HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. - The demand for residential real estate is rising, but there’s not enough homes to fill that demand. 

What You Need To Know

  • One particular location is causing a divide between owners who live close by and county leaders

  • The proposed 250-housing development would go up right along U.S. 19

  • More Hernando County headlines

As more people are moving to Florida, developers are looking for land to develop large communities, but finding the right land to develop can be tricky. 

Hernando County is a great place to develop. County Commissioner John Allocco said, “We were one of the counties that had minimal mandates during last year during the COVID crisis pandemic and so what that did, it drove a lot of people to our area or looked at our area who are looking for a little bit of freedom in their lives.”

While developers are looking for green space to build, one particular location is causing a divide between owners who live close by and county leaders.

Charlie Willis has lived in the Winding Oaks community for a few years now. He said that while he is not against redevelopment, he is just opposed to one built right in front of his neighborhood. So he brought his concern to county leaders. 

“Their reaction,” he said, “was that the engineers would’ve told them if it was dangerous and we get the feeling that they take the words of the engineers over the reality of what we see out here every day.” 

The proposed 250-housing development will go up right along U.S. 19, one of the most traveled roads in the county. Residents who live right behind the land in question said there’s only one way in and out of their community — through Atlanta Avenue, a road Maureen Vanni-Manconi travels down numerous times a day. 

She said, “I sat 14 minutes waiting without the extra 500 cars that’s gonna happen for putting in this development.”

The speed limit on that stretch of the road is 60 miles an hour even with the high school and elementary school less than a mile away. Residents say their main concern is safety when the speed limit is not going to drop with this new addition.

“DOT says no, we will not lower the speed limit,” Willis said.

Spectrum Bay News 9 reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation. District Seven Communications manager Kris Carson sent a written statement saying in part, “Depending on the size of the development/increase in traffic…we would think there had been appreciable changes to the operational environment on U.S 19 that might warrant revisiting the current posted speed limit.”

Robin Elder, who also lives in the Winding Oaks community, said a few residents went to the board of county commissioners when they heard the project was approved. “We were told after the approval, we can appeal,” she said. "We were told 15 days and we were told 30 days.”

She also said the time to appeal had expired due to misinformation they were given.

Commissioner Allocco mentioned that in the several housing development applications they receive, only a few actually go under construction.

We also reached out to Florida Highway Patrol to the get the statistics on the number of accidents they’ve recorded between Atlanta Avenue and Vespa Way within the past few years. 

They told us that since 2018, they’ve only recorded 25 accidents where the new development will go up. One of those was a fatal accident that happened in 2018.