At the regular Board of County Commissioners meeting held on September 10, 2019, the board voted unanimously on three agenda items, all related to the expansion of CEMEX’s mining operations in Brooksville.
Commissioners Steve Champion and Wayne Dukes commented on approaching the final approvals to allow the CEMEX expansion to move forward.
Champion said, “CEMEX is a great partner to the county. They employ a lot of good people, these aren’t minimum wage jobs. The tax base is obviously going to be improved when this mine starts up. I’m sure they’re going to have new equipment and new jobs open up, so I applaud their efforts to bring in quality jobs to Hernando county for probably the next hundred years.”
Dukes recounted a meeting with a group of opponents who wanted the land kept as-is. Dukes recommended at the time that they purchase the land, but the group declined. “That’s not the way the freedom of America works,” Dukes said, alluding to those freedoms being bilateral.
The board first voted 5-0 to approve the rezoning from Agricultural (AG) to Mining (M) after a long and contentious process, including a lawsuit by a nearby landowner. Two parcels south of Fort Dade Ave. will be rezoned as well as the parcel called “Lykes Cutoff” totaling approximately 573 acres. Mining and reclamation activities are limited to twenty years per the comprehensive plan amendment.
During the second pertinent agenda item, the board voted to unanimously approve the vacation of the right of way for County Road 491 known as “Lykes Cutoff,” which is a north-south roadway running between Ft. Dade Ave and CR-50 / Cortez Blvd. Withlacoochee River Electric Corporation (WREC) facilities currently exist along the roadway, therefore a temporary easement has been secured for the facilities until a relocation of the facilities into the proposed new right of way is completed. All affected utilities and County departments have indicated no objection to the request.
One of the final requirements of CEMEX is to create a 100 square mile conservation easement for a wildlife corridor, a plan also approved by the board unanimously.
CEMEX was also required to provide right-of-way to the County for a California Street to Citrus Way future transportation corridor. This plan was added to the volumes of paperwork and approved 5-0.
No one from the public came forward to comment on any of the items.