Pasco County Commission rejects limerock mining plans in Shady Hills

Published Apr. 25, 2012

NEW PORT RICHEY — Opposition from nearby property owners caused commissioners Tuesday to spike a proposed limerock mine in Shady Hills.

The Lago Verde mine on U.S. 41 about 3 miles south of the Pasco-Hernando county line was approved as a sand mine in 2007. Property owner John Dalfino intended to build a 19-home subdivision around the lake created by the excavation.

Now the initial five-year permit for the project is up, and there is no lake. The property owners realized they would have to mine roughly 4.4 million cubic yards of limerock to get to the water table.

But nearby property owners warned of the effect of blasting and a stream of trucks and heavy equipment.

Stefanie Schatzman, who lives in the Shady Acres subdivision, said Lago Verde should have known it wouldn't strike water in its initial proposal.

Just look at nearby Crews Lake, or the many other ponds that have dried up because of water pumping.

"You can see the devastation in our community," she said. "I don't think we can stand the impact of limerock blasting."

Several commissioners said it's not their job to bail out Lago Verde's business plan.

"Nobody promised this man water," said Commissioner Pat Mulieri.

Clarke Hobby, a lawyer for Lago Verde, argued the limerock mine would mesh with several industrial uses in the area.

"We've had a lot of heavy, intense activity on this site to mine this much dirt out," he said. "This area on U.S. 41 has been a heavy industrial area for a long period of time."

Hobby added that the eventual lake would look much nicer than a huge hole in the ground.

But his arguments didn't sway a majority of commissioners.

A motion to allow Lago Verde to mine limerock for three years failed on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Ted Schrader and Ann Hildebrand dissenting.

"I would rather have that hole in the ground … than to completely adversely affect the people who have invested in their homes, in their lives," said Commissioner Jack Mariano.

Mariano offered to allow the owner to continue operating a sand mine for five years.

His motion passed unanimously.