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Brooksville will consider proposal for townhomes on conservation lands

BROOKSVILLE — A townhome project has been proposed for a 37-acre parcel south of Cortez Boulevard and west of Shoal Line Boulevard in an area designated as conservation lands in the Hernando Comprehensive Plan.

Applicants Curtis H. Norman and Zeneda Partners Limited Partnership on Monday will ask the Planning and Zoning Commission to recommend that the County Commission approve a rezoning to allow the one-unit-per-acre project.

The plans have raised concerns for environmental resources from local resident Patti Anglin, who has lived with her husband on the nearby Mud River since the mid 1970s.

"This just disturbs me so badly,'' she said on Friday. "We hate it now with all the boaters that zip by here with the manatees. … These manatees don't stand a chance.''

While the area is designated for conservation, the applicant notes that the county's land development rules designate uplands in a conservation zone that have direct access to the county's road network as residential.

Plans for the project would cluster the townhomes on uplands in a ridge in the center of the site, which is located west and east of Mary's Fish Camp Road. The site would include access to the Mud River, a walking trail, a viewing deck and gazebo.

Because the homes would be in the Coastal High Hazard area, which limits development to one unit per acre, the units would be built with the lower floor with limited usage and a maximum height of three stories. Nine townhome buildings are planned, totalling 37 living units.

A boat ramp and boat and recreational vehicle storage unit are also planned.

"As long-time owners of the property, the applicants have a strong interest in protecting the surrounding environmental features, which include the Mud River and Coastal wetlands,'' according to the application.

A portion of the property has been designated for preservation and storm water retention will fit with the environmental features on site, the applicant wrote.

County staff is recommending that the planning and zoning commission recommend the rezoning to the County Commission with 21 conditions that the applicant must meet.

The staff report acknowledges that "given the flooding potential of the site, there may be instances where the roadways providing both access to and within the development may be impassable due to flooding and/or debris after a storm event.''

The applicant will have to meet minimum roadway standards and ensure access to Mary's Fish Camp.

Staff is requiring that the developer use native vegetation and xeriscaping to minimize impact on natural resources and introduction of non-native and exotic species. Geologic, wildlife and archaeological surveys are required and the developer will have to follow manatee protection requirements for Mud Spring.

None of those conditions relieves Anglin's concerns.

Anglin said she was rallying neighbors and others concerned about the disappearing environmental resources to present their concerns to the planning commissioners on Monday.

"I'm just appalled. I can't believe it,'' she said. "There won't be any nature left.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Brooksville will consider proposal for townhomes on conservation lands 04/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2011 6:32pm]
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