BROOKSVILLE — The long-abandoned Kmart building in Spring Hill moved a step closer to a new life Monday as the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend approval of a revised master plan and rezoning.
The plan would carve three parcels from the property's U.S. 19 frontage on areas that are now part of the parking lot. The building would be available for some less-intensive commercial use, such as storage or a furniture store, said Don Lacey, representing owner Spring Hill Note Holding Company LLC.
The owner is talking to someone interested in one of the parcels. The building planned for that lot would share a wall with the old Kmart in the area that had been a plant nursery. Originally part of Timber Pines, the 10-acre site is between Trenton Avenue and Timber Pines Drive.
William Tesh, general manager of the Timber Pines Homeowners Association, voiced mixed feelings about the project.
He said community members would like something done with the old Kmart because "it is an eyesore," but they wanted assurance that whatever replaced it was not going to be a nuisance.
County planning staffers said that there were limits on what could be placed on the site.
"We understand what the concerns of the neighbors are," said Ron Pianta, the county planning director.
Planning commission members had other concerns, many of them focused on the strip of pavement that runs along the side of the old store, which is part of Forest Road and is used as a neighborhood access road in and out of Timber Pines and the other commercial properties along U.S. 19.
The western edge of that road is the wall of the old Kmart building, and planning commissioners were concerned about safety and liability. Before the final hearing on the project with the County Commission, owner representatives and county officials will examine the site to determine what can be done to make it safer and who should pay for improvements.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.