Planning Administrator Michelle Miller spoke to the Hernando County officials at an Interlocal Meeting held on March 30, 2023. Miller presented the county’s population growth projections to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), Brooksville City Council, and the Hernando County School District (HCSD).
According to data from the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research, the county ended 2022 with 199,207 residents. This is a significant increase over the 2013 population of 173,808. With a growth rate of more than 25,000 in nine years, the county grapples with housing, school concurrency, and other resources to accommodate the steady rise in population.
Miller reported a consistent 1.5 percent increase in growth per year. If continued, Hernando County’s population should reach slightly less than 210,000 by 2025 and close to 250,000 by 2050.
The county currently has 30 Class A subdivisions in various stages of platting and planning. These subdivisions are moving forward to completion. Six of these developments are at the stage where individual lots are being constructed.
Currently, key subdivisions will offer 5,921 new dwelling units. These are Cabot Citrus Farms, Lake Hideaway, Sherman Hills, Sherman Oaks, Caldera, Waterford, and Winding Oaks.
Miller reported that US Hwy 19 / Commercial Way, north of SR 50 and SR 50 east of Interstate 75, and infill development in Spring Hill are anticipated to show growth in the coming years.
Hernando County Commissioner Steve Champion commented that Miller’s data was conservative, “If the housing was here, the population would already be here.”
County Administrator Jeff Rogers added that other developments that are moving forward but not included in the calculations are Sunrise (eastern Hernando) and Lake Hideaway. These developments are expected to bring 7,889 new homes.
Champion is still cautious about depending on planned developments. “Just because it’s planned doesn’t mean it’s going to be built. We learned that during the last recession … I’m not saying that’s going to happen this time.” However, he reports that the county has seen a reduction in building permits by month.
Commissioner Beth Narverud reported that at least one developer has halted their plans, and a community planned along County Line Road will not go forward. The property is now for sale.
School Board Member Mark Johnson projected 2,000 new students also coming to the county. “2,000 new students equates to two or three new schools. The average cost to build a new school is about $50,000,000. The impact this has on the school district is significant.” Johnson also said that even 1,000 new students would still require one new school.
Planning is also a factor when it comes to school construction. According to Johnson, it takes roughly two to three years to build a new school, and then the location must also be considered.
The School District relies on data, such as this presentation, to determine the space needs and construction locations for new school buildings. The two boards are expected to work together in the days ahead.