The Brooksville City Council voted 3-2 on May 3, 2021 to deny a rezoning request for the property more commonly known as Milk-A-Way Farms. Croom Road Land Holdings, LLC has been seeking to rezone and develop the 442-acre property, located on the east side of Broad Street (U.S. 41) and north side of Croom since 2018.
Mayor Pat Brayton, Vice Mayor Robert Battista and Council Member Betty Erhard voted to deny the current request.
Designated as Hernando County Agricultural (AG), the petitioners sought to rezone the land to City of Brooksville Planned Development Project-Mixed Use (PDP-MU). The development plan was for 999 residential units consisting of 657 single-family conventional dwellings, 150 villas and townhomes, 192 multi-family units and 50,000 square feet of commercial floor space. The petitioner also requested the ability to convert attached single-family units (two-family villas/townhomes) to single-family detached units at a 1 to 1 ratio.
Brooksville City Planner Steve Gouldman and Cliff Manuel, President of Coastal Engineering appeared before the council in the capacity of expert witnesses. Gouldman’s and Manuel’s qualifications and credentials were admitted into evidence, uncontested by any of the council members. Manuel represented the applicant, Croom Road Land Holdings, LLC.
Gouldman and Manuel presented opposing arguments regarding the development of the former Milk-A-Way Farms property. Gouldman’s view was that the development plan was largely inconsistent with the surrounding properties, and the spirit of rural Brooksville in general. When discussing the inconsistencies with Council Member David Bailey, Bailey asked Gouldman if larger lots would be more in line with the surrounding area.
Gouldman responded that setbacks are the issue, not the lot size. Giving the example of a 40-foot lot, he explained, “...If you’ve got a garage, the pavement that’s going to run up to that garage is 20 feet wide. You’re going to have 5 feet from your neighbor’s property, that eats up 40 feet of your 40-foot wide lot. That leaves you with a 15-foot wide front yard, that is 15-foot deep. That’s the size of my master bedroom.”
The denial of this petition leaves open the possibility of changes by the developer. It’s possible that the item will come back on a future agenda for consideration.