WESLEY CHAPEL – The Pasco County Commission overturned its previous denial of a multi-story apartment complex at the Seven Oaks development adjacent to the Sam’s Club on State Road 56.
But not without several more hours of pointed debate about whether the development was suited for the 10.6 acre site.
An appeal has been filed against the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners to repeal the decision to rezone Seven Oaks Parcel S-19 from Commercial to vertical Mixed-Use – Multi-Family.
Stock Development’s website for Seven Oaks at Wesley Chapel describes a luxury apartment complex with the full list of amenities, from a resort-style pool to a fitness center, apartment units with top-level appointments including walk-in closets and stainless steel appliances and a gated, secure parking garage with 24-hour concierge service.
But it is not what the residents of the nearby Seven Oaks development wanted. They have argued that the apartment plan will significantly worsen traffic and pedestrian safety concerns and change the character of the front entrance to their neighborhood.
“This is absolutely not the right location for 320 apartments,” said nearby resident Lilian Burnette. She said that complex “forever ruins the aesthetic of the entrance to Seven Oaks.”
On January 11, 2022, Stock Development (a.k.a., SD, LLC) asked the Pasco Board of County Commissioners (BCC) to rezone the Commercial-zoned property next to the Seven Oaks Sam’s Club store (a.k.a., S-19) from retail/office to mixed-use-apartments.
Originally intended for a bank and a Walmart Grocery store, the property lay fallow for years despite its ideal location and multiple realtors/suitors. The owner’s, Walmart, deed restrictions may have played a role.
As evidenced in the deed of S-19 to SD, Walmart retains all sub-surface rights, allows a bank but forbids any Sam’s Club competitors, and specifies the construction of 300 apartments [a.k.a., 1000 customers] subject to Walmart approval of all development plans.
SD purchased 10 acre S-19 on April 1, 2022, to build 320 apartments for over 800 residents and their 700 vehicles next to the busy Sam’s Club store, car wash, and gas station encircled by already overwhelmed SR56/581/Ancient Oaks/Summergate Boulevard roads and intersections.
Commissioner Ron Oakley, who had voted to deny the application last time, said at the time of that vote that the plan that required deviations in parking and a deviation from required park land meant that the project didn’t fit on the site. But Oakley said Tuesday that because of the changes made by the developer he believed the project would now work.
He also said that the county is poised to add hundreds of new jobs in new commercial and industrial sites on the horizon and now the need is for more housing. Oakley made the motion to approve the new version of the plan. It passed three to two with Moore and Mariano voting no.