BROOKSVILLE — As work continues on improvements at Interstate 75 and State Road 50, the Race Trac fueling station there could soon get a major makeover of its own.
The Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously last month to recommend that the County Commission rezone the property, making way for the county’s first full-blown truck stop. It promises an 8,100-square-foot convenience store and separate areas for fueling cars and trucks. It would include 26 auto and six truck fueling stations, as well as a truck parking area.
The 5-acre, three-parcel site includes the southwest corner of SR 50 and Bronson Boulevard and the northwest corner of Bronson Boulevard and Cracker Crossing.
"This is a unique facility,'' said attorney Darryl Johnston, representing Brian Thornton of Race Trac Petroleum. "We don’t have such a travel center like this in Hernando County.''
There were no public comments on the plan, but planning commissioner Lynn Gruber-White voiced concern about access into and out of the site. Gruber-White also is president of the property owners association in nearby Ridge Manor. During Hurricane Irma, when gas stations were inundated with people fleeing the storm, access at the existing station "was a mess, an absolute mess,'' she said.
The site would have multiple access points, Johnson said, which would mitigate similar problems in the future.
Gruber-White said that would be helpful, adding that "this is the perfect place'' for the expanded station and truck stop.
"We need this,'' she said.
Commissioner John Scharch asked about additional improvements on Bronson Boulevard. Discussions during the development process would address the traffic patterns, Johnston said.
Commissioners also questioned whether there would be room for semi-tractor trailers to turn around. While the site is "tight,'' Johnston said, "it will work.''
The adjacent traffic light would remain, Gruber-White said.
The Hernando County Commission will have final say on the project later this month.