BROOKSVILLE — Dreams for expanded services for Hernando County's developmentally disabled residents got a boost Monday when the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission approved an expansion for the Arc Nature Coast.
The planning board voted unanimously to grant the organization a special exception permit for the construction of a six-bedroom group home on the south end of its 30-acre site on Neff Lake Road. Because that project has received a state grant, construction will begin later this year, Arc executive director Mark Barry explained.
Currently, the site has just offices, a training center and equestrian facilities. Arc operates four other group homes in Spring Hill.
Arc's future plans include construction of a new training center and demolition of the current center, remodeled office areas and, eventually, more group homes. Those projects would likely be funded through a capital fundraising program and possible future state grants, Barry explained.
Adjacent property owner Tasha Byerly expressed concern about existing drainage issues if the Arc expands on the site. Barry told Byerly and planning commissioners that he will work with everyone to try to improve, rather than increase drainage on the site.
"We have no problem cooperating with our neighbors,'' he said.
The community-based organization, founded in 1973, serves about 200 county residents and provides training, employment and residential services, according to Barry.
Planning commissioners questioned whether the organization could meet a condition set by county planning staff to complete the build out on their master plan within five years. Barry said that was the plan and if they could not meet that, he understood the Arc would have to return before the planning commission to modify their permit.