We won!!!!! Action Alert: Speak out at May 10th Commission meeting. Just say NO! Don’t weaken super-majority rule for land use plan that could result in a new CEMEX mine in Brooksville

May 6, 2016

Update:  we won the first round in 2016, but the Hernando County Commission reversed course and eliminated the super majority rule on May 9th,  2017.   11 citizens spoke out against it while members of the Board of Realtors, Hernando Progress, and two citizens spoke out in favor of the  change.
Editorial by Dan DeWitt / May 19, 2016
Action Needed Now: 

Let the Hernando County Commissioners know you oppose changing the rules for comprehensive land use plan changes.  Don’t replace the super-majority rule with a simple majority vote.  This could facilitate approval of a new CEMEX mine.

What’s the problem?

Last spring, we celebrated the defeat of a proposal to allow a new CEMEX open pit lime rock mine on Cortez Boulevard at the entrance to Brooksville.  The “super-majority rule” currently in place for Hernando County comprehensive land use plan amendments requires that four of five commissioners approve any proposed changes.

This rule applied to the plan change sought that would have allowed the new CEMEX mine.   When Commissioners Jim Adkins and Diane Rowden announced their NO vote, the miners withdrew their petition, since they lacked the super-majority vote needed for approval.  That was a victory for our community and protected our environment, economy and quality of life.

Well, some commissioners are now trying to change that rule to a simple majority vote.  Commissioner and Naval Reserve Officer Jeff Holcomb has announced that he is being deployed to serve in Southwest Asia for the next 6–12 months, leaving a 4-member voting county commission.  By law, he cannot be replaced and his position will remain his, even while he is unavailable to vote.

So while Holcomb is away, no super-majority vote of 4 of 5 commissioners is possible, including for a new CEMEX application, if it were re-filed.  However, if the rule is changed to require a simply majority, three of the sitting commissioners could vote in a land use plan amendment to allow a new CEMEX mine near Brooksville, as well as any other ill-advised project that does not conform to our existing land use plan.

What You Can Do Now:
*  Plan to attend the Hernando County Commission meeting this coming Tuesday, May 10th at 9 a.m. at the Brooksville Courthouse.   Sign up to speak on this item when it comes up for discussion.   We expect it to be pulled from the consent agenda and added to the regular agenda so that the public can be heard on it.

Let’s stop this trainwreck now.  Express your opposition to beginning the process to change this rule. Our comprehensive land use plan was created, planned, and vetted through a public process that ensures we are making wise land use decisions for Hernando and its residents into the future. The plan is not intended to be overturned easily due to the influence of special interests.  Amendments can only be made with great thought, demonstrated need and consensus as expressed by a super majority vote of the sitting commissioners.   There is no need to change that now.
Please thank Commissioners Diane Rowden and James Atkins for their earlier decision to stop the new CEMEX mine and express how much their continuing support means to our community, environment, and quality of life.
Please ask Commissioners Wayne Dukes, Nick Nicholson and Jeff Holcomb to reconsider this effort to thwart the will of the public and undermine the integrity of the current land use plan.
This is a transparent effort to pave the way for a new CEMEX mine application that would threaten our health, economy and ecology by once again considering a land use plan amendment to allow open pit mining in an inappropriate location close to our hospital, the Historic Spring Hill African American Cemetery,  200 plus residents of the area and businesses along the Highway 50 corridor at a time when there is no demand for lime rock. And it would open the door to other flawed decisions.
Citizens deserve to be represented by commissioners who listen to them.  Our message is clear:  NO NEW MINING NEAR BROOKSVILLE!  Don’t change our land use plan.
*  If you cannot attend, please contact the commissioners by email.
James Adkins, Chair
jadkins@hernandocounty.usDISTRICT 3
Diane Rowden, Vice Chair
drowden@hernandocounty.usDISTRICT 1
Nick Nicholson, Second Chair
nnicholson@hernandocounty.usDISTRICT 2
Wayne Dukes
wdukes@hernandocounty.usDISTRICT 4
Jeff Holcomb
jholcomb@hernandocounty.usCounty Administrator
Len Sossamon
*  Or write to the commissioners, c/o Hernando County Board of County Commissioners, 20 North Main St., Brooksville, FL 34601.

Learn More:
For more information,  check out our website at http://www.neighborsagainstmining.org.  Read the Tampa Bay Times article of May 6, 2016 at: Commissioner wants to revisit super-majority requirement for comprehensive plan changes.

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