During its Nov. 8 meeting, the Hernando Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) gave its final approval for establishing a master plan for a combined planned development project that, according to its developer, will launch a luxury golf and resort facility in Brooksville.
Initially submitted in September by the Canada-based Cabot Citrus OPCO LLC, the plan for Cabot Citrus Farms calls for 980 residential units and 400,000 sq. ft. of mixed-use non-residential facilities, including retail stores, golf and other publicly- accessible recreational facilities, restaurants, and community centers to be developed on 1200 acres on the site of the former World Woods Golf Club at the northeast side of Ponce De Leon Boulevard – U.S. Highway 98 southeast of that road’s intersection with the Suncoast Parkway.
During its Nov. 8 meeting, Cabot Citrus Director of Development Daniel Knight told the panel that the firm intended to create “a world-class luxury golf and resort facility in Hernando County.”
“Golf is really in our DNA and is our passion,” Knight said. “Over time, the original developer (of the World Woods Golf Club) wasn’t able to fulfill the vision of the property.”
The Cabot Farms plan includes overnight accommodations to attract golfers from Tampa and elsewhere.
“Folks would play the golf courses and then drive back to Tampa,” he said. “We’re looking to get folks to stay here in Hernando County and extend their stays.”
At the same time, Knight told the panel that the project would benefit the County.
“What it really comes down to is capital investment, job creation, support for local businesses and schools, and sustainability,” he said.
According to Knight, the firm expects to employ more than 200 “careers” and partner with local schools to boost hospitality training programs that result in further job creation.
Before taking the final approval vote, Commissioner John Allocco said the project would benefit Hernando County.
“I’m really excited about this,” Allocco said. “It’s going to be a good project – it’s going to be good for the Nature/Adventure Coast, and I’m looking forward to its moving forward.”
Finally, the panel voted 4-0 to approve the plan with modified performance conditions.
One of the conditions is the requirement for a master plan revision before the development of the phase 2 portion of the site. The phase 2 master plan area, situated on the geologically sensitive Brooksville Ridge cave system, has watersheds contributing to each karst feature. The revision will require the petitioner to coordinate with county and state environmental agencies to develop a cave protection plan and establish protective buffers for the cave complex.
According to the Cabot Citrus Farms website, the facility will open in December 2023.