Hernando County commissioners approved sending the comprehensive plan amendment for Spring Center to state agencies for review on April 10, 2018. The county received the last of the responses from those agencies on June 22. The proposed Spring Center Planned Development District (PDD) is located on a 450 acre parcel of property in Spring Hill, just south of Northcliffe Blvd, with Greynolds Avenue to the east, Dunkirk Road to the south, and River Road to the west. The development is to include up to 3000 residential units, up to 750,000 square feet of commercial space, 250,000 square feet of office space and up to 100,000 square feet of government/institutional space. There is also to be a community park, expansion of Explorer K-8 and a Hernando County Utilities Department wellfield. None of the agencies had objections to the comprehensive plan amendment, but several came back with comments.
While the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) had a comment related to a technicality.
The DEO writes, “…we have identified one comment related to approval of development-of-regional-impact sized developments and have included a recommendation regarding measures that can be taken to address the comment. The comment will not form the basis of an objection to the amendment after adoption…”
Their comment was in reference to the amendment not “expressly” approving the Spring Center Planned Development District (PDD) as required by statute. They recommended the county modify policy 1.07(2) of the proposed Future Land Use Element to explicitly state approval for the Spring Center PDD.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission provided comment and advisory information on the Florida Black Bear situation near the proposed development, west of the Suncoast Parkway.
FWC advised, “FWC has received 39 reports of human-bear conflicts within roughly a 5-mile radius of the project site since 1983. Florida black bears are abundant in this area, which is within the Big Bend Bear Management Unit identified in the 2012 Bear Management Plan. Please review the attached document for important information related to potential measures that can be taken to avoid or minimize negative wildlife interactions during the planning, construction, and operation phases of this project.”
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) had a few comments. First they pointed out that the map amendment does not include a statutorily required analyses for potable water availability and included resources for additional information on how to remedy this.
SWFWMD listed information for residents on water conservation measures and commended the applicants for including language for reducing the nutrient load in the Weeki Wachee Spring Shed. They also commented on some small flood prone areas on the property and stated that the implementation of Low Impact Development strategies could help to minimize impacts to these areas.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) remarked :
“While, facilities of state importance are almost two (2) miles away from the site, there may be increased future project traffic volumes at certain intersections such as US 19 & Northcliff Boulevard and SR 50 & Deltona Boulevard impacting those intersections…”
“Staff is pleased to see the PDD subarea is based on a mixed use concept integrating pedestrian and bicycle friendly Central Hub features as envisioned in town center master plan. The project can take advantage of both community capture and internal capture of daily traffic trips thus lessening external trips along the local and regional roadway network.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and The Office of lntergovernmental Programs of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection both reviewed the comprehensive plan amendment and gave little comment.
The county commission may now either adopt, adopt with changes or not adopt the proposed amendment in a second public hearing. If the second public hearing is not held within 180 days, then the amendment will be deemed withdrawn (unless it is extended by agreement).