Window on Pasco, Sept. 15
TBO.comNEW PORT RICHEY - State park public hearing scheduled
Published: September 15, 2012
Published: September 15, 2012
The public is invited to a hearing about the management plan for Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection will conduct the meeting. Salt Springs Alliance, a support group for the state park, is encouraging its members to turn out in large numbers and wear their SSA T-shirts.
To get a copy of the agenda, contact the park manager, Christine Dorrier, at (727) 816-1890 or christine.dorrier @dep.state.fl.us.
County OKs Starkey Ranch rezoning
Starkey Ranch CEO Trey Starkey said construction of the first model homes could be under way within 18 months after Pasco County commissioners agreed to rezone the former cattle ranch.
Starkey Ranch will be built on a swath of what remains of the 16,000-acre cattle ranch started by Frank and Trey Starkey's grandfather in the 1930s. The bulk of the ranch was sold to create the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park.
Originally approved in 2008 as a development of regional impact, commissioners voted to rescind that status Tuesday and maintain local control over the development.
The number of residential units was increased by about 765 homes, to a total of 5,050 units. That includes 500 townhouses and 350 apartments.
The project also includes about 750,000 square feet of retail, office and light industrial space and 220 hotel rooms.
Contract awarded to tear down MHP
Fifth Third Bank has awarded a $55,000 contract for demolition and clearing of the Port Richey Mobile Home Park at U.S. 19 and Grand Boulevard.
Demolition of the ramshackle, abandoned structures is set to begin no later than Sept. 17 and conclude no later than Oct. 15, according to City Manager Tom O'Neil.
The former owner promised to clean up the site, but the property went into foreclosure and the city stepped in to clean the dilapidated area.
County budget sails through hearing
The Pasco County Commission moved closer to approving a budget for fiscal year 2013 in its first public hearing this week, which lasted 13 minutes.
The board will hold the second of two state-mandated public budget hearings Sept. 25. The 2013 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
About 22 people attended the first hearing, but nobody commented.
The proposed budget, made up of 73 different funds, totals $1.1 billion and is a 0.74 percent increase from the 2012 budget.
The board proposed the aggregate property tax rate of 8.2853 mills, which is slightly less than the current rate, 8.2967 mils.
Pasco man faces molestation charge
A 22-year-old Port Richey man inappropriately touched a girl younger than 16 after giving her alcohol at a Memorial Day outing in the Safety Harbor area, Pinellas deputies said.
Michael Still, of 6840 Tierra Linda St., was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim younger than 16, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Investigators said there may be other victims.
The victim and other acquaintances went to Coopers Bayou Park on May 28 for a Memorial Day outing, deputies said. Sometime during the day, the two were alone in Still's vehicle, where he inappropriately touched her breasts, deputies said.
It was later discovered Still provided the girl with alcohol throughout the day, deputies said.
Deputies said that during the investigation they were told Still has associated with other underage girls, possibly in a lascivious nature.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Mark Kolenda at (727) 582-6200. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers toll-free at (800) 873-8477.
Pasco deputies I.D. body found in PR
The Pasco Sheriff's Office released the identity of a man whose partially burned body was found last week in Port Richey.
The man was identified as 32-year-old Harshad Harishchandra Kharunkar, 4014 W. Waters Ave., Tampa. The cause of death remains under investigation by the Pasco-Pinellas Medical Examiner's Office. The death is being investigated as a possible suicide.
Kharunkar's partially burned body was found Sept. 4 in the woods near Regal Cinemas, in the Port Richey area. According to deputies, a person walking in the woods near Scenic and Cinema drives found the man's body. Deputies were called at about 8 a.m.
Detectives had to rely on an autopsy to identify Kharunkar.
Proposal to curb synthetic drugs
Sheriff's candidate Kim Bogart has proposed a new approach for Pasco County to target the sale of "spice" and other synthetic drugs.
Bogart, the Democrat challenging Sheriff Chris Nocco, suggested the county enact an ordinance similar to one recently approved by the city of Adelanto, Calif. The ordinance would make it possible for the county to revoke the business license and certificate of occupancy for any retailer that sells synthetic drugs.
Last month, the sheriff's office raided 18 different convenience stores and arrested more than a dozen people for selling synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice" or K2.
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