Sprawling ranch in Central Pasco slated for future housing and businesses

Another large and not-yet-developed swath of rural Pasco County got a first approval this week that could eventually lead to the construction of thousands of homes, along with stores and offices.

The 4G Ranch property is spread over 2,900 acres just east of the intersection of U.S. 41 and State Road 52. It has served as the host site over the years of political and charitable fundraisers. Several years ago its owners reached an agreement with the county to provide acreage for the discharge of reclaimed water.

The Pasco Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that the county change it from an agricultural designation to a planned development. The development would include an area set aside for conservation on the county’s blueprint for growth.

The property owned by the Phillips family is just over 2 miles east of U.S. 41 on the north side of SR 52. The 4G Ranch is one of several large parcels of undeveloped land that are designated as a transition area between the higher density development in West Pasco and more rural East Pasco, said Clarke Hobby, the applicant’s representative.

That part of the county is expected to undergo major change in coming years. The Florida Department of Transportation has included widening of SR 52 in its future work plan, Hobby said. That could open up much of the surrounding agricultural land to development.

The 4G Ranch property would be divided into two areas of development on either side of a conservation area in the middle of the tract, Hobby said. The site is projected to hold 3,800 residences and 300,000 square feet of office and retail space.

According to the agenda packet, there are approximately 603.6 acres of wetlands and approximately 168.3 acres of reclaimed water discharge ponds operated by Pasco County as a part of a groundwater recharge project.

Hobby said development likely would start in the area west of the conservation zone with the area to the east, which holds the family homestead, kept unchanged for the foreseeable future. More details of what the new housing area would look like are expected when the developer seeks a rezoning at the next step of the process.

“Development in this area is bound to happen,” said John Quade, whose home abuts the ranch. “We can’t expect to be as isolated as we are for an indefinite period of time.”

He asked that a buffer preserving the oaks and pines that border his property be left to protect his home. “We’re very concerned that we have some buffer,” he said. “Leave some of those trees.”

Mary Quade said she and her husband appreciate the wilderness feel of their home site. “We’d just like to keep the look of what we see now ... We like the woods and what’s out there,” she said.

Shawn Roark, representing the adjacent Pasco Trails community, said most adjoining residents had favored ponds as the best buffer for their homes because they provide more drainage and protection from people crossing into their neighborhood.