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  1. Hernando

Planning commission recommends approval of zoning for machine shop and truck repair business in Ridge Manor

BROOKSVILLE — Ridge Manor residents say a proposed machine shop and truck repair business on Treiman Boulevard would hurt their neighborhood, but they were unsuccessful in getting the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission on their side earlier this month.

On May 14, they are expected to take their case to the Hernando County Commission, which has the final say.

Arnoldo Naranjo Rivero wants to change the zoning of his 1.8-acre site from general commercial to heavy highway commercial. According to the narrative he submitted to county planners, he wants to have a mobile home on the site for himself and his family and also have a mechanic's shop with a lathe, welding and diesel equipment. In addition, he hopes to have outdoor storage to park his work trucks, personal vehicles and his clients' trucks.

Neighbors voiced a variety of concerns to planning commission members.

Wolfgang Paltian, who lives in Ridge Manor Estates and has a background in environmental consulting, was concerned that substances from the shop could seep into the ground, fouling the community's well water.

"I think it's a legitimate concern,'' he said. "There are homes right behind that could be adversely affected.''

Paltian said the business would be an "eyesore" at the front of the community and would impact future development because "nobody wants to pass a scrap yard on the way to their new home.''

Resident John Woolcock noted that the other sites along that stretch of Treiman are zoned for general commercial.

"Changing this to C 4 (heavy commercial) sets what I think is a precedent,'' he said, adding his concerns about water quality and noise, as well.

Robert Sickler, a real estate agent, said the rezoning could have a negative impact on Ridge Manor property values.

With the current zoning, Rivero can have a four-bay automotive repair establishment on the site, explained planner Omar DePablo. Repairing trucks, however, required the more intense zoning category and also would require the property owner to fence the business.

County staff members said ground water safeguards are in place for businesses.

Planning commission member Lynn Gruber-White, who is president of the Ridge Manor Property Owners Association, called the heavy highway commercial zoning "an outlier in the middle of these (general commercial) uses.''

Planning commissioner Denis Riley said he had trouble arguing whether the uses proposed were incompatible with the surrounding community when much of the surrounding community was undeveloped.

And planning commissioner Ron Cohen called Rivero a "pioneer'' who would bring a different kind of land usage to that area.

Ultimately, planning commissioners voted 3-1 to recommend approval to the County Commission, with Gruber-White casting the sole no vote.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at or (352) 848-1434.