Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Click to endorse what's important for the Hernando comprehensive plan

The need is urgent now.

If you care about green space, if you don't think every field should be a candidate for suburban development, if you want to make sure our roads and schools aren't jammed to overflowing when Florida does, eventually, start to grow again — then let the county know.

It's easy. Go to There's a tab right in the middle of the page that says "weigh in on your county's future."

Click it, and you'll be asked whether you'd like to see natural land set aside by purchasing development rights. You'll be asked how much you value the protection of our water supply and the encouragement of walkable, compact communities.

I personally answered in the affirmative or clicked on "very important" to all of the above queries and since, as a columnist, I no longer have to be objective, I hope you will, too.

The county will use this information in the periodic rewriting of its comprehensive plan, which is required by the state.

A workshop on the topic will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the County Commission chambers in Brooksville, but the new and hopefully improved version of the comp plan doesn't have to be sent to the state until August.

So, there's still plenty of time — more meetings before the county Planning and Zoning Commission and a final public hearing in front of the County Commission in July.

You may remember the last time the county went through all this, in 2005. There was a lot of development going on and a lot of support for putting some restraints on it. Encouraged, county staffers drafted a new plan with some strict rules (most of which were supposed to be in there all along), including a requirement that stores and offices be built in clusters, not spread up and down every highway.

At the last minute, developers and Realtors showed up, complaining and calling the county "antibusiness," and the commission promptly caved, all of which I bring up to say that if you view this process with skepticism or even disgust, I understand.

But don't let it stop you from showing up at meetings or speaking your mind by way of your trusty computer mouse. Show county leaders you care. It may be all that's standing in the way of unchecked development.

The commission, by voting for the ill-conceived Quarry Preserve last year, showed it doesn't care about controlling sprawl. Neither does our new governor, Rick Scott.

One of the first things Scott did in his new job was make a joke of more than 25 years of Florida growth management law. On Wednesday, he named the vice president of one of the biggest, best-connected development firms in the state to head the state agency that is supposed to control development, the Department of Community Affairs.

You may wonder why he didn't just get rid of it altogether. Rest assured, the new guy's a step ahead of you. One of his transition teams recommended that the DCA, as well as the bothersome agency that protects our environment, be folded the into the Department of Transportation.

Will it really happen? Who knows? But we do know how much power developers have in this county. We know the state isn't going to do much to stop anyone from building anywhere.

Which means the only thing left is pressure from voters — you and your mouse.

Click to endorse what's important for the Hernando comprehensive plan 01/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 7:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. University student accused of making bomb threat on Snapchat


    DELAND — A Florida university student is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus.

    Stetson University freshman Griffin Powell, 18, is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus in DeLand.

  2. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants


    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  3. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium


    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  5. Watch live: President Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly


    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron are expected to take the spotlight at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations — but it's the tough global challenges from the nuclear threat in North Korea and the plight of Myanmar's minority Muslims to the …

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]