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Majestic Oaks gets thumbs-up

The 650-unit housing development jumps a zoning hurdle. Work may begin on it in early 2004.

By JENNIFER LIBERTO
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 15, 2003


BROOKSVILLE -- Another upscale, gated residential community is scheduled to start going up on the outskirts of Brooksville early next year.

The Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously agreed Monday on zoning changes to allow for the 650-unit Majestic Oaks development, which will be east of the Brooksville city limits and north of Mondon Hill Road.

Tommy Bronson and Neil Law of Brooksville plan to develop single-family homes on 433 acres into a golf course community, although the golf course is already there.

The development will be partially financed by members of the Brooksville Golf and Country Club, who are being allowed to buy shares in the project. Revenue would then go to alleviate the club's $1.1-million debt and fund improvements to the course.

The development is planned to have at least two gated entrances and is divided into two areas. About 450 houses are planned on about 205 acres, meaning home sites would average a little less than half an acre. A lower-density area would allow for some 200 homes, averaging a little more than 1 acre each. The project also includes about 10 acres for commercial development, such as a gas station or a convenience store.

"I think it's a nice development and one the Brooksville area needs to have," Planning and Zoning Commissioner Bob Dewitt said during Monday's meeting.

About six of some 20 residents who attended the meeting told commissioners they were concerned that the project would create some problems, especially with flooding and increased traffic on Mondon Hill Road.

"It blows my shirt off when (cars) come by," said Robert Russell, who lives southwest of the proposed development. "No one slows down in that area, and it causes accidents."

Don Lacey of Coastal Engineering Associates, the firm representing the development, assured residents that flooding problems will be taken care of since the developers must work with the Southwest Florida Water Management District before construction starts. And he said Mondon Hill is able to accommodate the development but agreed that a traffic signal might be necessary eventually.

Most of the property already had been zoned for a 680-acre residential development in 1988, but has lain vacant next to the golf course. The current project is slightly smaller and includes some different acreage.

"Essentially, we're just massaging a new master plan," Lacey told the commission.

The Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation for approval will go before the Hernando County Commission in May. If the commission approves the zoning changes, construction on Majestic Oaks could start in early 2004, Lacey said.

Other large developments near Brooksville currently under way -- both along U.S. 41 south of town -- include the 900-unit Hernando Oaks and an even larger Southern Hills Plantation, which could offer up to 3,000 homes.

Planning Commissioner Nick Nicholson encouraged Majestic Oaks developers to adopt the "village concept" design and link the commercial area proposed along Mondon Hill Road to the residential area inside the gated community through walkways or trails. Hernando Oaks has adopted a similar design.

-- Jennifer Liberto covers business and development in Hernando County and can be reached at 848-1434 or liberto@sptimes.com .

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