INTRO: Now that the “Penny For Pasco� has passed and new money will be coming in from the new tax, Dade City has been emboldened enough to try and annex hundreds of acres just outside the city. One such parcel of four hundred and ten acres has become the bone of contention. Mark Antokas has the story.

Script: Picture this: Rolling hills at an elevation of more than four hundred feet above sea level covered with pasture and trees, a few wetlands, deer and raccoon and nesting bald eagles. Could be North Carolina. But no, it’s Northeastern Pasco county, around Dade City, and many residents are up in arms about keeping it very rural. Growth in Pasco County, one of the fastest growth areas in the Bay area, according to the St. Pete Times, is inevitable. A group of more than three hundred people gathered after word of mouth spread that the Dade City council would meet last night to discuss annexing Charlie Touchton’s four hundred acre parcel, across from the Pasco Hernando community college. Charlie Touchton, currently residing in Tampa, grew up in Dade City, his family has been living here for over one hundred years. He says Dade City means a lot to him. Roll Tape:

Touchton maintains that while he is not the developer, he believes a balance of low density, multi-acre homesites and increased density homes and apartments nearer to the highway would work for Dade City. Roll Tape:

Lorrie Collins, a PHD candidate in Archeology with USF, has in the past researched parcels of land on Ruffing Road, close to the Touchton property. Roll Tape:

Touchton was “surprised", and "disappointed� that so many people showed up at the meeting to offer dissent and he had this to say about growth. Roll Tape:

Lorrie Collins onced did research with a state agency which looked into the areas housing developments and studied their regional impacts. She is alarmed at the pattern of Planned Unit Developments (PUD’S) in the Bay Area and says that, “Once that precedence (PUD’S) has been set, it is just a matter of time until the whole area succumbs to that disease� Roll Tape:

Again Charlie Touchton. Roll Tape:

Ken, a rancher is against the annexation, he lives just north of the Touchton Property and the Pasco Hernando Community College. Roll Tape:

And one concerned property owner says “it’s all about the money�. Roll Tape:

Charlie Touchton on Dade City’s growth: Roll Tape:

Closing: The hearings on Dade City’s annexation proposal have been postponed. The City has only one more opportunity in 2004 to petition the state for changing the comprehensive growth plan, and they want to put all of their eggs in one basket, which will encompass potentially over seven hundred acres in annexation. For the moment, the surrounding property owners opposed to the plan will have to wait forty-five to ninety days to have their say. This is Mark Antokas, for WMNF Radio News.

comments powered by Disqus