Pasco leaders say the sinkhole that swallowed two homes can't be repaired

Dead road options discussed
Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 18:03:36-05

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — Pasco County leaders say they don’t have many options when it comes to dealing with the huge sinkhole that destroyed two homes in Land O’ Lakes.

RELATED: Sinkhole swallows two homes in Land O' Lakes neighborhood; cleanup could take months

Many people who live around the hole hoped the neighborhood could return to the way it was, but that doesn’t seem possible.

“You could feel it under the ground rumbling,” said Christy Zimmer, “I’m getting goosebumps even telling you about it, because it was heart wrenching.”

Six months later, the massive sinkhole on Ocean Pines Drive looks like a crater filled with water and five homes still standing are eligible for demolition.

RELATED: Florida sinkhole cleanup delayed after expansion

Pasco County leaders are still working toward what comes next. But they say they engineers told them the road can’t be rebuilt and nothing will be done to the hole.

“Their recommendation is to leave it as is. Erect barricades at the end of it. Put up a fence. Put up landscaping. And come away from it,” said Assistant County Administrator Kevin Guthrie.

That would mean a dead end street on both sides. The county is looking into one other option that would add a t-shaped road.

“We have to have a place for vehicles to turn around. Garbage trucks, emergency vehicles. They’ve got to be able to access and get out. Without something these people are going to struggle. And that’s not fair to them,” said Zimmer.

Zimmer not only lives in the area, but she’s a realtor here too. And she says the sinkhole hasn’t had a major effect on home sales because of everything the neighborhood has to offer.

“We have lake access, with three ski-size lakes, fishing lakes. Seven parks. We have horse stables in the community with riding trails. We are not an HOA. We are not a CDD. We are an independent special district and we govern ourselves. It’s really a cool community to live in.”

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Guthrie says whatever the county does, it’s not about money. It’s about safety.

The basic clean up will cost about $800,000. And adding the t-shaped road would more than double that price.

There will be more community meetings and another presentation to commissioners to help pinpoint a final decision on the area's future.