Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

Developer seeks to reverse decision on church near Hernando airport

BROOKSVILLE — The developer of the Holland Spring Industrial Park has made one last pitch to the Hernando County Commission to reverse a decision allowing a church on land that originally was part of the park.

In a letter written by attorney Bruce Snow, developer Johannes Schalekamp asks that the County Commission reverse a decision by the county's Planning and Zoning Commission because he says industrial land is rare, placing a church on the land will hurt the chances of industrial development on other nearby parcels and the church is not a compatible use.

The arguments are familiar because they are some of the same reasons the county's planning staff, business development manager and airport director recommended denial of the church's application several months ago.

Spring Hill-based Crosspoint Church wants to build a 50,000-square-foot sanctuary on a 16-acre parcel at Anderson Snow Road and Corporate Boulevard. A school, a day care and other programs may follow. The industrial park is near Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and is within the Airport Planned Development District.

Last month, church attorney Darryl Johnston persuaded members of the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve the special exception use permit for the church.

Several weeks later, the formal approval appeared as an informational item on the County Commission's agenda. Commissioner Wayne Dukes argued that because the staff and the planning commission were at odds, the County Commission should exercise its prerogative to hold its own public hearing.

Commissioners Diane Rowden and acting board Chairman Jim Adkins agreed. Commissioner Nick Nicholson was the sole no vote.

Chairman Dave Russell arrived later, and, after a break, Russell reconvened the meeting and gave the floor to Adkins to reconsider the motion. In the second vote, Russell, Nicholson and Adkins voted against another hearing, allowing the permit to stand.

No explanation was given for the reversal.

Snow's letter urging another reconsideration is on today's County Commission agenda as correspondence to note. It will be up to commissioners whether they want to discuss it or let the permit stand.

Snow's client, MRJ Real Estate Investments, owns a 70-acre tract of industrial land adjacent to the land the church plans to buy.

The County Commission should reconsider its decision and deny the permit to the church "as being inconsistent with the county's comprehensive plan," Snow argued.

The comprehensive plan would be even more compromised if the church places a school on the site in the future, he said.

"The location of a school within an industrial zoning district would most certainly have a deleterious effect on the industrial development potential of the sites industrially zoned,'' Snow noted.

The school would require another review and public hearing before planning commissioners.

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