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Hernando planning board okays permits for homeless program, paddleboarding lessons

BROOKSVILLE — Plans for an expansion of Jericho Road Ministries got the unanimous support of the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday, this time without any public opposition.

The approval the commission granted for another application, for a home-based business teaching paddleboarding lessons, didn't sail through quite as easily.

The Jericho Road proposal is to use a 9,910-square-foot building on the east side of Broad Street, north of Campbell Drive on the north side of Brooksville, for a shelter for 30 men. The building, used as a church and a school previously, would house homeless men who are enrolled in Jericho Road's New Life Program, an 11-month program that helps the men transition back into work and the community.

The approval will allow the charity to convert its existing facility on Mondon Hill Road into a screening location and for temporary beds for the homeless.

A plan to build a 48-bed shelter on Jericho Road's site on Howell Avenue in Brooksville met with strong neighborhood opposition in 2010. That facility was ultimately approved by the Hernando County Commission, but a grant slated for the construction fell through and the shelter was not built.

There was no public comment on the new proposal Monday.

Planning commission members approved the special exception use permit after ironing out issues related to buffering the site from surrounding lots and parking of residents' cars on site.

Jerry and Pam Napp of Weeki Wachee also sought a special exception use permit to teach up to two students at a time how to do standing paddleboarding from their canal-front home on E Richard Drive near the Weeki Wachee River.

However, dozens of neighbors signed letters and petitions opposing the application. They voiced concerns about setting a precedent to use the residential neighborhood for commercial purposes. They were also worried about traffic and bringing strangers into their quiet neighborhood.

Planning commissioners determined that the neighborhood impact would be minimal, especially with the limited number of students expected.

Planning and zoning approvals for such permits are final unless the County Commission decides to hear an appeal.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando planning board okays permits for homeless program, paddleboarding lessons 04/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 9, 2012 2:58pm]
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