BROOKSVILLE, Fla. -- Hernando County Commissioners are holding a second public meeting today to make a final decision whether or not Cemex can expand its mining area.
- Hernando Commissioners to decide today whether Cemex can expand mining area
- This is the third time Cemex has applied for expansion
- Many residents opposed to expansion
It's a debate that's been going on for months. This is the third time Cemex has applied for an expansion and some residents aren't in favor of more mining in the area.
Drive down Fort Dade Avenue in Brooksville and you'll see dozens of signs both for and against Cemex's proposal to expand their mine.
"This is just a bad location for it," said DeeVon Quirolo, Nature Coast Conservation Neighbors Against Mining Project President.
Quirolo lives in Brooksville and believes expanding the mining would hurt the area.
"The blasting I'll hear. The air pollution will reduce the air quality in our area. The drop in property values will further diminish the prospects for Brooksville to grow economically," she explained.
The issue concerns 730 acres of land between Fort Dade Avenue and Cortez Blvd. Cemex wants to mine about 80 percent of that land for the next 20 years. The remaining land would be commercial property.
Back in March, commissioners made their first approval to change the zoning of that land to allow mining.
At that meeting, Cemex representatives said they'd benefit the local economy through property taxes and workers salaries.
Dozens of people were there asking commissioners to not approve the change. But Commission Chair, Steve Champion, said they were in the minority.
"I just want to remind people that this is a minority in the county. This county is 180,000-something people, and based on the voting record, 71 percent voted for pro-business candidates that are for economic growth," Champion explained.
But Quirolo said she and other opponents to the mine aren't giving up the fight and are urging commissioners to re-think the decision.
"I want our community to be healthy and economically strong. There's not one new mine job created through this project. It's just a bad deal for Hernando County," she said.
The county Planning and Zoning Committee have recommended commissioners vote against the zoning change, which would allow the expansion.