Lawsuit: Mining deal violates growth plan
Disappointed with the County Commission's approval of a mediation settlement that would allow lime rock mining near their homes, a group of homeowners is asking a judge to start from scratch. Robert J. Howell, Terry Hoppenians and Myles Friedland allege in a lawsuit filed this month that by allowing lime rock to be taken from what was a sand mine, the county is violating its long-term growth plan. According to the lawsuit, the proposed mining operation "is not consistent with the existing densities and intensities of both the site and surrounding neighborhood; is not compatible with approved development and development patterns in the area; and does not provide an adequate transition of land uses from mining to single family residential." The residents' lawsuit came a month after commissioners approved a settlement with the mining company, Outlaw Ridge Inc., to prevent a lawsuit on that end. Commissioners had initially denied the developer's request to expand its sand mining operation and blast for lime rock at a location 3 miles south of County Line Road on the west side of U.S. 41. The company then sought relief through mediation. The settlement, approved by the county, another group of homeowners and the company, includes the creation of a $510,000 escrow account to pay for any damages from mining or, if there are none, to cover neighborhood improvements. It gives the developer one 15-year permit with no extensions and specifies that after mining ends, the site must be a park, open space or residential housing.
New association to get grant money
City commissioners will transfer the remaining half of a $20,000 Main Street grant to the newly incorporated Dade City Merchants Association. Downtown Dade City Main Street disbanded in March, leaving a $10,000 balance on a grant from the community redevelopment agency. Business owner Margaret Angel, head of the merchants association, asked that the funds be given to the nonprofit group as seed money to help jump-start operations. The association will take over some of Main Street's events, such as the Christmas Stroll and Christmas in July, said Karen Koser, community redevelopment agency director. The scarecrow festival will be sponsored by the Pioneer Florida Museum, she added.
New flood maps released for review
FEMA has released updated digital flood insurance rate maps for public review and comment prior to their final adoption. The maps show the extent to which areas throughout Pasco county are at risk for flooding. Flood insurance and building requirements will be determined using these new maps, which replace maps that are up to 20 years old. The maps can be viewed online at pascocountyfl.net. Open house meetings will be held to review the maps:
• 4 to 6:30 p.m. July 10 at Sunlake High School, 3023 Sunlake Blvd., Land O'Lakes.
• 4 to 6:30 p.m. July 11 at Wiregrass Ranch High School, 2909 Mansfield Blvd., Wesley Chapel.
For details, call the Stormwater Management Division at (727) 834-3611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov or contact your insurance agent.