BROOKSVILLE — Neighbors of the sprawling Cemex mining operation complained to the Hernando planning board Monday about potential damage to animal habitat and to their own homes if a massive expansion is approved.
Cemex has proposed adding 573 acres to its operation north of Brooksville and is seeking a change to the county's Future Land Use Map to accommodate that expansion and another 157 acres adjacent for a commercial overlay area.
The expansion would bring the mining operation south to Cortez Boulevard on land bordered on the east and north by Fort Dade Avenue.
At the request of the applicant, the Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to delay the planned hearing but allowed public input before reaching that decision.
Because of the many concerns raised, planning commissioners agreed to require that Cemex meet with the community before re-advertising the formal planning commission public hearing.
Alyce Walker, a longtime caretaker of the adjacent Spring Hill Cemetery, worried about the impact of mining on the tranquility of the graveyard. "I have four generations out there,'' she noted.
Other residents worried about possible impacts on their water wells and pointed out that they bought land in that part of Hernando County because it is peaceful and the surrounding zoning indicated it would remain that way.
Cynthia Dietrich, a six-year resident of Fort Dade Avenue, said it came down to money versus the quality of life and that residents who fought the mining expansions in the past were told it was simply progress.
"How far does progress have to go?'' she asked planning commissioners. "To your front door?"
In other business
• Planning commissioners voted unanimously to recommend approval to the County Commission of a 199-foot-tall cell phone tower to be placed on the property of the Coast Guard Auxiliary on Shoal Line Boulevard at Calienta Street.
The tower, by Charlie Dean Towers II Inc., would provide for five carriers and also the equipment from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
• Plans to expand the space utilized by ATA Career Education into the old Winn-Dixie space on Spring Hill Drive at Kass Circle got initial approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The business, which opened last year, hopes to add another 9,300 square feet to the 3,900 used now for classrooms and laboratories to provide a variety of medical training classes from practical nursing to medical billing and coding classes.
The final approval rests with the County Commission.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.