Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando commissioners okay rezoning of land that expands mine site

BROOKSVILLE — To understand the full impact on her community, Nancy Frizelle said, you actually have to live there.

That's why Frizelle, president of the Whispering Oaks Estates Homeowners Association, invited county commissioners to come to her house when the next blast erupts at the nearby E.R. Jahna Industries rock mine.

"You will get a firsthand experience of what the sensation is,'' she said. "It will give you maybe a different view of things.''

Commissioners didn't take Frizelle up on her offer.

Instead, they unanimously approved the rezoning of 112 acres — the first step in an expansion of the mine's existing 660-acre site that will bring blasting and mining closer to some residential areas of Ridge Manor, on the county's east side.

Neighbors have voiced concerns about the effect the explosions have had and will have on their homes and their peace.

"This is a quality of life issue to us,'' said Lynn Gruber-White, vice president of the Ridge Manor Property Owners Association.

While she said officials with the mine have been working with residents, they still have concerns.

The acreage has always been identified as mining land in the county's comprehensive plan and on the future land use map. But Gruber-White noted that other county maps list the land as Equestrian Trails, a platted subdivision that was never built. She said neighbors assumed that, if the mine ever expanded, it would be to the east and not to the north.

Darryl Johnston, the attorney representing Jahna, told commissioners that at an earlier hearing before the county's Planning and Zoning Commission, it had become clear that residents did not know to whom to complain when they worry about the effects of blasting. It was also clear that the residents want to be on the notification list so they knew when blasting will occur.

Johnston said mining officials are taking care of those concerns.

He also assured both the residents and the commission that the mine does not blast above the "base level,'' and as long as it stays below that level there should be no damage to nearby property.

In addition, Johnston noted that the rezoning approval does not give Jahna permission to mine. There are still permits that must be sought, followed by an extensive master planning process with the county that will include discussion of issues such as buffering and setbacks.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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