ARIPEKA - The regulatory office for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Atlanta has accepted Pasco County's appeal for a dredge permit at the future SunWest Park.
Supporters of the project said the corps' district office in Jacksonville violated its own policies by denying the permit even though Gov. Rick Scott and the state's Cabinet had endorsed the project. The application should have been referred to the corps' regional office in Atlanta.
The 60-foot-wide channel was designed so the county could build seven boat ramps at the park, and to serve as a major draw for a proposed private development, SunWest Harbourtowne.
Pasco commissioners initially voted not to appeal the decision, fearing they would antagonize the agency that still has multiple permits under review elsewhere in Pasco. The commission later reversed course - to the chagrin of environmental groups that oppose the channel.
Appeals Review Officer Jason Steele said the Pasco case met the criteria for an administrative review, and he is obtaining records from the Jacksonville office.
"We still have to go through the process to see if the appeal has merit," Steele said.
The reviewing officer usually issues a decision within 90 days. "For projects of this nature, they typically take longer," Steele said.