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Incinerator for burning tree limbs withdrawn

The central Pasco project stirred concern about harming the water supply.

By JAMES THORNER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 10, 2001


Concerns about groundwater contamination have canceled plans for a yard waste incinerator near State Road 52 and U.S. 41 in central Pasco County.

Tim and Cyndi Walker, who own a Port Richey land clearing business called of Gulf Line Inc., proposed erecting an air-curtain incinerator to burn tree limbs on industrial property on Kent Grove Drive.

But after the county's zoning office recommended denial of the Walkers' conditional-use permit, the couple withdrew their application.

Air-curtain incinerators, which usually rest in a pit, use giant fans to generate high temperatures, producing less smoke and ash than bonfires.

Although the Walkers planned to truck the ash off the site, state regulators worried about possible contamination to the water supply, Pasco zoning director Fred Lowndes said.

Cross Bar Ranch Well Field, producing millions of gallons a day for the Tampa Bay region, is a couple of miles east of the site. The headwaters of the Pithlachascotee River are a mile west of Kent Grove.

"There was some concern with all the well fields in the area," Lowndes said after Wednesday's meeting of the Pasco Planning Commission, which was scheduled to hear the Walkers' permit request.

This was the second time the Walkers failed to get zoning for their incinerator. Last year, after lobbying from about 100 neighbors, they dropped a proposal to build on Siesta Lane in Port Richey.

Their Kent Grove proposal was also the second incinerator rejected in the same general area of the county.

In the early 1990s, a coalition of neighbors helped defeat a plan to burn body parts, syringes and bloody bandages on property owned by Bon-Bar Leasing.

Neighbors and developers actually came together on another rezoning request that cleared thePlanning Commission.

Residents of the Country Close subdivision on County Line Road complained about a proposed shopping center and 350-unit apartment complex on the apex property between Dale Mabry Highway and U.S. 41.

They said the 62-acre development, much of it occupied by the Hagman family orange grove, was incompatible with their semirural neighborhood on the northern edge of Hillsborough County.

But neighbors won concessions from developers the night before the Planning Commission meeting. Developer Carl Lindell agreed not to access County Line Road and to build a tree-lined concrete wall between his project and Country Close.

Lindell's rezoning application is scheduled for a final vote before the county commissioners later this month.

In other business, Quail Hollow Campground got the final approval needed to double the size of the travel trailer park on Old Pasco Road.

Owner Frank Gilmore, whose motto is "No Rig Too Big," plans to increase the number of camping spaces from 144 to more than 300.

The only complaint came from the campground's southern neighbor, James Burke, who argued that Gilmore's proposed 8-foot privacy fence wasn't enough to buffer his property.

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