Pasco neighbors fight rezoning plan to split lot sizes in half

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Some Pasco neighbors are banding together, fighting rezoning plans they say will increase traffic and disrupt their nature-inspired community. 

Fred Rice searched all over Tampa Bay before building his dream home in Serengeti, located in Pasco County. 

"I haven't seen a neighborhood like this before Serengeti," said Rice. "We want the natural setting to remain quiet and pristine."

Neighbors say a plan to rezone some lots threatens their piece of paradise and home values. 

Signs to "Save Serengeti" now line the subdivision. 

"We moved in here for a reason, we were sold this," said Jennifer Brunelle. "This is what we loved about it and now the rules are changing on us."

Tampa-based Metro Development Group says it plans to cut existing lots in Phase II of the project.  

Lots measuring about 90-100 feet wide would be split in half to about 50 feet. 

"It's a bait and switch," said Rice. 

Frustrated neighbors say they were initially sold on the idea that both phases of the project would be identical, offering larger lots and wide-open spaces. 

"That's going to increase traffic on this single road that goes in and out of Phase I," said Rice. "That's going to increase traffic by about 85-90%." 

"I have a 14-year-old boy who rides his bike up and down the street with his friends, so I mean you're worried about that, too," said Brunelle. 

Metro Development Group tells ABC Action News, the move is motivated by the marketplace and consumer trends. 

"Metro Development Group began developing its community of Serengeti in 2006. Since its inception, there have been approximately 20 home sales, which on average makes the sales rate less than two per year and notably less than other communities in the area. The key difference in this community compared to others in the market is larger lots. Metro is responding to consumer demand and market trend by opting to adjust some (not all) of its lot sizes."

Metro promises that unsold lots in Phase I will not be adjusted. 

Neighbors are writing Pasco County leaders and have a chance to present their case against rezoning in a hearing scheduled for August 21. 

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