NEW PORT RICHEY — Top Pasco planners agreed Thursday to let developers of a proposed 75-home subdivision near the Hernando County line mine sand despite the objections of nearby Hernando residents — although officials attached a long list of conditions.
Developers of the proposed 78-acre Woodfield subdivision on County Line Road, between Shady Hills Road and the Suncoast Parkway, asked for permission during the next three years to remove 650,000 cubic yards of sand, which is enough to pile 16 feet high over a 10-acre piece of land.
Residents of the Preston Hollow and Wellington neighborhoods, accompanied by Hernando County Commissioner Rose Rocco and a couple of Hernando County staffers, expressed concerns about dust, noise and traffic on the two-lane road that separates the two counties.
They also feared that the sluggish economy would result in the area not becoming a neighborhood.
"To me this is purely a mining operation," Preston Hollow resident Bob Cooper said. "After the mining is finished what's going to happen to that property?"
Assistant County Administrator Dan Johnson expressed skepticism.
"If this were a mining operation, I'd be mining a lot more than 650,000 cubic yards," he said.
Residents said the road's two lanes are almost always clogged, and allowing large trucks would cause accidents.
But Pasco County transportation staffers said their study showed the number of estimated truck trips, nearly 17 in the peak morning hour and 26 in the peak afternoon hour, would not affect the road's level of service.
Two traffic signals on County Line Road would also provide a gap in traffic for the trucks to exit the property, officials said.
Nevertheless, county officials attached a list of conditions. Among them:
• Mining is restricted to non-holiday weekdays, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Developers are responsible for repairing damage to any private wells within a 1,500 foot radius of the site.
• Developers must apply for a right-of-way permit from Hernando County if applicable.
• Developers are limited to mining five acres at a time. "They would have to seed it, stabilize it and then go to the next five acres," zoning administrator Debra Zampetti said. "That should cut down on the dust."
• Developers also must put up signs to alert residents of truck traffic and build privacy fences and berms.
Steve Booth, an attorney for the developer, said his client agreed with all the conditions.
"This is not going to be a pit," he said. "There's no hole there. We're going to match the existing grade of the properties adjoining it."
The Development Review Committee's vote, which is the final say, didn't satisfy the residents.
"The mining — I don't see that it needs to be done," said Judith Waller. She said her main concern is the children who attend nearby Suncoast Elementary School.
"They're going to be on school buses the same time we're going to have those trucks there," she said.