Wednesday, September 19, 2018
News Roundup

Strategic plan for Hernando coastline concerns business leaders and residents

BROOKSVILLE — A strategic plan that guides decisions about Hernando County’s natural coastline would seem like an easy sell in a community that values its coastal character.

But last week, such a plan drew concerns from a wide spectrum of community players, so county commissioners delayed a vote until everyone better understands what the plan might do.

Commissioners were considering a 65-page document called the "strategic marine area plan.’’ It provided the data and analysis behind strategies written into the county’s latest comprehensive plan proposal.

Among other things, it addresses developing shallow reefs, researching oyster beds, determining the mix of recreational versus commercial fishing, and the county’s tourism future.

Hernando County is the first in the state to develop such a plan, a feat congratulated in a state planning magazine this summer. Members of the Hernando County Port Authority were recognized for their work on the plan and for involving stakeholders in developing it.

But some stakeholders said they were blind-sided when the document approval appeared on the commission agenda.

A representative of the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, advocacy committee chairman Richard Sanvenero, urged the board to delay a vote on the plan "until the commission has had time to digest it. Measure twice, cut once.’’

Hernando Beach resident Judy Zelmer called the county staff’s description of an extensive public process "hogwash.’’ The only notices were non-specific, inch-long newspaper notices for Port Authority meetings in a small room at Linda Pederson Park, she said.

The report contained proposals that could have "wide-ranging, potentially negative effects on coastal land owners,’’ she said, including increased tourist traffic, more out-of-county boat access to waterways and an expanded commercial fishery. These activities, Zellmer said, could impact communities from Aripeka to Pine Island, "all of which are already over-stressed and deserve proper notification and information.’’

Commissioners also had questions.

Commissioner John Allocco wanted definitions of terms in the report, including "living shorelines" and "living seawalls.’’ He also was concerned that some pages had lines left blank.

Commissioner John Mitten said he didn’t know much about the plan.

"I don’t know if we’ve had enough time to vet it,’’ Mitten said.

The proposal is tied to the Restore Act, created in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Hernando County and other coastal communities impacted by the spill have worked for several years to identify projects they could fund with the millions of dollars expected from a legal settlement with British Petroleum.

County aquatic services manager Keith Kolasa said the plan came through the Port Authority and was developed with assistance from the University of Florida, Sea Grant and Nature Coast Biological Research Station.

The plan was designed to help the county prioritize and implement projects, manage coastal resources, coordinate with other agencies and foster education.

The plan calls for scientific study that will help the county understand such real-life marine issues as user demands on the Weeki Wachee River, and the impacts of recreational scalloping on the scallop population.

"Overall the theme is to promote conservation and provide a sustainable resource,’’ Kolasa said.

The commission decided to delay approval until the full comprehensive plan comes back for a final vote, which is expected later this month.

County administrator Len Sossamon said that anyone interested should read the document before the next hearing.

"I don’t think there is anything in there which is skullduggery,’’ he said.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

>>>Previous coverage:> Proposed expansion of commercial fishing in Hernando Beach draws public outcry>>

>>>Previous coverage:> Weeki Wachee River capacity study stirs controversy>>

Comments
Blake Snell wins major-league-leading 20th in 4-0 win over Rangers

Blake Snell wins major-league-leading 20th in 4-0 win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — One of the things that has made Blake Snell so good this season for the Rays is his refusal to be satisfied with anything he does.No matter how well he pitches, he finds flaws in his performance and identifies something ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers game

LHP Blake Snell certainly gets the bulk of the credit for his remarkable season, and there's definitely some due to pitching coach Kyle Snyder. But don't ignore C Jesus Sucre, who Snell likes throwing to and has been both a good target and a calming ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The Daystarter: Rick Scott’s not-so-magical bus tour; how a top donor’s son got hired by Adam Putnam; and the latest on Red Tide.

The Daystarter: Rick Scott’s not-so-magical bus tour; how a top donor’s son got hired by Adam Putnam; and the latest on Red Tide.

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• It’ll be a sunny morning but the clouds will gather by the afternoon. The change of rain also increases to 30 to 50 percent in the afternoon and into the evening, according to the Nat...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Epilogue: Robert Judson Jr., a pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education

Epilogue: Robert Judson Jr., a pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education

Robert Judson Jr. was known simply as "The Voice.""He had a magnetic voice, made for radio, made for television," said Tim Beard, president of Pasco-Hernando State College, a position Mr. Judson held from 1994 to 2005."To hear him talk was like, ‘Wow...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hope comes with a haircut at gathering for Tampa’s homeless

Hope comes with a haircut at gathering for Tampa’s homeless

TAMPA — At first, Gerald Williams couldn’t help but flinch when he felt the unfamiliar buzz of an electric hair clipper tickle the back of his neck just behind his ears.It had been at least three years since Williams, 48, cut his hair, he said. For y...
Updated: 10 hours ago
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18
Swizzle it: The tool bartenders turn to for a certain kind of cocktail

Swizzle it: The tool bartenders turn to for a certain kind of cocktail

TAMPA It’s a long stick with an irregular claw at the end, something a little macabre, like a skeletal monkey arm or a ritual tool made out of a chicken foot. It is crafted from the wood of the Quararibea turbinata tree, an aromatic and perenn...
Published: 09/19/18
Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was sued Tuesday by the Arizona Uber driver who has accused him of sexual assault by groping her in March 2016.The woman — identified only as Kate P. in the federal court papers — is seeking m...
Updated: 5 hours ago