BROOKSVILLE — Siding with homeowners who do not want businesses encroaching into their neighborhood, the Hernando County planning board on Monday rejected plans for a plaza at the entrance to the Oaks subdivision.
Calling it a "travesty," John Bloom, president of United Communities of Hernando County, said, "this is residential property and people bought their homes because it was residential property."
The proposal would have changed the zoning on the 1.7-acre parcel from residential to neighborhood commercial, allowing small businesses such as an accounting firm and a day care center, said Richard Matassa for applicant St. Joseph Development LLC.
County planning director Ron Pianta told the Planning and Zoning Commission that staffers recommended denial because the plan was too intense a land use on Barclay Avenue, where the county does not plan commercial development other than at major intersections.
Matassa argued that the property proposed for the plaza wasn't in compliance with the county's Comprehensive Plan now, but changing the zoning would bring it in line. Pianta disagreed, saying the current zoning was in compliance.
The recommendation to deny now goes to the County Commission for a final decision.
In other action, the commission agreed to recommend that the County Commission approve a land-use change to allow Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative to build a substation on the north side of Croom Road west of Nottingham Forest Drive. But it also added significant buffers to surrounding properties and the road.
Commission members worried that the substation would be an eyesore and added conditions to set a buffer around the property, shield the equipment behind an 8-foot-tall, green, opaque fence and require landscaping that would grow to 14 feet when mature.
Also, the commission voted to recommend approval to the County Commission of a rezoning to allow a used car lot on the east side of Linden Avenue north of Spring Hill Drive, despite petitions signed by nearly 80 people concerned about increases in crime and traffic.
Applicants Rocco and Louise Manuele said there would not be a significant increase in traffic to the site, which is now a tool repair shop, because much of their business would be promoted through the Internet.