BROOKSVILLE — A general store planned for a conservation zone that drew protests last year was back before Hernando County planners Monday, this time with traffic — and bear — safety as the sticking points.
After residents worried about groundwater contamination complained about plans to have gas pumps at the store, county officials in December approved the project only if the gas component were dropped.
On Monday, the Planning and Zoning Commission considered whether there was enough access to the store, to be built on the northeast corner of Shoal Line and Osowaw boulevards south of Hernando Beach.
Alan Garman, a representative of developer Dial One LC, asked planning commission members to reconsider the agreement that allows only one access point and to add a right-turn-only entrance off of Osowaw for vehicles traveling west.
With boaters heading for Hernando Beach and Aripeka part of the anticipated customer base, another access is needed so boats on trailers can get in and out, he explained.
Linda Prescott, a Hernando Beach resident who has opposed the project since its early stages, opposed the request, noting that the intersection is already dangerous. "There are a lot of traffic accidents," she said.
Prescott, a member of the Gulf Coast Conservancy, also asked the developer to add another special condition to plans for the 1.66-acre parcel.
Since the area is adjacent to the Weekiwachee Preserve and is a known bear crossing, she asked that bear-proof trash bins be required. She reminded the planning commission members of a recent highly publicized photo of a bear cub near Ocala with an empty jar stuck on its head.
Garman said that if bear-proofing is not very expensive, the developer would be willing to work with state wildlife officials to incorporate that idea into its green-building design. Developer Gary Grubbs was dealing with similar issues in a project in Pasco County, he said.
The planning commission unanimously approved the access route and bear-proofing changes to the project master plan, which will be considered by the County Commission as an upcoming meeting.