Cardinal Street aerial.jpg

Suncoast Parkway 2 construction is pictured above as the new toll road intersects with West Cardinal Street in Homosassa.

Whether you’re for it or against it, the Suncoast Parkway is going right through Citrus County, and county officials say now’s the time to plan for its impact.

The road to preparation starts Tuesday when county commissioners will hold a public workshop examining the effects of and opportunities arising from the toll road, which will be extended from U.S. 98 to State Road 44 and ultimately further.

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) has finished a $40,000 study which identifies and evaluates existing and proposed alternative land uses and development patterns at and near the forthcoming interchanges at U.S. 98, West Cardinal Street and State Road 44. The council will present its findings at the workshop.

The study anticipates growth in the next 30 years. The objective is to protect environmental resources along those interchanges. Planners are also considering a potential interchange somewhere along C.R. 486.

The county’s new economic development website will also be unveiled at the workshop.

The workshop will begin at  9:30 a.m. at the Citrus County Courthouse, 110 North Apopka Avenue, Inverness.

The toll road’s extension to State Road 44 is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.

County Commission Jeff Kinnard said the board has three options: Do nothing and let the intersections “develop organically”; provide guidance for how they should develop; or pursue county-initiated rezoning — essentially an overlay district targeted to affected areas.

“An overlay, or county-initiated rezoning is very, very proactive and there would be a lot of pushback from property owners,” Kinnard said.

Kinnard said the board has the luxury of looking at the pros and cons of how development occurred in Hernando County when the Suncoast Parkway was expanded from the Veterans Expressway in Pasco County to U.S. 98.

Here is what the TBRPC study anticipates happening around the Cardinal Street and State Road 44 interchanges:

Cardinal Street interchange: There are a few industrial land uses and vacant commercial properties to the south of this intersection.

Without future land-use changes, the interchange area will be developed primarily with single-family homes and mobile homes. Because of the reliance on wells and septic tanks, development will likely be spotty.

“With more residential development than commercial development, the Cardinal Street interchange’s mix of land uses will contribute to a negative fiscal impact to the county,” the report states.

Instead, the report recommends a greater mix of residential and commercial uses.

State Road 44: Land-use changes and rezoning along this corridor will support the growth of the county’s target industries, including professional and service-oriented offices, the report states.

“Along with the existing commercial zone along S.R. 44, existing county design guidelines can buffer residential uses from industrial uses,” the report said.

The report said more discussion about rezoning land for more industrial uses near this interchange should occur.

County Road 486: “To the north of C.R. 486 lies a single-family subdivision with mostly vacant lots,” the report said.

By 2050, most or all of that vacant property should be developed. Commercial development should be limited.

“For residents seeking a rural lifestyle, C.R. 486 without land use changes will maintain that rural character,” the report said.

While no official alignment has been agreed on, a likely route may follow the Duke Energy right of way, ending at C.R. 486 and continuing north. Future residential development could occur by connections to county sewer and water. But under existing land use restrictions, commercial development is limited.

“However, there is a strip of land to the east of the Duke Energy right of way that could be re-designated for light industrial uses in the future,” the report said.

The entire report, and the commission agenda, are available at https://bit.ly/2KdoqWp.

Unlimited digital access offer

To continue with unlimited access to Chronicle Online after this limited time trial click the button below. Offer expires September 30, 2019.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

(4) comments

DavidWalls

Looking at the PDF download, I vote we stick with the "Trend Growth Scenario"

CitrusCo Citizen

Highway = urban sprawl, water shortages, pollution of rivers and coastlines,loss of wildlife habitat, air pollution, noise pollution, traffic contestion, more crime, higher property taxes, and higher taxes to support the Highway. Death of the Nature Coast by a thousand cuts.

RobertRoscow

Well put. Obviously the BOCC has not really any knowledge of planning and the PD&E process. This was all to be done before not after the road is built. They supposed the destruction of a key part of the Etna town that was listed on the National Register. Former commissioner Damato said it was not historic. You can’t put a non-historic site on the National Register. The area around Cardinal has a huge population of gopher tortoises whose burrows are used by over 300 species including the endangered eastern Indigo snake. I am trying to find out now from the FWC if the impenetrable fencing being used where the road passes by or through state forest conservation lands. Tpk made a big to do about protecting the many threatened species along the entire road. Apparently that commitment has gone I’m asking. The BOCC has not even realized this is a problem. My understanding is that regular chain link fence will be used where the road goes through private lands. I guess it is assumed that Indigos and juvenile gophers in these areas are able to differentiate between private and conservatism lands. Maybe they are a subspecies with GIS systems! If this proves to be the case then you will have a “ 6 mile kill zone” for all sorts of species. The chain link is totally useless! Only an idiot would see it as a barrier. Also there are only 3 “oversized wildlife culverts across the road in 6 miles. Maybe we can provide bus service. “Oversized” also means 2 foot diameter. Wow!!! The big problem is that the road is planned for 8 lanes with tge additional 4 lanes in the median. This means there will be no way to daylight the tubes that frankly I believe are actually drainage pipes renamed wildlife culverts. The end result if the S.C. is extended to Georgia is that these will be 400 foot long pitch black dark tubes. Coach roaches will love them!! So again as the writer commented the Nature Coast will be the sprawl coast. It’s time people started studying what’s really going on. Unfortunately there is frankly little interest in sustainable planning in the county and more enclaves of NIMBYISM!!!

CitrusCo Citizen

Yes, it is now time to rebrand the Nature Coast as the Urban Sprawl Coast (or the Unnatural Coast) Let's demand this new "brand" from the BOCC of Citrus County and neighboring counties.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.