12/06/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The debate over the importance of preserving industrially zoned land near the county's airport could soon land before the Hernando County Commission.
Earlier this month, the county's Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve a special exception use permit to allow a church on a 16-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Anderson Snow Road and Corporate Boulevard....
BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County is preparing to change some of the rules regarding how the owners of agricultural land can use their property.
The regulations need to be updated, according to the county staff, partly because of the changing business of agriculture and partly to put to use some lessons learned in recent years.
The proposed changes, for which a public hearing has been scheduled Tuesday, will primarily affect roadside retail stands, wineries, the spreading of domestic septage on land and the growing interest in new farming technologies such as hydroponics....
11/29/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — As Hernando County works to spend the last of the federal dollars it received to stabilize neighborhoods crushed by the housing bust, it is casting a broader net.
The need: more qualifying foreclosed homes.
When county officials decided to seek another $1.95 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in 2011, they identified a compact neighborhood in Spring Hill in which to use the money....
11/26/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The concerns came quickly.
After a divided Hernando County Commission decided last month to not provide an attorney for Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut, who faces a defamation lawsuit, Commissioner Jim Adkins cautioned that the commission had "sent the wrong signal.''
Most certainly a confusing one.
Since that vote, several commissioners say they have heard from volunteers on county boards, and members of two advisory boards have publicly posed questions about how protected they are as individuals....
11/22/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — In two different jurisdictions this week, judges denied injunctions in building permit disputes with the Hernando County Building Department.
In each case, the attorney for the landowner said he hoped the court's action would lead to an out-of-court solution.
In the first case, in which the county has declared six partially built home in the Trails at Rivard as unsafe, the denial of the injunction by a circuit judge on Friday came with an order to go to mediation within 20 days....
11/19/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — For the last several years, Hernando County public works officials have been working with state and federal officials to evaluate, map and fix flooding concerns in more than 20 watersheds across the county.
The work is nearing completion, and that will bring benefits to Hernando residents, county storm water engineer Clay Black told the County Commission on Tuesday.
Taking the time and spending money to complete the project could translate into lower flood insurance premiums, grant funding for projects to prevent floods and a more-informed citizenry that will know ahead of time where flooding is likely to occur....
BROOKSVILLE — The traditional photograph of local dignitaries cutting a ribbon with giant ceremonial scissors was one way to mark the opening of another significant business expansion at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
But on Friday, in front of more than 200 government and business officials and company employees, County Commission Chairman Dave Russell wanted to give the ribbon cutting a broader significance....
11/15/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Once facing closure, the Little Rock Cannery has seen a surge of activity recently as a local business group has been working to build partnerships and create a sustainable program.
While the Hernando County Commission agreed to give the Leadership Hernando organization until January to find a way to keep the cannery open, commission members indicated this week they would be willing to fund the program through the end of the fiscal year — Sept. 30, 2014....
11/13/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Unswayed by concerns that future economic development could be jeopardized, the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a church on 16 acres of industrially zoned property.
The pastor, representatives and members of Crosspoint Church argued that their plans for a 1,600-seat church adjacent to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center would do more good for the community than harm....
11/12/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The issues debated were familiar.
Lime rock roads are expensive to maintain. They throw dust clouds into the air that sicken those with breathing issues and coat houses, trees and vehicles with a white film.
On the other side of the argument, paving the roads costs a lot of money, too, and people who bought property on lime rock roads should have known what they were in for....
11/07/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — When it comes to incompatible land uses, plans for mines, landfills, motocross tracks and gun ranges almost always will draw opposition.
Churches are usually a different case.
But on Wednesday, Hernando County's planning staff will recommend that the Planning and Zoning Commission reject a special exception use permit for a place of worship for the growing Spring Hill-based Crosspoint Church....
11/06/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Costa Homes, builder of the Trails at Rivard, has filed a lawsuit against Hernando County, seeking to stop the county's plan to demolish unfinished homes in the community and asking that permits to complete the structures be reinstated.
Filed on Friday — the deadline the county had set for Costa Homes president Paul Bakkalapulo to pick up new permits or face demolition — the complaint accuses Hernando County government of failing to provide due process before canceling permits to complete six partially built homes in Rivard....
11/05/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County government has weathered the financial downturn over the last five years by relying largely on cash reserves and employee attrition.
As property values and tax revenues fell, the number of employees dropped. Departing workers were not replaced and others were let go due to consolidation.
In some departments, services suffered. It took the controversial euthanization of a dog to get the County Commission to step forward and add staff at Animal Services last year....
11/05/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — County officials are preparing to demolish six homes in the Trails at Rivard that have sat unfinished for years after the builder missed a key deadline last week.
Paul Bakkalapulo of Costa Homes had until Friday to obtain permits to complete the homes; otherwise demolition would begin. County building officials kept vigil until the close of business on Friday, but no one came to pay for and pick up the permits or post the required bond or $10,000 in escrow per site....
11/01/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County government hasn't been doing everything it could to protect itself from legal liability.
County Commissioner Diane Rowden raised the issue last week when she discovered that the county has not been following the commission's own policy requiring people who do volunteer work or who serve on advisory boards to sign a waiver of liability.
"My question to administration was: Who dropped the ball here?'' Rowden said. "But I don't think we need to be blaming people. What we need to do here is fix the problem.''...