Hickory Hill plan is smart growth

Letters to the Editor
Published January 15, 2007

I do not understand how anyone can question the fact that the Hernando County comprehensive plan is a planning tool or a guideline to direct future growth, but should be flexible enough to allow change for market pressures. The county has two amendment cycles per year to consider changes. If you should not change it for any reason, why have these cycles?

Smart growth principles are the wave of the future. As the demands of the consumer markets change, then the plan must change to reflect these pressures.

Hernando County is now feeling the pressure from the south and the corridor along Interstate 75 is now going to change. In the minds and hearts of some, this is bad. That is unfortunate, but the reality is, with all of this economic opportunity and a clean slate of land to practice smart planning on, the area will continue to attract quality developers.

Hickory Hill is proposing a Comprehensive Plan Amendment on a piece of property that no one in their right mind would have anticipated it not becoming a development of some type. Just east of the project the county has for years planned one of the most densely developed properties in the county in its I-75/State Road 50 planned development district. The developers of Hickory Hill are proposing a low-density development that will buffer Spring Lake from this high-intensity development. This represents smart planning and is reason enough for the current comprehensive plan to be amended to meet this market pressure.

I support the Hickory Hill project and you should also.

Christina Ryman, Spring Hill

Attend meetings to protest project

A life boat has only so much capacity. Hernando County is our lifeboat. Over-development of land causes destruction of wetlands. Over-pumping of water from underground lakes and streams can cause the earth to sink, and the reduction of our precious water table can cause sinkholes.

Studies have shown it takes five years for the pollution from the chemicals put on golf courses to reach our wells. I'm told the developers only have to test the water for five years. Who do the residents go to after their wells are contaminated? Who pays for it?

All the letters to the editor in opposition to the proposed Hickory Hill subdivision have been good, but unless those writers attend the commission meetings and voice their opinions, this development may become a reality. I'm urging you to attend the April 26 meeting at the government center in Brooksville and voice your concerns; even if you have to take off work it will be worth the time and effort to stop this development and the devastation of our beautiful hills and valleys on the east side of our county.

We already are slated to have more than 12,000 homes built in the east part of the county in the next 10 to 15 years.

Where were the people on the Sierra Properties bandwagon when we were working on the comprehensive plan in the early stages, during the growth workshops, and at the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings? They had not yet been recruited by the developer, but now they all seem to know what's good for the east side? Many live in Spring Hill and moved here from urban areas. If they want development, they should move to Atlanta or Orlando.

According to my Realtor, there was a restriction in the will about this tract of land, that it would not be developed for 35 years after the death of Robert Thomas' grandfather. I moved here on that premise. I would like to know what happened to that. I wanted a better life in the country and that is why I moved here from the city. People have legal rights to expect that the planned land uses of the area in which they purchased property remain in the same uses, as in the rural uses in Spring Lake. A golf course subdivision is not compatible in Spring Lake. It will ruin the community and only the Spring Lake community will be affected.

I would hope the land would be cut into 5- or 10-acre lots and sold to individuals for the same type of home as proposed for Hickory Hill, with deed restrictions and an association with a crime watch group. I strongly encourage the developer to follow our recently adopted comprehensive growth plan regarding lot sizes.

I am urging the County Commission to deny this project; it is not compatible or needed.

Joyce Denilen, Spring Lake

Emotions guide foes of project

I cannot believe the negative comments regarding Hickory Hill. They must be looking at a different project than I am.

I went on the Web site that Sierra Properties advertised and read through the information provided. Either it is all lies and this group has been misleading people for 30 years, or this project is going to be special.

I trust that the Hernando County commissioners have reviewed the proposal for Hickory Hill as thoroughly as possible and that they will rely on input from their Planning Department to help them make a decision.

Decisions such as the approval of a community that has such far-reaching implications for Hernando County as this should not be made on emotion and the reaction to opinions in the press. Support Hickory Hill.

Patricia Akroyd, Spring Hill


A Jan. 12 letter, House cleaning violates charter, omitted Ann Liisa Covell's last name.