BROOKSVILLE — The County Commission has decided to review the Sept. 13 decision rejecting a special use exception for land owned by Randy Yoho in rural Brooksville, which he’d like to use for a motocross track.

Numerous surrounding landowners have been fighting Yoho’s requests for years, citing issues of noise, suitability, traffic and disruption of their quiet lifestyle and rural business pursuits by the sound of motorcycle engines.

Leonard Johnson, the attorney for Randy Yoho, told the commission that the special exception was sought for recreational use, and staff recommended approval with conditions such as limitations on riders and hours.

“We would simply like this body to review the decision of Planning & Zoning,” Johnson said.

Commissioner Steve Champion said he couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want no more than seven riders from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for four days a week, and Chairman John Allocco said the owner wanted more than that.

“If I live next to it, do I want a dump or do I want a private ATV park that’s four days a week? I just can’t understand that,” Champion said. “The owner would make a lot more money making it a dump. I just don’t understand that,” and added, “It’s right for the area.”

The motion was approved 5-0 to review the special use exception at the Nov. 16 meeting.

Budget and taxes

Also at the meeting, the commission approved a $623.1 million budget and lowered taxes. Commissioners voted to lower the existing 7.6412 general fund millage rate to 7.4412 and increase the Transportation Trust Fund from 0.7091 to 0.8091 to provide funding for maintaining and improving the county's growing transportation system. Overall, the county millage decreased from 9.4844 to 9.3844.

One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The General Fund includes the Clerk of Court, Property Appraiser, Sheriff's Office, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector and programs and services provided by the Board of County Commissioners such as emergency management, animal services, parks and recreation, facilities management, libraries, health and human services, economic development, veterans services, code enforcement, planning, zoning, extension services, administration and more.

Adoption of the final millage rates are as follows: General Fund, 7.4412; Transportation Trust Fund, .08091; Health Unit Trust Fund, 0.1102; Emergency Medical Services taxing unit, 0.9100; Stormwater Management taxing unit, 0.1139.

School bus lines

Commissioners discussed issues relating to school dropoffs and pickups by parents, and the long lines of vehicles that are forming and being extended into roadways. Champion blamed the school district for the road blockage problems. “They’re not scared of taxes,” he said. “They raised taxes three times in three years. I’m sure they could find a way” to fix their busing and traffic problems. “There has to be a better way.”

Commissioner Beth Narverud said parents are lining up and sometimes even blocking entrances and sitting in lawn chairs while waiting for their children. She said that even if the district had the money for more school buses and routes, the driver shortage is a problem.

Champion said the school district’s policies on dropoff and pickup lines were examples of “situational ethics” that had to be stopped, and that the district was violating the law by allowing the lines to form.

He said the schools should open earlier so the children can be dropped off earlier and avoid the formation of long lines.

Narverud said maybe parents shouldn’t be allowed to drop off their children early, and that in some neighborhoods the cars are blocking private homes.

Commissioner Jeff Holcomb said school staff should be available to watch children who arrive and are dropped off early.

“But even if you open up earlier, parents would arrive even earlier,” Narverud said. “These parents get there early, and wait.”

Champion said the solution was to put up “no standing” signs. “There should be no cars on the road blocking the lanes,” he said. The school board could fix this, he concluded.

Finally, a motion was made to send the school district a letter telling the board to stop the stacking of cars on active roadways. The motion passed 5-0.

In other action

Commissioners held a long discussion on the presentation of the Weeki Wachee Natural System Carrying Capacity Working Group. Recommendations included additional recreation guidance, signage and public education; re-establishing vegetation communities and organic soil on impacted point bars; removing rope swings; reinforcement of susceptible banks or trees; extending state park regulations down to Rogers Park; limiting mooring; establishing regulations on vessel types and sizes; and studying tree falls and undercutting.

Efforts at public education on responsible use of the river included explaining why people should stay in their vessels and not go ashore, trampling sensitive vegetation and/or diving into the river, and the uses of various media to explain the rules and regulations of the river, as well as enforcement efforts by deputies.