Testimony concerning Trilby Estates
To the Pasco Board of County Commissioners
by Richard K Riley
June 20, 2006
Trilby and the Northeast Pasco Rural Area have a proud history of providing rail connections to the rest of the county. At one time, Trilby and the adjoining Owensboro Junction interconnected three rail lines; The Orange Belt, the Atlantic Costal and the Seaboard lines. These lines were active from the 1880s to the 1980s.
1899 Map Orange Belt Line in Trilby
Two of these lines have been abandoned, and much of their property sold at auction to adjacent landowners. In fact, about two miles of the abandoned Orange Belt Rail Line in Trilby, which went to Blanton and then to St. Petersburg, was sold within the past year at auction. The jewel in our crown is the Withlacoochee State Trail which originates in Inverness and at the moment is terminated in Owensboro, just to the east of the Trilby Estates Development. Dade City is in the process of renovating the old Seaboard Line that went through downtown into a city recreation trail, and it would be nice to have a connecting link of a designated and maintained trail from Trilby to Dade City for the hiking, equestrian and bicycle residents and tourists.
One of these abandoned rail lines is along the east side of this proposed development. I thank Attorney Clarke Hobby for researching the train path, and looking into the possibility of its path, and noting that the County has designated the north and west of the development as a multi-purpose trail. The only problem is that this ignores an existing, abandoned railbed on the east side of the development. I recognize that the railbed has been sold to adjoining property owners below the proposed development and is not easily available as a trail into Dade City.
I propose that the County direct the developer of Trilby Estates to reserve this historic railbed as a multi-use trail and include it as part of the development. Whereas adding the multi-use trail to the development site plan will remove some land from being able to be sold to new landowners, I am certain that, with appropriate effort, Designer King Helie will be able to distribute the loss evenly between the proposed 95 lots and will still be able to sell the same amount of lots for their projected prices. I feel that this addition to the development will increase its value, desirability, and sale ability and will help preserve some of the vanishing history and beauty of the Northeast Pasco Rural Area. It can also be the first step in the dream of a link to Dade City.
I would request that the Board of County Commissioners move to add a condition to the approval for zoning change that could state:
The developer of Trilby Estates will set aside the property previously used by the rail line on the east side of its property of 200’ and 100’wide, where appropriate, for a multi-use trail and add a continuation of the multi-use trial along the rest of the eastern and southern boundaries of the development, 50’ wide, effectively connecting Christian Road and Powerline Road through those sides of the development. This trail will be developed to county standards for a public rural multi-use trail, and the property will be donated to Pasco County for ownership and maintenance.