RIDGE MANOR — When the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission hears a pitch on Monday to rezone 27 acres to make way for the Ridge RV Park, commissioners are likely to get an earful from residents in nearby Whispering Oaks and Ridge Manor Estates.
That certainly is what the developer, Bob Carson, and his representative, Alan Garman, got during a two-hour public input meeting late last month at the Whispering Oaks clubhouse.
About 70 residents, as reflected in the record kept of the meeting, came out to ask questions and voice concerns about flooding, changing the quiet nature of their community and potential negative impacts on their property values.
The project is proposed for 151 units, plus a clubhouse/office, laundry, park manager home and bathhouse. The proposal also includes storage for the residents and direct golf cart access to the golf course south of the project.
Direct access to the site would be a boulevard entrance off U.S. 301 and possibly a gated emergency access road off Ruby Avenue.
The application narrative describes the project as "an upscale development" that "has the potential to attract new tourism and families which enjoy camping, biking, picnicking, fishing and, of course, golf."
A buffer of 25 feet from recreational vehicles would not be sufficient for anyone along the property line of the proposed project, said Tony Smoker, who attended the public input meeting.
"It doesn't give them any protection at all," Smoker told the Times. "It is going to come up right against their back yards."
He is also worried about whether the project is going to exacerbate flooding in the area, drive away the wildlife that residents enjoy and create a permanent trailer community because enforcing the rule that residents cannot stay longer than six months would be difficult.
"There are just a lot of open-ended things in the plan," Smoker said.
Nearby resident Megan Oates complained at the meeting that the RV park would be in her back yard and that her children no longer would be able to play in the woods. Garman explained that Carson owns the property and pays taxes on it. He simply is going through the process of rezoning it to use it as an RV resort.
Garman told residents that the overall density would be 5.56 units per acre, "not bad for a new project."
He also told residents that the only deviation the developer is requesting is to delay the formal determination of wetlands on the site until after the land use change is done.
"We have asked that, should the final wetlands determination allow for the development of an additional eight lots, that we are allowed to develop these lots without coming back to the board for approval," Garman said, according to the minutes.
Garman said that Carson has done a preliminary look at the wetlands, but that doing a full investigation "would be expensive at this time."
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The full look would happen before construction.
The county planning staff has recommended that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommend approval of the plan to the County Commission, which will make the final decision.
Contact Barbara Behrendt at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.