Following a few months in stagnation, the long-running debate about which, if any, roadway connections to make between the southern portion of Wesley Chapel and New Tampa’s K-Bar Ranch area will be renewed Dec. 13 when Pasco County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meets in Dade City.
At the scheduled Pasco MPO meeting, its nine Board members will be presented a scaled-down version of the findings of the Wesley Chapel Roadways Study, which was presented to roughly 75 local residents on May 29.
Ali Atefi, Pasco County’s transportation engineer, said originally the MPO was supposed to receive the report, compiled by consulting firm AECOM, in August, but a crowded agenda forced it to be postponed until next month.
Once the MPO is presented the findings of the study, a citizen survey will be scheduled, likely for early spring.
The online survey will be for Pasco County residents only, and will present the options for yes or no votes for various connections.
The study looked at four potential solutions to connecting Wesley Chapel and K-Bar Ranch:
(1) connecting Kinnan St. in New Tampa with Mansfield Blvd. in Meadow Pointe and K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. to Meadow Pointe Blvd.
(2) connecting only K-Bar Ranch Pkwy. to Meadow Pointe Blvd.
(3) doing all of the possible connections: Kinnan-Mansfield, K-Bar Ranch Pkwy.-Meadow Pointe Blvd., and Wyndfields Blvd. to K-Bar Ranch Pkwy.
All three proposed connections, which are shown with red circles on the map above, have been in the county’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for many years.
There was also a fourth option — a no-build option — that would put up a gate for emergency vehicles, which was very popular among constituents on both sides of the county line, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations at Kinnan-Mansfield, but no motor vehicle connection for general public use.
Connecting Kinnan to Mansfield — with those two streets still separated by a 30-foot-or-so patch of dirt and bushes and whose linking has been a point of great contention between the two counties — was considered an alternative, but only in conjunction with the other connections
The Roadways Study report states that Kinnan-Mansfield was not evaluated as a standalone connection.
When presented this information, members of the public had a month to weigh in with their opinions, either with forms at the workshop or online. The responses, all of which were reviewed by the Neighborhood News, don’t offer many surprises.
There were 12 forms filled out at the May presentation, with only one in favor of the Kinnan-Mansfield connection.
Of the 175 emails we reviewed, 100 of them were actually forwarded responses from a Change.org petition.
Among the remaining 75 emails, there were a number of duplicates, but 36 emails were clearly opposed to connecting Kinnan-Mansfield (though many were open to other connections) and six emails were in favor of connecting the two roads. Of course, these are the Pasco County responses only.
Since the Wesley Chapel Roadways Study was finalized, the City of Tampa approved a rezoning that will permit M/I Homes to proceed with building 700 new homes in K-Bar Ranch, which borders Meadow Pointe directly to the south.
The Pasco MPO is expected to make its recommendation in May, which would then place the final decision in the hands of the Pasco Board of County Commissioners for a potential vote in the summer.