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Commissioners address long standing land-use dispute

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County staff originally recommended approval of Landowner Randy Yoho’s proposed motorcycle track on property next door to horse farms in a rural area of the county, according to a Hernando Sun article dated September 17. However, county commissioners supported the County Planning and Zoning Commission’s rejection of the permit in a 3-2 vote on Nov. 16. The long-standing land-use squabble between Yoho and his neighbors in and near the Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest came to a conclusion on Tuesday when county commissioners voted in support of the Planning and Zoning department’s original rejection of the special exception land use permit. 

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The decision caps a decades-long dispute between Yoho and his neighbors – some who claim the noise levels generated by motorcycles is detrimental to their businesses that include training horses and riders.

The decision to reject the proposed special use permit was split, with Commissioners John Allocco, Beth Narverud and Jeff Holcomb voting to deny Yoho the permit, and Commissioners Steve Champion and Wayne Dukes voting to grant it. The meeting was attended by a line of residents voicing complaints about the proposed motorcycle track. 

Kathy Smith said she and her husband chose the area to build their home because of the peace and quiet.

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“People have the right to do what they want, but a person who doesn’t live here should not be allowed to do this,” she said.

Another affected land owner, Kym Rouse Holzwart, who along with her husband own Spotted Dance Ranch, expressed doubt that the county’s decision would be the last of it. The land in question used to be a sand mine but according to his neighbors, Yoho has used the property as a motocross track for years.  Meanwhile, neighbors have complained about the noise for many years. 

Ultimately, for the two commissioners voting to approve the permit, the issue came down to the right of a landowner to control what another landowner does with his or her property.

“You’re allowed to do certain things on your property,” said Commissioner Champion. “You should be allowed to use this property for personal use.”

Resident Kathleen Yo passionately disagreed and asked commissioners to support the Planning & Zoning Commission’s rejection of the land use exception permit. “This comes from the heart,” she said. “Please deny this permit. It will ruin our neighborhood.”

Leonard Johnson, Yoho’s attorney, said the special exception was requested for recreational use and that staff originally recommended approval with conditions such as limitations on riders and hours. However, that is not how the majority of commissioners saw it on Tuesday. 

 

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