Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Residents upset by renewed lime rock mining plan near Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — By the time Wednesday night's 90-minute-long meeting was finished, all Brooksville resident Steve Davey could do was shake his head in frustration.

Davey owns two pieces of property on Fort Dade Avenue, just west of Brooksville, that back up to 575 acres that Cemex wants to mine for lime rock. The land is designated for residential development. Nearly three years ago, Davey sat in the same room with many of the same people voicing the same concerns.

"Nothing has changed," he said.

Cemex's attorney for the proposed land-use change, Darryl Johnston, explained that issues among the ownership group, which includes some of the county's most prominent businessmen, were the reason for the multiyear delay.

"It had nothing to do with citizen outcry," Johnston said.

Company officials explained the details of the mining plans and the steps they would have to follow to obtain the necessary approvals, starting with a change to the county's future land-use map. Before any of the approvals can be considered, the county required Cemex to conduct Wednesday's public inquiry meeting.

The entire process could take three to five years, said James Morris, regional environmental manager for Cemex.

The site is bordered by Cortez Boulevard on the south, Fort Dade Avenue on the west and north and Cobb Road on the east, near the Brooksville city limits.

Nearby residents asked why Cemex couldn't do its mining in an area where houses would not be affected and why the company even needed to mine since there is not much of a current demand for the raw building material.

"The rock is where the good Lord put it. … We're limited to where the resource is," said Alan MacVicar, the safety, health and environmental director for Cemex.

He added that, since there are only a handful of suppliers, there is, in fact, a demand for the rock and its byproducts.

Morris said that no new jobs would be created, but that the expansion would allow Cemex to keep its current workforce of 260 employed for an additional 20 years.

"I am deeply disturbed by this," said Brooksville resident DeeVon Quirolo, who said the mine would be "a diminishment of my quality of life."

Quirolo detailed numerous issues she has with the plan. While mining might have been acceptable in the past, she said, "this is a new time," and the county and city are trying to market their history and their assets to tourists.

Potential pollution, noise, impacts on Bayfront Health Brooksville across the street and the nearby historic Spring Hill Cemetery, and damage to the canopy of trees stretching across Fort Dade Avenue were among Quirolo's other concerns.

She and others noted that they did not believe that after 20 years of mining and completion of reclamation that a residential community would be planned for the site, as owners of the property have indicated.

Brooksville lawyer Joe Mason, a member of the ownership group, said no new residential lots are needed in the county now, but, by the time the land was reclaimed, there likely would again be demand.

Other members of the ownership group include Tommy Bronson, Jim Kimbrough, Robert Buckner and Zeneda Partners Limited Partnership.

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