BROOKSVILLE — The owner of property that had been promoted as the site of a mud-bogging event known as the Mud on the Barbee has settled his case with the county after he was issued a stop-work order.
Thomas H. Malouf faced four citations from Hernando County Development Services when the county discovered what was going on and issued the order. The citations included failure to obtain a conditional use permit for a mud-bogging site, failure to obtain a land-clearing permit, failure to obtain a floodplain permit before constructing a bridge and failure to obtain a permit for the construction of a stage.
On Thursday, Malouf's attorney, Dean A. Kent, faced a special master and reached a stipulated agreement. While Malouf was not fined, he agreed to pay $500 in administrative and court costs.
Malouf will have to revise the approval granted to Mud on the Barbee by the Southwest Florida Water Management District for a mud bog and agree to use the area for agricultural purposes, such as a cattle pond, said Chris Linsbeck, the county's zoning supervisor. He also will have to use the platform that was to have been a stage for the Mud on the Barbee as a pole barn or other agricultural use.
If the structure is found to be too close to the road, Malouf will have to move it or get a variance, Linsbeck said.
Mike Barbee had been promoting the site, on U.S. 98 just north of Brooksville, as the home of the Mud on the Barbee, a mud-bogging and music event and the backdrop for a reality television show. On the event's Facebook page, Barbee had posted pictures of the work and announced that it would be ready to go by July 4.
His plans have since changed.
Barbee now plans to hold a Fourth of July weekend event at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
The event, which is scheduled for July 4 and 5, promises mud-truck racing at the fairgrounds arena, live bands, overnight camping and a watermelon seed-spitting contest. A billboard at the fairgrounds pledges more than $12,000 in prize money.
On the Mud on the Barbee Facebook site, Barbee says there will be competition runs inside the arena with film crews shooting footage for the reality TV show. He hopes thousands of spectators fill the stands. Participants will qualify on Friday for a chance to win money on Saturday.
He says it will be fun for all, but acknowledges it might not be exactly what some die-hard mudders had in mind.
"If you are looking for a no-hold … mud bash, this is not the event for you, so please go find one that gives you all the mud you need," he says. "Over the last year and a half, I have worked very hard along with a few other people and my family to build a great place in Brooksville for all of you to come play on with your trucks, ATVs, and other mud vehicles. It has not been an easy thing to do, with the County wanting to tar and feather me and send me out of town on a rail."
He says he spent 19 months and thousands of dollars trying to build a park for his event.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Thomas Malouf, who received four citations from Hernando County for construction without permits on his Brooksville property, settled the case by agreeing to pay administrative and court costs of $500 and to take other actions. There were no fines. Mud on the Barbee, which was planning a mud-bogging event on the site, sought and received permission for the mud bog from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The permission was not sought by Malouf. A headline and story in Friday's edition were incorrect on these points.