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Old 04-02-2019, 01:31 AM
 
100 posts, read 41,716 times
Reputation: 54

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Doing my final bit of research before taking the plunge. I just flew down for two days and spent a lot of time driving the Odessa and Wesley Chapel area. I have visited a bunch of communities like The Preserve, Asturia, Union Park, Meadow Pointe, Starkey Ranch, and Epperson. Of all those places Starkey and Epperson seemed to be at a whole other level.

I wanted to make this post to 1. Give others considering these communities my honest feedback and 2. Get feedback from those who live in the area or in either of the two communities.

Here are my thoughts on the two places based on my initial visit.

Starkey Ranch:

Pros:

- Huge community with very nice and very expensive houses.
- Very close to smaller shopping centers. You can literally drive 5 minutes and be at Publix, starbucks, Culvers, Panera, Target, and other popular stores
- Starkey is building a new concept Publix and shopping center right on the property soon
- It's in Odessa which is right in the middle of several interesting areas. If you go West you can find things to do in Tarpon Springs and you're only about 20 minutes to the closest beach. South you can find a huge mall in Citrus Park. East you have Wesley Chapel premium outlets and all the shopping of Wesley Chapel.
- Tons of activities. They literally have an activities director with a calendar of events. Lots of actives for toddlers, kids and adults. It seems like there is always something to do there.
- Lots of ball fields, picnic tables, a few pools, dog park, playground areas for older kids.
- On property Library and Elementary school coming soon.
- Better Public elementary school (Odessa Elementary).

Cons:
- Homes generally more expensive (No DR Horton Homes). MI was the most affordable option but terrible floor plans for the smaller ones and lot sizes were 40' which is tiny). Look to spend around $315,000 for a 3/2 1,800 sq ft home with a flex room on a 50' lot.
- No Crystal Lagoon
- Traffic on 54 worse according to people here on the forum. I was only there 2 days Sat. and Sunday and it wasn't bad. I drove at different times of the day and there was never standing traffic or even a crawl. I never felt frustrated with traffic but can see how it would get worse if Starkey and Trinity keep expanding.
- No Tot Lots except for 1 gated community within Starkey. The home there were extremely expensive and HOA fees were an additional $200/mo.

Epperson:

Pros:
- Crystal Lagoon ($25/mo for you whole household unlimited visits per month)(Non residence pay $25/day per person)
- Crystal Lagoon
- Crystal Lagoon
- Some really cool autonomous vehicle thing coming soon. Supposedly you can call upon an automated vehicle that will come and pick you up and take you anywhere in the community.
- Cheaper house options available and overall homes were large and cheaper in general. You will get more for your money at Epperson with regards to home and lot size.
- Less traffic and congestion because it is more rural.
- Another huge Crystal Lagoon community called Mirada coming soon and supposedly it will be close to Epperson and auto vehicles may take you there? Does anyone know more about this?
- Shaded Tot lot open to the whole community and not just a specific gated neighborhood.
- Smart home community. Every home is pre wired and ready for smart control automation.
- UltraFi with up to 1 Gigabit of speed throughout the community so you can have high speed even at the lagoon and other public areas.

Cons:
- Wesley Chapel is sort of far out and by itself. In other words you can't drive a short distance East, West, and South to find other shopping communities like you can from Odessa.
- Farther from the beach. It will take you at least 40 minutes to get to the closest beach and about 15 minutes extra to get to Clearwater Beach.
- Sales person couldn't tell me if there were many activities planned or if they would have an activity director. They had no schedule of actives currently. Not sure if they won't or are just waiting until the community is built out.
- A lot of the amenities were not finished yet. Starkey Ranch built out the amenities before the homes and it seems Epperson is taking the opposite approach. That makes it hard for me to commit to especially if they can't give me a detailed map of the community and all the amenities. When I asked the DR Horton sales rep if they had activities planned, how many parks, how many pools, how many fields... He basically said their coming but we don't know when. Maybe he just didn't know what he was talking about? I wrote a message to Metro asking a lot of questions about the community amenities so looking forward to hearing back.
- School (Wesley Chapel Elementary) is not as good as Odessa school.
- Crime is slightly worse in Wesley Chapel than Odessa.

Would love to hear thoughts on this and additional info if three are areas where I am off or missed something.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Trinity Florida
7,928 posts, read 17,755,673 times
Reputation: 1992
Quote:
Originally Posted by letsurf View Post
Doing my final bit of research before taking the plunge. I just flew down for two days and spent a lot of time driving the Odessa and Wesley Chapel area. I have visited a bunch of communities like The Preserve, Asturia, Union Park, Meadow Pointe, Starkey Ranch, and Epperson. Of all those places Starkey and Epperson seemed to be at a whole other level.

I wanted to make this post to 1. Give others considering these communities my honest feedback and 2. Get feedback from those who live in the area or in either of the two communities.

Here are my thoughts on the two places based on my initial visit.

Starkey Ranch:

Pros:

- Huge community with very nice and very expensive houses.
- Very close to smaller shopping centers. You can literally drive 5 minutes and be at Publix, starbucks, Culvers, Panera, Target, and other popular stores
- Starkey is building a new concept Publix and shopping center right on the property soon
- It's in Odessa which is right in the middle of several interesting areas. If you go West you can find things to do in Tarpon Springs and you're only about 20 minutes to the closest beach. South you can find a huge mall in Citrus Park. East you have Wesley Chapel premium outlets and all the shopping of Wesley Chapel.
- Tons of activities. They literally have an activities director with a calendar of events. Lots of actives for toddlers, kids and adults. It seems like there is always something to do there.
- Lots of ball fields, picnic tables, a few pools, dog park, playground areas for older kids.
- On property Library and Elementary school coming soon.
- Better Public elementary school (Odessa Elementary).

Cons:
- Homes generally more expensive (No DR Horton Homes). MI was the most affordable option but terrible floor plans for the smaller ones and lot sizes were 40' which is tiny). Look to spend around $315,000 for a 3/2 1,800 sq ft home with a flex room on a 50' lot.
- No Crystal Lagoon
- Traffic on 54 worse according to people here on the forum. I was only there 2 days Sat. and Sunday and it wasn't bad. I drove at different times of the day and there was never standing traffic or even a crawl. I never felt frustrated with traffic but can see how it would get worse if Starkey and Trinity keep expanding.
- No Tot Lots except for 1 gated community within Starkey. The home there were extremely expensive and HOA fees were an additional $200/mo.

Epperson:

Pros:
- Crystal Lagoon ($25/mo for you whole household unlimited visits per month)(Non residence pay $25/day per person)
- Crystal Lagoon
- Crystal Lagoon
- Some really cool autonomous vehicle thing coming soon. Supposedly you can call upon an automated vehicle that will come and pick you up and take you anywhere in the community.
- Cheaper house options available and overall homes were large and cheaper in general. You will get more for your money at Epperson with regards to home and lot size.
- Less traffic and congestion because it is more rural.
- Another huge Crystal Lagoon community called Mirada coming soon and supposedly it will be close to Epperson and auto vehicles may take you there? Does anyone know more about this?
- Shaded Tot lot open to the whole community and not just a specific gated neighborhood.
- Smart home community. Every home is pre wired and ready for smart control automation.
- UltraFi with up to 1 Gigabit of speed throughout the community so you can have high speed even at the lagoon and other public areas.

Cons:
- Wesley Chapel is sort of far out and by itself. In other words you can't drive a short distance East, West, and South to find other shopping communities like you can from Odessa.
- Farther from the beach. It will take you at least 40 minutes to get to the closest beach and about 15 minutes extra to get to Clearwater Beach.
- Sales person couldn't tell me if there were many activities planned or if they would have an activity director. They had no schedule of actives currently. Not sure if they won't or are just waiting until the community is built out.
- A lot of the amenities were not finished yet. Starkey Ranch built out the amenities before the homes and it seems Epperson is taking the opposite approach. That makes it hard for me to commit to especially if they can't give me a detailed map of the community and all the amenities. When I asked the DR Horton sales rep if they had activities planned, how many parks, how many pools, how many fields... He basically said their coming but we don't know when. Maybe he just didn't know what he was talking about? I wrote a message to Metro asking a lot of questions about the community amenities so looking forward to hearing back.
- School (Wesley Chapel Elementary) is not as good as Odessa school.
- Crime is slightly worse in Wesley Chapel than Odessa.

Would love to hear thoughts on this and additional info if three are areas where I am off or missed something.
If I may: Epperson would make me nervous because its still very new, with lots of unknown and builders make promises they do not always keep...The Lagoon, still trying to figure out how they will keep the Gators out, and We felt it was quite far out, but we spend most of our time in Tarpon, palm harbor, downtown dunedin as its not far from us in trinity...Not sure if you looked in Bexley but nice neighborhood also and we thought the floor plans were nicer than Starkey...Just my 2 Cents...trinity/odessa will be building same outdoor mall as Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, with a Movie Theater and more restaurants....
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:59 PM
 
100 posts, read 41,716 times
Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimmom32 View Post
If I may: Epperson would make me nervous because its still very new, with lots of unknown and builders make promises they do not always keep...The Lagoon, still trying to figure out how they will keep the Gators out, and We felt it was quite far out, but we spend most of our time in Tarpon, palm harbor, downtown dunedin as its not far from us in trinity...Not sure if you looked in Bexley but nice neighborhood also and we thought the floor plans were nicer than Starkey...Just my 2 Cents...trinity/odessa will be building same outdoor mall as Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel, with a Movie Theater and more restaurants....
I agree the floor plans are better in Bexley than Starkey but we were able to find one in Starkey called the Hudson that met our criteria. There weren't any quick move ins at Bexley and according to the realtor starkey is much nicer. The only thing that would put us in Epperson is 1. Lagoon access and 2. larger home for the price. We're talking about $262,000 vs $315,000 for two floor plans that would work for us. I think one sales rep said 500 homes of the 4,000 planned had been sold. For the time that Epperson has been active is that about average or faster/slower than normal. My only fear is purchasing in a community that doesn't get completed and we're surrounded by a bunch of concrete vacant houses with a wasteland neighborhood... Would love to hear other opinions on these two locations as well.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Trinity Florida
7,928 posts, read 17,755,673 times
Reputation: 1992
Quote:
Originally Posted by letsurf View Post
I agree the floor plans are better in Bexley than Starkey but we were able to find one in Starkey called the Hudson that met our criteria. There weren't any quick move ins at Bexley and according to the realtor starkey is much nicer. The only thing that would put us in Epperson is 1. Lagoon access and 2. larger home for the price. We're talking about $262,000 vs $315,000 for two floor plans that would work for us. I think one sales rep said 500 homes of the 4,000 planned had been sold. For the time that Epperson has been active is that about average or faster/slower than normal. My only fear is purchasing in a community that doesn't get completed and we're surrounded by a bunch of concrete vacant houses with a wasteland neighborhood... Would love to hear other opinions on these two locations as well.
I agree about buying before all the ammenities are completed, that would make me nervous..starkey started in 2016 when we started looking, and its huge now..We liked Bexley better starkey, some of my Realtor friends are not fond of starkey for different reasons...I get it more house for your money, however starkey is built out and ammenities are done..We live next door to Odessa Elem and my neighbors are very happy....
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:56 PM
 
100 posts, read 41,716 times
Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimmom32 View Post
some of my Realtor friends are not fond of starkey for different reasons...
What kind of reasons? My realtor said Starkey is way better than Bexley so I would like to know the actual reasons.
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:20 PM
 
21 posts, read 23,442 times
Reputation: 18
The one major con that you failed to list for Starkey Ranch is that it is zoned for River Ridge Middle and High schools. Seven Springs middle and Mitchell HS would be much better options in the general vicinity. It may not mean much now with young children, but it will impact your kids in the future, and/or it will impact future resale. Also, Pasco is known to redistrict schools along those boundaries, so you never know what you might get.

Of all the surrounding middle and high schools (Mitchell-west, East Lake-southwest, Steinbrenner-south/southeast, Sunlake-east, Land O Lakes HS - northeast), River Ridge middle and high schools are the worst (by far).
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:25 PM
 
100 posts, read 41,716 times
Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by daaronm80 View Post
The one major con that you failed to list for Starkey Ranch is that it is zoned for River Ridge Middle and High schools. Seven Springs middle and Mitchell HS would be much better options in the general vicinity. It may not mean much now with young children, but it will impact your kids in the future, and/or it will impact future resale. Also, Pasco is known to redistrict schools along those boundaries, so you never know what you might get.

Of all the surrounding middle and high schools (Mitchell-west, East Lake-southwest, Steinbrenner-south/southeast, Sunlake-east, Land O Lakes HS - northeast), River Ridge middle and high schools are the worst (by far).
Middle and High arean't really priorities for us now. Our toddler is 2 1/2 so we have quite a while till we're in middle school. By then we will probably have him in private school anyway. Do you know anything about the elementary at Starkey? Is it supposed to be good?
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:51 PM
 
21 posts, read 23,442 times
Reputation: 18
Except for maybe Hudson Beach (very small and pretty much a waste of time) on a good day, you cannot reach any beach from Epperson in less than an hour. Fred Howard would probably be the closest, and it will still take you over an hour. From Epperson to Clearwater Beach on a weekend will take you at least an hour and a half. Unless you arrive in the early morning, it routinely takes at least 15-30 minutes just to cross from Clearwater to Clearwater Beach.

Last edited by daaronm80; 04-02-2019 at 10:03 PM..
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:02 PM
 
21 posts, read 23,442 times
Reputation: 18
You partially started this post to summarize the areas for others, so I am just making sure that other people understand that Starkey Ranch puts you in a less desirable middle and high school. Private schools are great, but there is not a viable private school on every corner, so expect to drive at least 20-30 minutes (especially during school drop off and pick up hours) one way to get to a desirable private school. Odessa elementary is nice.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:35 PM
 
100 posts, read 41,716 times
Reputation: 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by daaronm80 View Post
You partially started this post to summarize the areas for others, so I am just making sure that other people understand that Starkey Ranch puts you in a less desirable middle and high school. Private schools are great, but there is not a viable private school on every corner, so expect to drive at least 20-30 minutes (especially during school drop off and pick up hours) one way to get to a desirable private school. Odessa elementary is nice.
That makes sense. Thanks for the info about the private schools too.
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