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Citizens panel: Cul-de-sac needs space

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PDC denies property owner’s request to close turnaround

By Chris Van Ormer

 

A property owner’s request to close a residential cul-de-sac road’s turnaround in Crystal River to discourage motorists from damaging property was denied Thursday by a citizens’ panel.

Instead, three of the four members present at the Citrus County Planning and Development Commission (PDC) meeting agreed with county planning staff’s 

recommendation to deny the request after they heard the views of other residents in the neighborhood of North Seneca Point, off West Fort Island Trail.

Speaking of behalf of Johannes and Christina Martensson, owners of four lots at the end of the road, Timothy Pitts of Achievable Solutions, a development consultancy firm in Beverly Hills, said part of the road should be closed for two reasons. 

The L-shaped area was not actually large enough to accommodate a turnabout, Pitts said. Motorists who tried to do so sometimes would leave tire tracks in the owners’ grass or hit their mailbox or gate. Pitts said the road was not originally meant to be used as a turnaround, but as access to three lots, now used as one parcel, so access is not needed.

Pitts also said the owner needed more land for a septic sprayfield that would be provided by closing the road.

“The turnaround never met standards in the first place,” Pitts said. “Why should the owners have to meet them now?”

Three neighbors spoke in opposition.

Tom Seager said he had lived nearby since 1980. He said the L-shaped end of the road originally was meant to lead to a boat ramp for residents that the developer never built.

Ann Hanes, who said she lives next door, said she would not be able to back out of her driveway if the road stopped at the Martenssons’ property line. She said the roadway is narrow and the 3-foot shoulder drops off into a marsh.

Hanes said the Martenssons frequently need to call a service truck to pump out their septic tank, and other solutions were offered to help with those issues.

“Nothing is to be gained by the public by closing this road,” Hanes said.

Another neighbor, Ray Hunter, said no changes should be made to the 40-year-old road to make it worse. 

Pitts responded to Hanes, saying a provision could be made for her to back out of her driveway.

Principal planner Joanna Coutu answered PDC member Joe Chrietzberg’s question about the boat ramp — that it was historic and not platted.

Panel member Bill Garvin said he would vote to deny the request because he said the owners had created their own septic problem and had other solutions. 

Panel member Dwight Hooper likewise said the septic situation was not the neighbors’ fault.

“I don’t see closing it for one property owner,” Hooper said. “Why make it worse?”

The motion to recommend denial to the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners was carried by a 3-1 vote, with Chrietzberg voting against the others.

Chronicle reporter Chris Van Ormer can be reached at cvanormer@chronicleonline.com or 352-564-2916.