A dispute between the residents of Seven Oaks and Crown Community Development, which developed the master-planned community, has been settled with an impressive compromise, brokered in no small part by Pasco County District 2 Commissioner Seth Weightman, who represents Seven Oaks and most of Wesley Chapel on the Board of County Commissioners (BCC).
Since 2017, Crown has been trying to re-zone a vacant parcel of nearly 1.2 acres (see map) that is adjacent to the Seven Oaks Community Club for both office and possible recreational uses.
The unspecified recreational uses, which could have been anything from a park to a bowling alley to a putt-putt golf course, was the cause of the dispute between Crown and the residents of Seven Oaks, led by Seven Oaks Community Development District (CDD) supervisor Jon Tomsu.
The concern was that these types of recreational uses would attract large numbers of cars to not only travel, but also possibly park, on Seven Oaks’ primary north-south thoroughfare, Ancient Oaks Blvd.
The BCC had turned down Crown’s rezoning request back in 2018, but a mediator ruled in June of 2020 that the Parcel 12 could be divided in two, with the 16.8-acre CDD maintaining its ownership of Parcel 12A (which includes the community center), and Crown retaining the 1.2-acre Parcel 12B, with the ability to add office uses.
The fate of the parcel still had not been decided when Covid hit in 2020 and the possible rezoning wasn’t brought back to the BCC for a vote until its July 11 meeting.
Weightman brought Tomsu and Crown attorney Barbara Wilhite together to settle the dispute, with Tomsu saying that although he was OK with a less intrusive PO-1 office use for the 50,000+-sq.-ft. space, he would not agree to any “recreational use” on the site.
After Wilhite agreed to the office-only stipulation, the agreement was brought before the BCC and unanimously approved.
“That was a great coming together of two parties — the residents of Seven Oaks and Crown Development,” Weightman said. “Ultimately, the CDD leadership and Crown came together to go with office space and match what was already there. It was a nice negotiation and agreement to have that issue come to an end and I think it was the best possible resolution for that site.”
Weightman’s legislative aide Andy Taylor agreed.
“When they were talking about recreational uses, like a Main Event-style use, where people would be coming in and parking on the roads in Seven Oaks, everything about it just didn’t make sense. It was nice to see it finally get resolved amicably.”
The rezoning was officially approved at its second reading before the BCC on Aug. 8, without objection. Public comment also was not permitted, per Wilhite’s request at the meeting on July 11.