A likely-to-be-proposed development will affect three different communities, according to Quail Hollow residents opposed to it.

Lane Mendelsohn has had his eye on the more than 1,000 acres of land next to where his family lives in the Quail Hollow area for a few years now. Not because he wants to buy it, but because those who own it have plans he feels aren’t best for that area.

SoHo Capital, LLC,  the developers of the proposed Dayflower Master Planned Unit Development (MPUD), may be prepping to ask the county for a rezoning that will increase how many homes it can build on the land from roughly 1,000 to almost 1,500. Mendelsohn is worried about overcrowding, flooding, damage to wetlands and roads buckling under an influx of new traffic, to name a few.

So, instead of sitting back and waiting to see what happens, Mendelsohn and a group of Quail Hollow residents are on a mission to stop a potential rezoning of the land before it even gets started.

Mendelsohn has spent a good deal of his own money founding the Quail Hollow Alliance (QHA), creating a website and forming a team of land and environmental experts. He has rallied the communities of Quail Hollow, Angus Valley and Lexington Oaks — and residents of those developments account for the many of the more than 2,000 signatures in opposition he has collected — in a proactive effort to save the area.

“I’m not an activist that goes around county looking for a fight,” Mendelsohn says. “I got involved because this affects me, my family and my community. We’ve got one shot to stop this proposed development on a very environmentally sensitive piece of property and once built on, that’s it, there’s no turning back. If someone didn’t step up with the time and financial resources, my feeling was we may blow it and have to live with the adverse effects. If I didn’t do this, I would never be able to forgive myself.”

SoHo Capital is likely to bring its plans to the Pasco County Planning Commission in the near future. It owns 1,007 acres north of Wesley Chapel Blvd. and west of Old Pasco Rd. The property touches three established communities, but mostly Quail Hollow and Angus Valley, communities which date back to the 1950s, where home lots are generally three quarters of an acre or larger.

Mendelsohn owns a 75-acre lot just north of the property, a six-acre plot and a 2-acre plot where he lives next to his parents’ 14-acre lot.

Mendelsohn says Soho Capital wants to fill the developable areas (probably 500 acres, due to how much of the property is wetlands) with 40-foot lots.

While he says he respects a land owner’s rights to do what is allowed under its zoning, he is opposed to rezoning to allow even more homes.

While SoHo is already permitted to build around 1,000 homes (2.2 homes per buildable acre due to its current Res-1 zoning), Mendelsohn says the developer  is working towards a rezoning which would allow for 1,439 homes.

“My feeling is development has to be responsible, and has to be consistent and compatible with the surrounding areas,” Mendelsohn says.

Jennifer Seney, a Quail Hollow resident who researches most of the information that fills the group’s website, feels the same.

“I’ll even go a step further,” Seney says, “I’ll say that what is being proposed for this piece of land is completely inappropriate.”

The additional density from a rezoning, not what is currently allowed, is where the QHA finds the problem. 

According to Mendelsohn, SoHo Capital estimates the development would add 13,309 additional day trips on three small country roads that run right through Quail Hollow and Angus Valley. Mendelsohn says those roads — Sandy Ln., Mangrove Dr. and Armenian Ln. — are already classified as substandard by the county for not being thick or wide enough, and there is no room to widen them without getting rid of the swales that help control the area’s persistent flooding.

Seney has particularly strong feelings about the roads, because she says SoHo Capital is requesting that the county allow it to pay “fair share” on the road improvements, which means splitting the costs with the county, rather than footing the bill themselves. She believes the county’s share would end up as an assessment on those living near and using the roads. In other words, the residents of Quail Hollow and Angus Valley.

“The road improvements are solely for the benefit of the developer,” Seney says. “We don’t need them (with the current population that uses them), and would never ask for them, but will have to pay for them.”

Seney, who worked for Pasco County as a recycling supervisor from 2008-18, fears the county may see this as an opportunity to bring the roads up to a higher level of service without having to pay for anything.

Following a March 1 required virtual public meeting with the developer, QHA members also claimed the project, which is adjacent to the Cypress Creek Preserve, would destroy “at least 11 acres of pristine wetlands, which help recharge Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater’s water supply through Pasco’s Cypress Creek Watershed.”

SoHo Capital, or SoHo Dayflower LLC, does not yet have any meetings scheduled yet before the planning commission, which would be the next step. Mendelsohn is hoping that such meetings won’t happen at all. The main goal of his group is to convince county staff that the project isn’t worth putting to any vote, due to the numerous questions — which Mendelsohn says have not been answered — put forth by the QHA.

“I don’t want this to get in front of the planning commission and then the county commissioners and have us have to fight this out in front of them,” Mendelsohn says. “If the Pasco County Planning department really takes a look at this, they would see that this project is not a good project for this area.”  

District 2 County Commissioner Mike Moore says he has been contacted by the group, but until the project moves onto the planning commission agenda, he has little to say about it.

The QHA is not trying to stop SoHo from building any homes on the land it owns. Mendelsohn says he is not anti-development. And in fact, if developers were only trying to build the number of homes the property  was currently zoned for, the QHA wouldn’t even exist.

However, if a rezoning does take place, he feels that more homes will equal more problems for long-time residents of Quail Hollow and Angus Valley.

“My main point is, building 40-foot lots is just not compatible in an area where the lots are bigger and there isn’t that kind of density,” Mendelsohn says. ““I do believe property owners have rights and I respect that, however my hope is that the county commissioners are listening to the people and just because a developer requests a rezoning, that is not something they are entitled to or that the commissioners are required to grant.”

For more information, check out QuailHollowAlliance.org

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