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Proposed school dangerous proposition for subdivision

I have been a resident and board member of Oakridge Estates' property owners' association for 13 years. I have become actively involved each time our community has been confronted with the threat of large public buildings in the center of our subdivision. The rezoning application currently being considered for a K-8 school on 41.5 acres between Oakridge Estates and Orchard Park is the fourth time our community has asked to be heard.

This is definitely not the location to put any public facility. The property owned by FJGH Inc. (Dr. Tony Massie) is surrounded by homes. It is "house-locked." With the exception of only 18 acres immediately to the west of Dr. Massie's property, there are only private homes surrounding the site.

All the roads to be used as access to and from the proposed school are local residential roads. They were not designed to include the traffic burden generated by a school. As previously rezoned, the property would have accommodated 54 half-acre homes. This would have created about 350 cars per day, traveling at all different times throughout the day. As per the traffic study submitted, this figure will increase to 2,660. However, the bulk of this traffic nightmare will be at school pick-up and drop-off times for a half-hour twice a day.

Dunkirk Road is dangerous. The hairpin curve immediately after Sleepy Willow Court on Dunkirk has been the location of a number of serious, life-threatening accidents. The suggested speed is 15 mph, but is not always adhered to. Now, the traffic study report says that traffic on Stephanie Drive, which empties onto Dunkirk Road, will increase from 142 cars a day to 960.

I have names, dates and newspaper articles of homes that were damaged from vehicles that ran into them. One car actually went through the bedroom wall of a couple, missing them by only 2 feet. Another car sped through the garage of a home on Dunkirk and Stephanie Drive. The driver had to be flown to Bayfront Medical Center. A third vehicle was going so fast the driver stopped only after colliding with a concrete light pole, knocking it to the ground. Numerous traffic citations and warnings have been issued, but this does not discourage the speeders that use Dunkirk Road as a shortcut from Waterfall Drive to Mariner Boulveard. Yet, when we, as a community, asked the county for a street light on Dunkirk Road, we were told the traffic did not merit it.

If someone were to die as a result of an accident, would a street light then be put up? Our elected and appointed county officials must not put our children in that dangerous environment. Dunkirk is dangerous!

The sinkhole situation in Oakridge Estates is getting worse by the day. Four homes on Sleepy Willow Court and Stephanie Drive (immediately adjacent to the property suggested for a school) have had months of extensive work done to restore them in the past year due to sinkholes. One of those homes was totaled by the insurance company and the owner had to move. The same problem exists in Orchard Park, also bordering the proposed school site.

When a resident of Orchard Park said he could not secure homeowners insurance, due to the sinkholes in ZIP code 34608, the Planning and Zoning Commission's only concern was if the School Board could get insurance for the proposed school. The answer was "Yes, we are self-insured." All schools are self-insured with taxpayers' money.

The Hernando School Board submitted a traffic study to the planning commission that began Feb. 16 (paid for by the property owner). That day was rainy and the following day was a legal holiday (Washington's Birthday) when all schools and many offices were closed. Thus, a less than normal traffic pattern was recorded and unfair test results were submitted. How dare they use the collector road at Deltona Elementary to our local roads as a comparison.

They also submitted two applications to change a zoning classification to the planning commission. Both applications stated that the distance to central sewer services located at Mariner Boulevard is approximately 1,000 feet. This is grossly understated. The actual distance is 4,600 feet. This would cause an immense cost to the taxpayers to extend to central sewer systems.

For these reasons, I and 800 other signed petitioners, of all ages, professions and walks of life, cannot all be wrong.

_ Nancy Pasculli lives in Spring Hill. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.