BROOKSVILLE — Plans for an upscale recreational vehicle vacation resort north of Brooksville won approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday.
The rezoning, if approved by the County Commission, would let Belle Parc expand from 100 to 182 lots and allow owner James Trefz to add various amenities.
Trefz, of Brooksville Ancient Trail LLC, won't allow RVs older than 10 years and will limit stays at the park to six months or less. He aims to attract upscale visitors and has already made many long-term residents with modest trailers leave the park.
"We want vacation people,'' he said. "We are building a vacation resort, not cheap living for some people.''
Trefz said he planned a green RV park and that residents would be encouraged to travel about on golf carts, which would be available for rental. A clubhouse, swimming, shuffleboard and other in-park activities are also part of the long-term plan.
The 25-acre site is on Ancient Trail, west of U.S. 41 north of Brooksville. Residents of the adjacent Da-Mac Estates had gathered 100 signatures on a petition opposing the expansion.
But at Monday's hearing, Trefz asked commissioners for a few minutes to talk to the planning staff during a break to reach a compromise with neighbors, who were concerned about having RVs parked just behind their homes.
After that break, Trefz said he would cut the number of lots from 197 to 182 and promised a buffer of 90 to 110 feet behind the homes. Residents, in turn, agreed to not submit their petitions.
Planning commissioners wondered why county planners were recommending approval of lots smaller than those required in county rules.
Trefz explained that the new lots would be larger than the 100 existing lots on his site and larger than the lots in just about any other RV park in Hernando County.
Planning director Ron Pianta said rezoning to a planned development was complex and that Trefz had a persuasive argument for the smaller lot sizes. "It should be sufficient for what he's asked to do,'' he said.
The commission also on Monday welcomed new members Tom Deutschle and Denis Riley as well as Lisa Hammond, who becomes a regular commissioner after serving as an alternative. Robert Widmar was elected chairman.
Also during Monday's meeting, the board approved Arc Nature Coast Inc.'s request to build a facility on a 6.3-acre property at Mariner Boulevard and Partridge Street. Arc plans to build a training center on the site for its developmentally disabled Hernando County residents.
"We have long desired to have a permanent site in west Hernando County,'' Mark Barry, executive director for the organization, told planning commissioners.
The facility will also be built to meet special standards so that it can serve as a disaster shelter for the community's developmentally disabled and others in case of a storm or other emergency.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.