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Commissioners decide to plug street shortcut

Hernando County commissioners voted Tuesday to close a popular shortcut in eastern Spring Hill. The county will close Lawrence Street at its intersection with Barclay Avenue south of the Brookridge subdivision. Lawrence Street hooks up with Landover Boulevard and provides access to south and central Spring Hill.

But residents along Lawrence Street have complained for months that the road was poorly built and never designed to handle the traffic load it is being forced to carry. The speeders along the street are a life-threatening menace, they said.

Public Works director Bob Nanni and Northwest Fire District Chief Mike Nickerson recommended that the road remain open for safety reasons. But commissioners said the continuing traffic was a greater threat.

The commissioners will review the closing in six months. Officials estimate that Barclay Avenue will be extended to Spring Hill Drive by that time, and Lawrence will no longer be the shortcut it is today.

Glen Lakes become short-term rentals

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow short-term rentals in a portion of the Glen Lakes subdivision north of Weeki Wachee.

County ordinances prohibit the rental of homes or apartments in residential neighborhoods for vacation-length stays. But the Glen Lakes developer asked for a zoning change to permit such rentals.

Residents of the upscale subdivision originally opposed the change, fearing the influx of renters would bring instability to the community. But the opposition disappeared after the developer removed about 30 acres from the plan, leaving a 46-acre tract eligible for the rentals.

Ted Lincks, an engineer representing the developer, said the change would make it easier to market the subdivision in the North because prospective buyers would have a place to stay while studying the area.

Guido Inc. gets expansion approval

Guido's Food Co. Inc. received the county's blessing for a $1.5-million expansion into the county's Airport Industrial Park.

The commission gave its unanimous approval to issue $1.5-million in industrial revenue bonds so the company can build a 16,000-square-foot facility where it will make frozen pizzas for schools and other institutions.

The approval allows the company to borrow money at a favorable rate, but does not obligate the county to pay back the bonds.

Economic development director Al Fluman said the company will employ about 35 people at the plant initially, and it has plans to employ up to 70.

Pollution registration plan gets okay

The commission took steps to monitor pollution in the county by authorizing a process to register potential sources of environmental problems.

The commission also agreed to hire an environmental technician to manage three air-monitoring stations Hernando will be getting from the state and to assist Kathy Liles, the county's environmental planner. The cost will be about $25,000 a year.

The commissioners authorized the planning staff to prepare a registration program for pollution sources in the county. But they stopped short of forming a separate environmental protection department that would have the same power as the state Department of Environmental Regulation (DER).

The DER has agreed to provide the county with three stations to monitor the amount of dust and sulfur dioxide in the county's air, Liles said, but county officials do not know when the stations will be installed.

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