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Despite protests, Hernando planning commission gives thumbs-up to two requests

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission members listened Monday as dozens of residents argued against two very different land-use requests.

In the end, the commission voted to recommend approval of a new centralized water plant on a 17.6-acre parcel in Ridge Manor West, adjacent to Sherman Hills, and granted a conditional use permit allowing limited dog agility events on property along Hayman Road, west of Deepwell Drive, south of Brooksville.

Hundreds of east Hernando residents signed petitions against turning the Ridge Manor West parcel into a regional well field and water treatment facility. County Utilities Department officials say that by centralizing wells and water treatment, they can provide service more efficiently.

In November, the County Commission agreed to pay $470,000 to purchase the land from Lee Pallardy Inc. Profit Sharing and 401K Plan, contingent upon a rezoning approval. The current zoning allows construction of 244 duplex and multifamily residential units.

Residents made it clear they wanted no part of a water plant and the two 2 million-gallon storage tanks, nine wells and a building planned for the site.

They said they worried about sinkholes from pumping additional water, threats from chemicals trucked into and stored at the site, and the negative impact such a facility would have on their property values.

With so much undeveloped land in east Hernando, resident Dorene McAndrews said, "there is no reason they had to put this on top of a subdivision.''

Planning commission members voted 3-1 to recommend approval to the County Commission, which will take up the issue next month. Panel member John Scharch voted no, saying the need for the increase in capacity had not been demonstrated by the Utilities Department.

In the other case, Bonnie McDonald sought a conditional use permit to allow her to continue to put on periodic, multiday dog athletic and agility trials at her 21-acre Sonlight Ranch and have some participants park their recreational vehicles on the property.

A dog trainer since the 1970s, McDonald acknowledged surprise when she saw a number of her neighbors file up to the microphone to complain about barking dogs, loudspeakers, gunshots and whistles interrupting the peaceful agricultural neighborhood.

"To me it sounds more like a rally,'' neighbor Sandra Harris said of the events that have already taken place on the property.

McDonald assured the neighbors that there was no gunfire during the dog training and trials, and that she and her family want to be on good terms with them.

Planning commission member Thomas Comunale urged her to meet with the neighbors and answer their concerns. In granting the permit, the commission limited McDonald to 10 events a year and no more than six recreational vehicles on-site at each event.

Despite protests, Hernando planning commission gives thumbs-up to two requests 02/10/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 9:59pm]
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