $20 for an hourlong ticket. The other activities would be free.
Commissioner Jack Mariano, a major supporter of the plans, noted that most other parks only have one cable system, not two. And none are located right on the Gulf of Mexico like SunWest.
"It's going to create excitement because we're going to have the best park in the world," he said.
Panakos said he would pay for most of the infrastructure for a total cost of $1.1 million. The county owns the land and the lake. He also asked the county to pay $385,000 for the second wakeboard cable system.
After the meeting, Panakos said he would work with county officials on a bid that allows him to lease the land for at least 15 years. He praised the site as "gorgeous" and a "no-brainer" for the project, which he said could be built within nine months to two years once commissioners approve a contract.
Besides impact fees, the county also has $2.5 million from a settlement agreement that can be used to construct man-made beaches on the lake.
May 17, 2011 (St. Pete Times Article) TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet gave the go-ahead Tuesday for developers to dig an 85-foot wide boat channel through more than 27 acres of sea grass in northwest Pasco County.
The vote gives the county and SunWest Harbourtowne builders the land rights to dredge the waterway near the planned 2,500-home development. The 4-mile channel would be at a future county park equipped with seven boat ramps and 250 boat parking spaces.
The project still needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Earlier this month, the National Marine Fisheries Services of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommended the corps deny the permit.
But the state's top environmental officer pushed Scott and the Cabinet to approve the permit.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard said the proposal exceeded state requirements for environmental mitigation and improved public access with more boat ramps.
"We've put this in four different (construction) phases, because the public benefits need to stay ahead of the game," Vinyard said.
Julie Brashears Wraithmell of the Florida Audubon told Scott and the Cabinet that she was unaware of the Cabinet ever approving a permit that required more than 1 acre of sea grass mitigation.
"This is not just a local issue," Wraithmell said. "This application is unprecedented in the state's history."
Michele Baker, Pasco's assistant county administrator, agreed it was an extraordinary request. But she urged Scott and the Cabinet to focus on the county plans to enhance or create 29 acres of sea grass and another 53 acres of saltwater marsh, mangrove swamp and other shallow coastal wetlands known as subtidal habitat.
"It's also unprecedented in terms of the mitigation," Baker said.
The most pointed questions about the request for a submerged lands lease came from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Putnam, Attorney General Pam Bondi and state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater comprise the Florida Cabinet.
Putnam questioned the width of the channel, saying it would be big enough to accommodate boats that cost $250,000.
"You're designing it for some pretty big boats for in-shore fishing," he said. "I don't think that's the common, trailer-able boats you're going to be finding at your ramps."
After the meeting, Putnam said he voted for the project because it added public access to the water while reclaiming an inactive limerock mine.
"It strikes me that they could have saved themselves some heartburn with a more narrow channel," Putnam said.
"They've over-engineered a channel for basically the largest recreational vessels that people would be able to trailer," he said. "They could have reduced their impact."
But Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano trumpeted the project as a driver for the local and state economy.
"This project is good for Pasco County, it's good for the state of Florida, it's good for the country," Mariano said. "People worldwide are going to look at the state, look at this area and come in here."
Mariano predicted the project would receive approval from the Army Corps.
But a recent letter from Miles Croom, assistant regional administration for the NOAA, raised questions about the "lack of detail" in the county's mitigation plan.
Croom wrote that the mitigation plan was "inadequate and does not provide provisions necessary to preserve ecosystem services in a timely enough manner to offset the anticipated impacts."
Times staff writer Craig Pittman contributed to this story. Michael C. Bender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelCBender.
[Last modified: May 17, 2011 08:33 PM]
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Copyright 2011 St. Petersburg Times
Because as we go through these lag times of information for Sun West Harbortowne, I will try and keep you updated as much as possible on the current events.
From what I understand, it appears that SunWest is almost through all the Planning Process. Next will be Permitting. I also was informed last night that you may start seeing some action near the golf course in the next few weeks.
Everyone is looking forward to this project as it continues to be a Hot Topic in the area. People are already looking forward to purchasing brand new units in SunWest upon the completeion of the first phase.
Although in it's infancy, if you do a drive by you can see it taking shape. The water is absolutely beautiful and makes you feel like your in some tropic resort down south...perhaps the Keys!!!
Even though this is just my opinion, I expect when this is done to be a destination that many people will be wanting to visit, thus putting Pasco on the map and SunWest Harbortowne.
I'll do my best to keep you informed as we continue to grow.
IS GOT JOBS? JUST A SLOGAN?
AS SUNWEST HARBOURTOWNE GETS
FINAL APPROVAL BY PASCO COMMISSION
Yesterday I had the opportunity to set in on the County Commissions meeting about SunWest Harbourtowne. Although I had been there several times before, I understood this was the final stage for approval for this waterfront, first-class community.
But never did I expect t to see the amount of men at women that walked into the County Commission Meeting wearing white T-Shirts with big bold red words that said “Got Jobs”? I definitely think they got the point across!
Pasco County sits at almost 14% unemployment Rate with Hernando close to 16%. Jobs in this area are needed as companies continue to fold the doors or to relocate.
SunWest is sure to bring in a tremendous amount of jobs, not only for this construction, but also for the surrounding areas future growth.
Changes made by the Pasco Commission will finally pave the way for approximately 2,500 new homes in the most north-western part of Pasco County and bring us plenty of jobs for years to come. Although, environmentalist are saying that they may fight this in court.
Being a Realtor in the Area has given me insight on this project that I normally would not have, if it had not been so close to my residence. SunWest has spoken personally to area citizens, with many behind this project.
With this being said you can just imagine the impact that this will have on Hudson and the surrounding area. Hudson has one of the areas Gulf Beaches, Hudson Beach should be a prime locations.
SunWest Harbourtowne is slated for completion by 2020. In addition to the homes, this project will include 250,000 square feet of retail space; know as Marina Village, a 250 room resort and 500 boat slips. Not to mention the Park, Marina, 18 hole Championship Golf Course and so much more!
COMING SOON: SUNWEST HARBOURTOWNE???
It's been years in the making. I can't even begin to tell you when I heard the first the "secret" about what was coming to PASCO COUNTY and espectially my community. But I can tell you this, it has been a long time coming and Pasco very much deserves the change, and chance to make itself know.
This is to be a destination, not just for Pasco county residents but for people that live anywhere close to the Central part of Florida. If SunWest HarbourTowne Gets the go ahead in the next few months you will be see an influx of vehicles, jobs, and progress. Something that we are all desperately in need of right now.
With that being said, let me tell you a little about the Community and the Water where this is located. SunWest Mines (as it is has been called) has been a mining area for more than 50 years. Located in the most North-Western parts of Pasco County from U.S. 19 to beyond Old Dixie Highway (a dirt road) in this vicinity. Many of the roads that we drive on today came from the Limestone mined by this company. As a result of this mining there are now 13 fresh water lakes of various sizes that are located on this property.
As you can imagine over the years and the mining that was done on this property it obviously reshaped the natural enviroment including the 13 lakes and their size. Realizing this Sunwest Harbortowne began working on a plan that woud blend the present physical features with the site's resourses to create a unique water front community.
Plans for SunWest Harbourtowne will include a:
* Hotel, with a Conference Center and Health Spa
* Marina Villiage Shopping Center
* Marina for your boat
* Championship Golf Course
* Hotel with approximately 2500 units
* A County Park, on the fresh water lake with a beach
* Conservation Area
* Deep Water boat access
* Walking Trails
* Picnic Area & Shelters
* Manatee Observation Tower
* Parking for 250 boat trailers and cars
Please remember that many of these are proposed and are still pending but I am hoping that Pasco County will continue to move forward on this Project, unlike the project that was slated for downtown New Port Richey where still shells of buildings still stand.
On a personal note to all of this, we all know what opinions are made of, and mine is just that. Because I live so close to this area I have had a chance to see the actual changes going on. There are many people that do not want this area to change because they are worried about the effect that it would have on our black bear.
SunWest Harbourtowne can develop and still protect the quality of our wildlife. (This includes protecting and making space for wildlife). SunWest HarbourTowne has taken everything into consideration. They have already taken steps to reassure that the eagles nests that are currently in place, will stay in place, and that this is done correctly and not hasardly.
They are striving to assure that we can live in harmony with our wildlife and at the same time preserve our lands for future generations while giving them an opportunity to enjoy the area and wildlife that lives there.
With that being said, there is only one more comment that I personally would like to make and that is:
WAY TO GO PASCO!!!