Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco commissioners reject concrete plant expansion after protests from residents

NEW PORT RICHEY — Neighbors opposed to an Odessa concrete plant seeking permission to allow more intense uses on its property won a key battle Tuesday when the County Commission denied the owners' request.

A + Concrete, which had been mixing wet concrete since 2011 due to a county error, wanted a land use change to bring it into compliance with the county code. But that would require that the area, which had been zoned light industrial, be changed to heavy industrial, which conflicts with a county policy not to approve such uses next to residential areas.

A + sits on State Road 54 at Black Lake Road in Odessa, right next to the 311-home Ashley Lakes neighborhood.

"This is a very difficult request to evaluate," planning director Richard Gehring wrote in a memo. Approving the request would put the land use in compliance with activities currently going on and subject the property to regulations from state and federal agencies. But it would allow a heavy use close to homes.

The policy forbids that "to protect residences from the adverse impacts of smoke, fumes, vibrations, light, glare, odors and noise."

Despite the commission's vote against changing the long-term growth plan, they put off a companion request to rezone the property until Jan. 28 after A + submitted a thick stack of documents on the matter. The county attorney will review them and report to the board.

Staff initially recommended approval with conditions. But that got changed to denial in the end after nearly a dozen residents showed up at an earlier meeting in September to oppose the request.

They said dust had infiltrated their homes and settled on their cars, and the trucks made too much noise in the morning and at night.

On Tuesday, they reemphasized those concerns.

"Dust builds up when children don't clean their rooms," said Aaron Dakoff, who brought an outdoor thermometer that was coated in a thin layer of sticky concrete. "This is cement."

He said all day long, residents must endure heavy truck brakes and concrete in the air. "It's relentless."

The nearly 4.5-acre site was originally part of a 14-acre parcel, with a zoning of agricultural residential in 1987. In 2003 it was changed to a mix of light industrial and heavy industrial with some conditions.

The property was used as a staging area for the widening of SR 54 and was leased by the Florida Department of Transportation.

In 2010, A + took over the lease and started a dry mix business. It asked to have a wet-mix tower in 2011.

Thinking this was a continuation of an existing use, county staff signed off on the permit. That was a mistake, as a ready-mix requires a heavy industrial land use.

A code enforcement violation brought the error to the attention of staff. The business has been cited for an illegal construction trailer as well as illegal signs.

Steve Booth, attorney for A + owner Rob Brue, said his client was misled by county staff that his new wet mix tower was okay, only to be told later after spending more than $1 million that it wasn't.

"We've been led down the primrose path," Booth said. He added that the only difference between a wet mix and a dry mix is "we add water and it improves things."

But most of the commissioners didn't see it that way. Chairman Jack Mariano said Brue's own attorneys should have advised him that wet mix operations were not allowed in light industrial areas.

But Commissioner Ted Schrader, who was the lone no vote on denial, said he feared the county's errors might leave it open to a legal challenge.

"I would agree with the residents this is not a compatible use for this particular area," he said. "But staff has made numerous errors. This puts the county at monumental financial risk. We can't ignore that."

Pasco commissioners reject concrete plant expansion after protests from residents 12/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]