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Tuesday, Jul 17, 2018
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Fixing giant Pasco County sinkhole won’t mean a larger neighborhood lake

NEW PORT RICHEY – Pasco County is pulling the plug on the idea of connecting a giant sinkhole to a nearby lake in Land O’Lakes.

Tuesday morning, commissioners, with little comment, agreed to abandon extending Lake Saxon within the Lake Padgett Estates neighborhood. The suggestion was part of the remediation options for a massive sinkhole, originally estimated at 230 feet wide and 50 feet deep, that opened July 14, 2017, along Ocean Pines Drive. The cavity swallowed two homes, left seven others uninhabitable and closed the residential street to through traffic.

In March, commissioners authorized a fix to Ocean Pines Drive: Installing two T-intersections to allow vehicles to maneuver the street without backing onto private property to complete three-point turns. The sinkhole itself would be surrounded by a decorative fence. The repair carries an estimated cost of $242,000 and construction is expected to begin in the fall.

At that same meeting, Commissioner Mike Moore asked the county to investigate linking the sinkhole to nearby Lake Saxon, an idea the county’s geological consultant discouraged as too risky. Moore said he was concerned about the potential decline in property values.

In April, county staffers, consultant PSI, and Moore met with the water management district representatives, but the district said the connection was not a viable alternative.

The water management district "expressed concern regarding another potential sinkhole and impact to the Floridian aquifer,’’ stated a June 1 memorandum to commissioners.

The Lake Padgett Estates Independent Special District, the entity that maintains Lake Saxon and the neighborhood’s parks, also balked at the proposed connection.

"I’m glad we’re moving forward,’’ Moore said Tuesday.

He also asked that the county consider the area’s aesthetics in designing the fence to help protect the neighborhood’s property values.

"I want to make sure we don’t just toss a fence up,’’ said Moore. "It’s got to look decent.’’

Contact C.T. Bowen at [email protected] or (813) 435-7306. Follow @ctbowen2

RELATED: County okays sinkhole fix.

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