Four topics on this Thursday, all intertwined:
— Car wash
Buckled in? Let’s ride.
I mentioned recently about the County Commission blocking, temporarily for now, a procedural matter that would have led to another car wash and a mini-storage facility in Lecanto.
Both, as we know, are big losers in the public eye at the moment. That has not been lost on Citrus County commissioners, who are scrutinizing every single detail of development projects and the last thing they want to see come across their desks are a car wash and/or mini-storage.
At their July 11 meeting, commissioners were set to vote on a plat, which subdivides a piece of property. The county commission does it all the time and I don’t recall commissioners having a single plat conversation.
But they did on this one. The plat was pulled off the consent agenda and when Commissioner Jeff Kinnard made a motion to approve it, he received nothing but silence.
What was behind this horrible plat? You guessed it. A car wash. And on one of the new lots being created — storage units.
Try to picture in your mind what we're looking at. Facing the new Culver’s on C.R. 491 in Lecanto. There’s empty property behind the parking lot and a few acres of vacant land to the left, or south, of the restaurant along the west edge of 491. Got it in your head?
The request is to subdivide that vacant property into separate buildable lots. (We’re not going to talk about the storage units because they’re really inconsequential in this discussion.)
Tidal Wave Auto Spa is planning a car wash just south of Culver's. Tidal Wave has a building permit but can’t use it until commissioners approve the new plat.
Which a majority does not seem inclined to do at the moment.
As mentioned, commissioners are deep in the weeds on development projects. Their biggest concern was uncertainty of what was coming on the vacant property besides a car wash.
The commission tabled the application at its July 11 meeting for more information. When it came back earlier this month, commissioners tabled it again, though I have no idea why. Usually when something is tabled it’s to move toward a concluding vote for or against. This one just went into the abyss.
After the first board delay, the property owner, Olson Land Partners LLC, sent the county a map showing what it is PROPOSING on the three additional lots. Again, before you go all ga-ga, the only thing I can say for certainty is that the property owner gave this info to the county.
Imagine again you’re facing Culver’s. Tidal Wave will be to the immediate left. Then, in order south along 491: Take Five oil change; Chipotle; Chick-fil-A.
You read that right. When commissioners discussed this the second time, they were careful not to get too specific.
“There are big things planned for that,” Kinnard said. “It would be unfortunate to tank this project.”
Now. I don’t know if this company is serious about Chick-fil-A or not. And commissioners are not going to vote for something based on a maybe or could be, which is one reason why we're in this predicament.
But that’s a significant amount of commercial development being held up because commissioners wouldn’t approve a plat. And, even though it was tabled this month, there is no indication of it coming back. No clue how that’s going to turn out.
As for the Target on the 491/486 corner, turns out it needs a plat too. The board will consider it in September.
While I'm not aware of any reason why the board wouldn’t support a plat that allows Target to get built, it's already setting a precedent. Commissioners shot down the car wash plat without even casting a negative vote; it’s tabled with no vision or purpose beyond delaying it.
While we appreciate commissioners sticking to the details, this isn't thought out all that well. It seems the board should have a conversation about development standards along 491 and other roadways, then create those standards instead of this laser surgery on each project.
So there you go. Our first official sighting of Chick-fil-A, mired in a government process and no guarantee the property owner is even serious about it.
Stay tuned. Something tells me this one has legs.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.