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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Odessa residents fight rezoning request of concrete company

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco residents have won one battle in a fight to keep an Odessa concrete mixing company from changing its zoning to a more intense use.

At least a dozen members of the 311-home, Ashley Lakes community attended a Development Review Committee meeting Thursday to oppose A+ Concrete’s request to change from industrial light zoning to a planned development.

The committee voted to recommend denial of the request after hearing from 10 residents who complained about the concrete company spreading dust that has infiltrated their homes and coats their cars, and noise from concrete trucks early in the morning until late at night.

The request now heads to Pasco County commissioners, who will have the final say sometime in October.

The company has been operating like it’s zoned for heavy industrial usage for a year, even though it’s not, residents said.

“No one stands to profit from his zone change, except for the land owner, the business owner, the county through realized revenue to the detriment of all these people here and the people that couldn’t be here today because they had to work,” Janet Felts, president of the community’s homeowners association said. “This is like a brown field site. Heavy industry has occurred for years on this site. It’s contaminated.”

The land, originally part of a 14-acre parcel, was rezoned in 1987 from an agricultural district to an agricultural-residential District. In 2003, the land was zoned as a mix of residential light and heavy industrial with certain conditions.

Those changes were made to allow that property to serve as a staging area for the widening of State Road 54. The conditions stated that industrial work had to be at least 25 feet away from wetlands and the company using that land had to submit a complete environmental/habitat study, which was then to be reviewed by Pasco County officials.

In December of that same year, the property was re-zoned from agricultural-residential and agricultural districts to a light industrial park district. That, too, came with conditions.

A+ Concrete started leasing the property in December 2010. Companies that leased the land in the past were also concrete-based businesses.

The business sits just south of State Road 54 and east of Gunn Highway. It is situated at the northeastern entrance to the Ashley Lakes community. It has been cited for air quality and stormwater issues by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The original recommendation entering the meeting was to approve the change of the zoning to a planned development with conditions.

Attorney Steve Booth said his client, Robert Brue, wants to ensure he is compliant and to better his neighbors’ experience.

“The complaints that have been received, relate primarily to … dust,” Booth said. “There has been several inspections and DEP has not found any evidence of any dust that is emanating from the silos.”

He said the dust is coming from the ground and from the trucks. If the company was allowed to be a wet concrete batching facility with the zone change, more ground would be paved and trucks would be allowed to be washed on site, Booth said. Currently, trucks must go elsewhere to be cleaned.

The company has also violated other codes, including erecting a building without a permit and placing two improper signs on the property.

“I can’t support doing this because everybody else is doing it the right way and over the years I’ve counseled people about that and here were are trying to get in the back door,” Committee member John Walsh said. “I just can’t support that.”

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