Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Hernando

Hernando County Commission says yes to Great Spirit Farm

Neighbors worry about the impact on their equestrian community.
Hernando County Government Center
Published Oct. 23

BROOKSVILLE — It has taken a couple of years and some plan changes, but the Great Spirit Farms Healing and Retreat Center ultimately scored unanimous approval from the Hernando County Commission this week.

The center is planned for 10 of the 20 acres that Travis Morehead and Shannon Hernandez own on Walking Horse Trail near the Withlacoochee State Forest. They plan to hold weekly religious services for members, as well as periodic retreats for small groups interested in religious rites connected with Native American traditions.

Two years ago, a more ambitious plan included more events, larger and more regular gatherings, weddings, short-term rentals and massage therapy session. It was nixed by the county’s planning board.

Residents who turned out for Tuesday’s hearing before the County Commission repeated many of their earlier concerns, even for the scaled-down version of the project. They worried about traffic on their narrow dirt roads, the safety of neighbors who ride their horses there, commercial uses in their agricultural area, loud music and general disruption of their neighborhood.

But County Attorney Garth Coller told commissioners that the legal bar was high for stopping someone from worshiping in their own way on their property. During their presentation, Morehead and Hernandez said it was their right to practice their religious beliefs on the property.

Planning Commission approval last month said that no more than five people could attend each event. The County Commission doubled that limit to 10, which Morehead said was acceptable.


ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Robyn Anderson, shown here in 2004, is assistant manager of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and also has been mayor of the city of Weeki Wachee for years.  Weeki Wachee, one of Florida's smallest cities, was created by state lawmakers in 1966 so the roadside attraction could be marketed as the City of Live Mermaids on maps and road signs. A local activist is concerned about a possible conflict of interest in having Anderson and three other park employees also be city officials. BRUCE HOSKING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Citing concerns about conflicts of interest, a river advocate will ask state lawmakers to dissolve the city.
  2. The principal of Parrott Middle School, Ed Larose, looks at bikes donated to needy children at his school by The Matthew Project last Christmas. Monte Patterson
  3. The Teal Plank Workshop in Brooksville is gaining popularity as a place to host a party with friends and make something for your home — all at the same time. CAITLYN BRAY  |  Special to the Times
  4. Hernando County Government Center
    Maus Nissan hopes to build Hernando County’s first Nissan dealership on Wiscon Road.
  5. The annual Veterans Day parade was held Nov. 9 in Brooksville to honor Hernando County's local veterans and military servicemembers. ALICE HERDEN | SPECIAL TO THE TI
  6. Kasha, Squeeks, Baz and Marshall are up for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay shelter pets available for adoption
  7. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
  8. The Mark Anthony Band will perform at Hernando Untapped on Nov. 15 at the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce will host its signature event from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 15 at American Aviation Flight Academy, in the Brooksville Tampa Bay Regional Airport. The craft beer and wine tasting event. Mark Anthony Band
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  9. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
  10. LUIS SANTANA | TIMES
Aerial of the road work at the I-75 interchange at State Road 50 east of Brooksville. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Race Trac plan includes fueling for cars and trucks and a bigger convenience store.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement