The latest update for the extension of Suncoast Parkway 3 to continue north from SR44 up through Citrus County to parallel I-75 north past Jacksonville has been put on the back burner. FDOT will be concentrating on relieving traffic on I-75 by widening I-75 and making other improvements.
More information about upcoming
meetings will be available on the project
website at ww.i75relief.com Please direct
any questions or comments to Hui Wei Shen,
FDOT Project Manager, by phone at
(850) 414-4911, or by email at Huiwei.Shen@dot.state.fl.us.
The Florida Channel has agreed with FDOT to
videotape all remaining I-75 Relief Task Force
meetings. FDOT is also negotiating for live-
streaming the remaining Task Force meetings.
Citrus Native Plant Sale
Hurry, Ends March 7th!!
Suncoast 2 Opposition Seeking Funding
Suncoast 2 is planned to be a 4 lane (approved for 8 lanes) toll road from the Hernando/Citrus county line north to
SR 44 in Citrus County. No one is sure, except maybe FDOT, where Suncoast 2 will go after SR 44. It could go north to Norvel Bryant (CR486) or terminate at 44, sending traffic east through Inverness to I-75 or to US 41 to go to points north towards Ocala and Gainesville or to a very crowded US 19 in the center of Crystal River. The public has been left in the dark about this mysterious route.
The projected traffic on Suncoast 2 to SR 44 is woefully small much like the north section of the existing Suncoast. It is noteworthy that many years after completion of the Suncoast Parkway the road does not generate enough in tolls to pay for itself. Extending the road into Citrus County will not produce enough revenue to pay for the bonds. Yet the state is willing to spend $257 million on this 13 mile stretch into Citrus County. Governor Scott put $150 M into the budget for it but won't say why or where it is coming from. One can only speculate about the intent and feasibility as no studies have been done to assess the impact of ending at 44 or going “somewhere north” and not to US 19 as was the original plan.
The I-75 task force concluded that improvements to I-75 should be the first priority. But as long as Suncoast 2 remains on the books routes other than I-75 are likely to dominate. Certainly other cities like Inverness and neighborhoods will suffer if these alternative routes prevail.
A non-profit has been formed to stop Suncoast 2 until the northern route is known and all stakeholders have been empowered. The name is: Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp. We are seeking donations for legal help. Donations can be sent to Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp, PO Box 75, Floral City, Florida 34436. Below is a link to articles from the Dec/Jan edition of the Suncoast Standard that gives information on ETNA and the history of the proposed road.
Acronyms Commonly Used by Citrus County Govt
General Meeting Pictures
February 8, 2017
Sgt. Lahara, Angela Vick, President Janet Barek, Commissioner Ron Kitchen
(This Petition is still active and needing signatures) Now needed more than ever to ensure the Fl environment isn't destroyed with new regulations and laws being removed!
Tell DEP: Don't allow more toxic fracking chemicals in Florida's water
Petition to Florida Department of Environmental Protection:
"Protect Florida's water. Don't weaken standards to allow more toxic chemicals in our state waters, including chemicals like benzene that are used in fracking."
Sign Petition You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.
According to reports this week from the Tallahassee Democrat, Florida officials are preparing to weaken restrictions on two dozen toxic chemicals in Florida’s water — including tripling the allowable level of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical used in Fracking.1
Thanks to public pushback, fracking still isn’t allowed in Florida, but the fracking industry is trying hard to change that. This plan to increase allowable benzene levels could be a backdoor attempt to help pave the way for fracking in the Sunshine State.2
As the Department of Environmental Protection considers these new standards, this is a vital moment for Floridians to speak out for the safety of their water.
Tell the Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Protect Florida’s water. Don’t weaken toxic standards that could pave the way for fracking.
While officials at the Department of Environmental Protection claim increasing benzene levels has nothing to do with fracking, it’s hard to take them at their word given the recent actions of the fracking industry in Florida.
After the oil and gas industry gave at least $443,000 to top Republicans in the legislature, the Florida house voted in February to pass a bill that would open the door to fracking, preempt local fracking bans, and provide exemptions for companies to avoid disclosing what chemicals they’re using.
Thanks to an outcry from Floridians, including nearly 10,000 CREDO Activists, the bill died in the state Senate. But we know the industry is not done — and we can’t let weakening toxics standards open the door for endangering Florida’s precious water with toxic fracking in fragile ecosystems.
With 90 percent of Floridians relying on groundwater aquifers for their drinking water, increasing levels of toxic contaminants is dangerous. And with the state so vulnerable to impacts from a heating planet, any attempt to expand fossil fuels and fracking should be a non-starter. Tell the Florida Department of Environmental Protection: Protect Florida’s water. Don’t weaken toxic standards that could pave the way for fracking
Wawa eyeing Citrus County RaceTrac on track for Four Corners By Michael D. Bates
Wawa, which has achieved almost a cult
following among sandwich and coffee connoisseurs, is in negotiations to open its first store in Citrus County.
If successful, it would be located on the southeast corner of County Road 491 and 486 in Lecanto.
But wait — there’s more.
The county has a development agreement in hand from RaceTrac, which plans to build its newest gas station/convenience store at one of the most heavily traveled intersections of the county — the southwest corner of C.R. 491 and State Road 44. Plus, negotiations remain under way for the long-awaited new Taco Bell on U.S. 19 in Homosassa. Throw in a new Wendy’s restaurant, and that’s four new options for county residents.
Barring any obstacles in the final permitting stage, most of these locations could open this year.
Wawa devotees have been known to travel long distances to visit the gas station with the funny name, which is a native American word for the Canada goose.
Ed Dickinson, president-broker for Walter Dickinson of Tampa Bay Inc., said the Wendy’s franchisee that owns 4 acres on the southeast corner of County Road 491 and 486 in Lecanto is negotiating with Wawa to finalize the deal. If successful, Wawa would occupy the “hard corner” of that intersection and Wendy’s the “off-corner” just to the east. There would be an entrance off both main roads.
If all goes well, it could open by the fourth quarter of 2017, said Dickinson, whose company helps with site selections.
The sandwich shop/gas station/convenience chain is popular in other markets and has been expanding in recent years. Because Wawa sells gas at lower prices, it tends to create competition in the area among neighboring stations.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa has more than 640 convenience retail stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and central Florida. It started building stores in the Sunshine State in 2012 and has been steadily expanding.
RaceTrac has submitted paperwork to the county to build at C.R. 491 and S.R. 44, sometimes called Four Corners. It still must go through other permitting steps and the county commission for approval.
But RaceTrac spokeswoman Karissa Bursch is optimistic that groundbreaking will take place in the next two months, with an anticipated opening at the beginning of the fourth quarter. She anticipates a mix of 15 to 20 full- and part-time employees. The store will have 18 fueling stations.
Bursch said this will be the chain’s latest store model, with more modern architecture, expanded indoor and outdoor seating and more food and beverage options.
The sign along the east side of U.S. 19, just north of West Homosassa Trail, has been there for about 15 months. But Dickinson said Taco Bell still plans to build.
He said the property owner continues to work through some permitting and access issues with the county, including completing paving a stub-out that would allow customers to access the restaurant through the Dollar General.
Dickinson said there are also development issues with the Florida Department of Transportation, which is widening that stretch of U.S. 19.
Don Taylor, president of the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, said even though these kinds of retailers typically pay lower wages, they still enhance the county by providing high-paying — albeit temporary — construction jobs. It also shows that Citrus County is still a desirable place for chains and may entice other investors into the area.
“Some of these retails coming in, they’ve done their demographics and they see there’s money to be spent here,” Taylor said.
Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-5660 or email@example.com
Transit offers new program for residents 60 and over
The Citrus County Transit’s Transportation Disadvantaged Advisory Board has approved a new option for residents sixty years of age and over. The new program invites any resident that is age sixty and over to get a free pass to ride the Deviated Fixed Route, and have a discount on the Para Transit service. This opportunity is not income based and residents will need to show proof of age for the bus pass to be issued. Passes and applications are available at the Citrus County Transit Center, located at 1300 S. Lecanto Hwy. as well as on the Citrus County BOCC website http://www.citruscountytransit.com/. For more information, call our office at 352-527-7630.