Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commission votes to send controversial mining plan on for state review

BROOKSVILLE — A standing-room-only crowd of Hernando County residents packed the County Commission chambers on Tuesday, most of them urging commissioners to reject plans that would allow rock mining on hundreds of acres of residential and agricultural land at the western edge of Brooksville.

Many residents warned that the 20-year mining lease proposed for land owned by some of the county's most prominent and influential business leaders would negatively affect property values, ruin wildlife habitat, and taint the water and the air.

But four of five county commissioners were not convinced that the plan was so problematic and voted to send the proposal by Cemex Construction Materials Florida and the land owners to state officials for further review.

After that review, the proposal will return to the commissioners. To give final approval, a super-majority of at least four commissioners will have to vote for a change to the Hernando County Comprehensive Plan allowing the mining expansion and reconfiguration of a commercial project previously approved for part of a 730-acre parcel that fronts State Road 50. Ownership of the various parcels includes former mining executive Tommy Bronson, local lawyer Joe Mason, bank executive Jim Kimbrough and real estate broker Robert Buckner.

Commissioner Diane Rowden cast the opposing vote.

Attorney Darryl Johnston, who represents the property owners, and Cemex expert witnesses argued that many of the residents' criticisms were invalid, including the number of protected species that would lose habitat, the impact of blasting and the potential effects on water, air quality and property values.

Commissioners and the audience watched videos showing a virtual view of the proposed mining operation from the top floor of nearby Bayfront Health Brooksville hospital, as well as what drivers on State Road 50 would see.

Cemex official James Morris said the operation would not be visible from State Road 50, the hospital or Fort Dade Avenue because of berms and tree buffers.

Residents presented more than 1,000 petitions, as well as statements from local doctors and supporting resolutions from groups including a church and nearby Sierra Clubs representing more than 4,000 members. More than 40 people spoke against the proposal.

DeeVon Quirolo, who has led opposition to the plan, told commissioners that the expansion was "a bad deal for Hernando County" and detailed its inconsistency with various parts of the Hernando County Comprehensive Plan.

Hernando commission votes to send controversial mining plan on for state review 12/09/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What you need to know for Wednesday, July 26

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    A heart-shaped box containing Katie Golden's ashes sits next to her picture at her family's South Tampa home. Katie died from a drug overdose in April 2017. She was only 17-years-old. Read about her parents' journey at tampabay.com. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times]
  2. Cuban diplomat reflects on U.S. relationship: 'Cuba was treated horribly'

    Perspective

    Few topics are more controversial in Florida than Cuba, a nation that has held fast to Communism despite lying 90 miles from the shores of a capitalist superpower. It's a place where startling poverty results from either a longtime U.S. trade embargo or a half-century of Communism, depending on one's point of view. …

    Carlos Alzugaray spent a half century as a scholar and diplomat for the Cuban government, including a stint as ambassador to the European Union.
  3. Clearwater residents avoid tax rate increase for ninth year in row

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Residents will avoid a rate hike on their property taxes for the ninth year in a row as taxable values continue to recover from recession levels, padding city coffers.

    Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos said the city must be prepared for unexpected expenses. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  4. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  5. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries

    Blogs

    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.