Land deal in works for public housing
BAYONET POINT - The Pasco County Housing Authority is looking into the possibility of buying 13 acres that could become the new home of Dade Oaks, an aging 69-unit public housing apartment complex in Dade City. The authority voted Tuesday to begin negotiations to buy two adjoining parcels of land on 14th Street in Dade City. If it all works out, the authority eventually would build a new version of Dade Oaks on the site.A lot has to happen between now and a tentative closing date of Dec. 31 for that to become a reality, though. In addition to working out the deal with the landowners, the properties need to be rezoned to meet the requirements of multifamily housing, and the housing authority needs to get its financing in place. Rezoning the land is especially important. “If we can’t develop it, there’s no use in having it,” said David Lambert, chairman of the housing authority. If the deal goes through, the housing authority might build duplexes rather than the one-story and two-story apartment buildings that now are home for the Dade Oaks residents. The duplex idea is still subject to change, though, said Dianne Morris, the authority’s executive director. Morris said the authority would want to get started on construction as soon as possible after the closing on the property happens. Construction is expected to take no more than one year. The 40-year-old Dade Oaks complex has had problems with flooding in the past because it was built at the low point of a 160-acre drainage basin. Topographic maps show sharp elevation changes — as much as a 55-foot difference in about five city blocks. In addition, last year the dilapidated complex failed an inspection by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The housing authority would sell the old property if the plans for the new complex are successful, Morris said. The authority considered renovating the existing complex but then started looking at alternative sites in and around Dade City.
Tribune reporter Laura Kinsler contributed to this report.