Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

A+ Concrete turned down as Pasco commission sides with residents

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County commissioners Tuesday sided with Odessa residents who say a nearby concrete plant should go because it creates noise, vibrations and dust clouds that coat their homes and cars.

"Put it this way, I can clean my black mailbox and two days later it is completely coated with dust," said Ashley Lakes resident Janet Felts, who added she worries about respiratory problems in her and her two children.

Felts and other residents of the 311-home enclave south of State Road 54 have complained for years, saying Pasco County staff shouldn't have approved the plant next to a residential community.

At a two-hour hearing Tuesday, commissioners sought to address those mistakes while deciding a legal argument about whether A+ Concrete should stay.

"I can tell you that errors were made," Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein told commissioners. "They were made in 2006 and 2011. Staff never looked at the zoning and never looked at the land use."

Goldstein argued that despite receiving permits, the plant shouldn't have opened under rules that require concrete plants at industrial sites.

Officials had sought to hold a zoning hearing with the company last year, but A+ opted to argue "vested rights," a legal concept that protects homes and businesses from eviction because of vested rights to a property.

In this case, A+ Concrete attorney David Smolker argued the company operated in good faith, sought permits for its dry-mix and wet-mix concrete business and received them. As a result, it shouldn't be forced to move.

Commissioners unanimously disagreed, arguing that a permitting mistake doesn't give a business the right to skirt planning and zoning rules.

It's unclear what will happen next. Smolker said his client might go to court. Commissioners said they would be willing to fast-track approvals to help the company relocate.

In other business, commissioners created a Municipal Service Boundary Unit in Trinity to pay for 42 acres the county bought to stop an apartment project.

About 1,550 homes within the boundary — in Heritage Lake, Riverchase, Riverside Village Estates and Southern Oaks — will be assessed $67 a year over 15 years to pay back the $3 million purchase. The land will be set aside for a park or remain as open space, the way it is now.

Most of the 150 residents applauded the deal. State Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, helped secure $1.5 million from the state to cut the annual assessment from $135 to $67. He said he's "very confident" he can secure another $1.5 million next year to eliminate the assessment.

Not everyone was pleased by the assessment idea, though.

"Your proposal to levy an additional tax burden on targeted property owners as a source of funds to pay off a developer represents a total abdication of your duties and responsibilities to oversee responsible and compatible development," Southern Oaks resident Cindy Fargo said.

Rich Shopes can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.

Comments
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 5 minutes ago

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Amtrak train strikes, kills 60-year-old woman in Lakeland

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Palm Harbor woman, 23, killed while crossing Seminole Boulevard

SEMINOLE — A 23-year-old Palm Harbor woman was fatally injured when she was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while crossing Seminole Boulevard on Wednesday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 8:4...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely, was wante...
Updated: 28 minutes ago

Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

Izzo was released on $1.5 million bail in August 2014 while he awaited his trial for the murder of his wife’s ex-husband. He suffered severe head injuries after a motorcycle crash in 2015.In January, circuit judge Chris Helinger found him incompetent...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 30 minutes ago
Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event.Ariel Martinez, owner of Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse, has already receiv...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Updated: 1 hour ago