by Kathryn Dentato
At the July 20, 2020 City Council meeting, City Planner Steve Gouldman discussed the proposed annexation of the 27 acres (approximately) owned by Robert Bodiford, Jr. and Ryan Bodiford. The first reading established that the divided property does adjoin with property that is within city limits and it does not create an enclave or pocket.
Located south of Wiscon Road, the property is divided into two large sections. One section is along the west side of Broad Street and another is adjacent to Mason Smith Road. The property also includes a portion of the Seagate, which is a subdivision within the City of Brooksville. Argus Acquisitions, LLC intends to develop the property but first, it must be annexed by the City of Brooksville. Argus plans to develop approximately 200 residential lots between the subject property and adjacent property.
At the second reading on Aug. 3, 2020, City Attorney Nancy Stuparich advised council members that Hernando County objected to the annexation on the grounds that an enclave would be created. Stuparich recommended allowing public discussion, then rescheduling the agenda item.
Mayor Joe Bernardini opened the floor for public comment, but no one offered an opinion and the public discussion was closed.
Council Member Robert Battista said he did not receive any communication from the County and suggested hearing from the applicant, through his attorney, or Mark Kutney, City Manager.
The County sent a letter only that morning, Stuparich responded. County Administrator Jeff Rogers seemed open to discuss the matter, and Stuparich recommended continuing (rescheduling) the second reading to another date.
Battista asked if the applicant was present or amenable to changing the date. That morning Gouldman notified the applicant’s attorney of the County’s objection and the staff recommendation to meet with the County. The applicant agreed to reschedule the hearing.
If the City’s position was strong and if appropriate research was done, Battista asked, why did staff want to back down?
The disposition of the retention pond adjacent to the property was researched prior to the first reading, Stuparich said. The Vose Law Firm determined it would be considered a right-of-way since it was owned by FDOT. The County’s offer to talk did not indicate a stronger position.
Kutney said there was no doubt the City was right. After speaking with Rogers, Kutney stated they would meet and have attorneys present. He suggested a continuance of two weeks.
Battista moved to reschedule the second reading to Aug. 17, 2020. The motion was seconded by Council Member Bill Kemerer. The motion passed with a 5-0 vote.