BROOKSVILLE — Carnival workers will be able to spend winters at the Hernando County Fairgrounds thanks to a measure approved this week by the City Council.
After a lengthy back-and-forth battle over code issues, the council voted Monday night to approve a special-use permit that will allow the Hernando County Fair Association to lease part of its land for six months as a storage and repair facility for vehicles and equipment.
The measure, which passed unanimously, means the association can offer a long-term contract to North American Midway Enterprises. The company has been leasing the land on an annual basis since 2008 for about $50,000 a year.
North American employees will be allowed to stay in RVs on the site along U.S. 41 continuously between Nov. 1 and May 1. Any major vehicle repairs and painting must be done inside an enclosed structure. In addition, the company's semitrailer truck will not be allowed to use the property's access road on Oliver Street.
The decision came after scrutiny from the council, which in the past has criticized the association for failing to adhere to city construction and land use codes.
Last year, the association was cited for building a drainage culvert without a permit and was also found to be in violation of codes dictating the manner and length of time commercial vehicles and recreational vehicles could be stored.
Fair association president Sandi Nicholson applied for the special exemption in August following a ruling from Attorney General Bill McCollum stating that the association wasn't exempt from local codes.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.