Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commission okays huge development north of Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — With the County Commission's approval Tuesday of the 4,282-acre Quarry Preserve project north of Brooksville, Hernando County will get what developers call a "new town."

On a split vote, commissioners accepted the huge development, which developer Brooksville Quarry LLC sold as a project that will set the standard for future developments in the county.

The project, in a mined-out rock quarry, would include up to 5,800 residential units of mixed types, 200 lodging units, a business park with up to 850,000 square feet of office space and 545,000 square feet of commercial space, a portion of that grouped in a town center.

A school site between 26 and 35 acres, two golf courses and a public-use site are also part of the plan.

That plan now goes back to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for a final review.

The developer has worked with various state, regional and local land planners for nearly five years to fine-tune the proposal.

The formal approval process required commissioners to accept both a change in the county's comprehensive plan, which is its formal blueprint for growth, and the development order establishing the Quarry Preserve as a development of regional impact. The vote on the plan change passed 4-1, with Commissioner David Russell voting no. The vote on the development order was unanimous.

Growth management officials on the state level raised a variety of questions about the project in April, including the project's density, the need for a wildlife corridor and the need for groundwater protection policies. The Florida Department of Community Affairs also questioned whether the project amounted to urban sprawl, whether enough water was available to serve it and whether there was an actual need for additional residential units in Hernando County.

Since then, the developer responded to the questions, including queries regarding plans to construct a well field that would serve not just Quarry Preserve, but also provide additional water for the county, a groundwater protection plan and a plan for a wildlife corridor.

County utilities director Joe Stapf praised the pact that the Utilities Department had reached with the developer saying, "Growth is paying for growth and not resting on the pocketbooks of our ratepayers."

The changes were enough to persuade Commissioner Rose Rocco to reverse her previous opposition to the project.

"I think this will be a very positive thing,'' Rocco said. "This is the type of thing we should be encouraging.''

Rocco did question how the county would be guaranteed that business growth would be tied to the project, and developer representative Jake Varn explained that there were triggers in the agreement that say the developer must bring in a certain amount of business to keep developing the residential portions of the project.

Commissioner Jeff Stabins asked what could be done with the exhausted mining property.

"In my opinion, not very much,'' Varn said, noting that reclamation was not required for most of the site, so it would basically be "a moonscape.''

By developing the project, it would put the land back on the tax rolls at a higher level, he said.

Commissioners also questioned costs to the county if the project were approved. But Varn said that those would be minimal, with the developer paying for many of the infrastructure costs, including more than $62 million to widen U.S. 98 from the Suncoast Parkway to Cobb Road.

Several residents addressed the commission, with some questioning why the county needs more housing when previously approved housing subdivisions are not being built out. Brooksville resident Richard Ross took that a step further, noting that some projects, like the struggling Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, demonstrate that the county could put taxpayers at risk by approving more housing developments.

After the vote, Ross had one last thought for the commissioners.

"This is a board that operates for the developers, by the developers and the hell with the people," he said.

Reach Barbara Behrendt at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando commission okays huge development north of Brooksville 08/31/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Student discipline, online learning, solar eclipse glasses and more

    Blogs

    STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Everyone wants their child to behave in school. But sometimes defining what that means causes dissention. That was the case this week at a Pasco County elementary school, which A Pasco County elementary school has adopted a new behavior model that encourages cooperation and responsibility. Some parents are upset that it also seems to support giving in to peer pressure.

  2. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Zephyrhills begins residential lien forgiveness program

    Local Government

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A new program is under way to forgive liens on certain residential properties in the city to combat blight, encourage improvements to properties and spur home ownership.

    City Manager Steve Spina said after the council’s unanimous vote, the new lien forgiveness program is up and running.
  4. With reluctance, New Port Richey continues funding for Main Street program

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — City officials on Tuesday night had their annual debate on whether to continue funding the New Port Richey Main Street program. The group remains financially strapped and claims it cannot survive without city funding.

    Said New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe: “I think the Main Street program has gone seriously off the rails.”
  5. Spanish police kill 5 in resort hours after Barcelona attack (w/video)

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — Police on Friday shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a car attack in a seaside resort in Spain's Catalonia region hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade, killing at least 13 people and injuring over 100 others.

    A woman places a postcard of the Barcelona's Sacred Family cathedral next to bunches of flowers in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. [Associated Press]