Code Compliance sign

A notice from the Department of Growth Management, Code Compliance Division is pictured at the entrance to a construction site in a Crystal River neighborhood, north of the city.

The county’s code compliance division has issued a notice of violation against a developer who has been clearing some land without a permit on an 85-acre parcel on Citrus Avenue north of Crystal River.

A hearing date is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 15 in Room 166 of the Lecanto Government Center, 3600 W. Sovereign Path.

Scott McKinney, director of Citrus County Code Compliance, said a code officer walked the property Wednesday and saw what he believed to be "under-brushing," where brush is removed rather than scraping the land down to the bare dirt beneath it. Underbrush clearing usually involves mowing and mulching equipment.

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That kind of work is legal, McKinney said.

The December hearing is to account for the work done prior to the notice being issued and any other removal of trees exceeding 4 inches in diameter. 

McKinney said the county cannot issue "stop work" orders and the property owner will be held responsible for the violation, especially if it continues. 

This is the same property that made the news last June when a developer applied for a zoning change on the property in hopes of building Crystal River Luxury RV Resort.

That resort would have included up to 600 RV pads, pool, golf cart rentals, bar and grill, a basketball court and walking trails.

Neighbors opposed the resort, saying it was not consistent with the neighborhood, which is heavily wooded and bordered on three sides by residential streets. 

The Citrus County Planning and Development Commission (PDC) unanimously rejected the request.

All this is déjà vu for Robert Hathorn, whose home off Tom Mason Drive is right next to the current land-clearing.

It looks as if five or six acres have already been cleared, he said. For what purpose? Nobody, including the county, knows.

Efforts to reach the company whose name was on the notice of violation — IDLETUESDAY LLC — were unsuccessful.

“My neighbors and I fear this belligerent group will have the entire 85 acres leveled by that time and will simply pay the fine,” Hathorn said.

Needless to say, Hathorn will be at the December hearing, along with the neighbors.

“I would be willing to bet there will be considerable attendance,” he said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.