The plan called for a facility to treat sewage, and more than a dozen residents of a rural Hernando County neighborhood on Monday told the Planning and Zoning Commission the idea stinks.
"We built our retirement house in that area," said Carmen Mariani. "This is going to smell because you're dealing with human waste."
Others were worried that trucks using the limerock road would kick up even more dust and cause damage.
Despite the protests, the planning commission voted to recommend that the County Commission approve Anthony Crescenzo's plans for a lime stabilization facility on a 12- acre tract on the south side of Sweet Gum Road west of Sunshine Grove Road.
The facility would include two 10,000-gallon underground tanks in which sewage sludge would be mixed with lime for spraying the material.
Crescenzo told planning commission members that he would grow hay on the site and use the treated sewage as fertilizer. He agreed to only five trucks a day visiting the site. Since he already has permission to use the land as a site to spray treated sewage, he said he could run many more trucks up the road now.
Increased traffic was just one of the concerns raised. Water quality degrading was one; quality of home life was another.
"They should be doing this in a place where nobody lives," said Cynthia Pope, who worried her grandchildren would never be able to play outside again with the smell of sewage in the air.
Neighbors also worried about their property values. "For one person to profit, everyone else is going to lose money," said nearby neighbor Robert Gonzalez Jr.
Crescenzo and his representative Ty Mullis said the facility will not smell and groundwater would not be harmed.
Planning commission members also voiced concerns about dangers to neighbors and the groundwater, but member Robert Widmar said the concerns should be alleviated because Crescenzo has been and will be dealing directly with the Department of Health.
Mullis said Crescenzo was providing a needed service in an appropriate rural setting. "It has to go somewhere," he said.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.