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Planners' vote for Hernando Beach marina is an outrage

Editor: The homeowners of Hernando Beach have been dumped on again, this time by three members of the unelected Hernando County Planning and Zoning Board. These three do not live on Hernando Beach and have no understanding of the concerns of Hernando Beach homeowners.

The professionals in the Planning and Zoning Department are highly qualified, and they strongly advised against Sterling Marina's rezoning application. Let's hope the County Commission votes to follow the advice of the Planning and Zoning Department experts instead of those three ill-advised amateurs.

Hernando Beach has four major entrance canals. The northernmost and the southernmost canals have always carried a heavy flow of commercial traffic. The two central canals have traditionally had almost no commercial traffic. It is the reasonable expectation of homeowners on those two central canals that they will remain almost entirely for recreational boat traffic. To ram the Sterling Marina rezoning application down the throats of homeowners would drastically damage the traditional character of the area.

Recently, the County Commission wisely voted against a rezoning application to allow a commercial boat dock at the end of the other central canal. It is predictable that if the Sterling Marina application is approved, the owners of the property who were refused rezoning will reapply. If they are successful, then Hernando Beach will suffer two canals converting to heavy commercial traffic, and there will be no remaining main canals that are not heavily commercial.

One of the main reasons the Homeowners Alliance of Hernando Beach was formed was to oppose all forms of disruptive commercial intrusion in residential areas. The members who attended the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing were outraged the three who voted against the homeowners were evidently dazzled by the presentation of Sterling Marina's lawyer (which contained some highly questionable statements), while we were just a dozen neighbors speaking out as best we could. This should be a wake-up call for homeowners countywide.

Many homeowners of Hernando Beach are asking the following questions:

When did Sterling Marina first consider applying for CM-2 (heavy commercial) rezoning?

Why didn't Sterling Marina apply for CM-2 rezoning before starting construction?

Why did they wait until this project was almost finished to apply for rezoning from CM-1 to CM-2?

Could this all be a tactic to try to "outsmart" the county?

Why didn't the Planning and Zoning Board ask these questions?

Joe Bennett, Hernando Beach

Recent water decisions

make no sense at all

Editor: Re: Swiftmud decision a permit for folly, May 4 editorial about Swiftmud approving a landowner's request to fill ditches with water for airboat racing:

Where is the logic for such a decision? Homeowners have thousands of dollars invested in their yards and in their community, and we are restricted to the point many will need to replace their yards. How can anyone in their right mind justify such action?

The watering of two days a week was a no-brainer, too. There is no water pressure, since we are all doing the same thing at the same time. Hernando County Administrator Paul McIntosh made a wise suggestion to water Monday through Friday with guidelines. It makes more sense than racing airboats. In the meantime, let's pray for rain.

Joyce Teague, Brooksville

How about a happy face for Paul Sullivan?

Editor: Please get a different, happier picture of County Commission Chairman Paul Sullivan. The one you always use looks like he has just smelled something unpleasant.

I know he's capable of a happier countenance; I have seen it a few times on the Channel 19 Sominex review.

John Albert, Spring Hill

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