THE ISSUE: Planning for drastic change.

OUR OPINION: Opportunity awaits.

Competing interests make planning for a new interchange a daunting task.

Citrus County is well into its process to develop a plan for the Suncoast Parkway interchange at West Cardinal Street in Homosassa. County residents offered their thoughts to the change recently when the county shared maps at a public meeting.

Land use was a hot topic. From the comments presented, the county has a delicate balancing act to perform.

Making everyone happy will be impossible. For example, some want commercial, but not more gas stations. Others say no commercial, or industrial, which leaves residential — we doubt residential will be a hot commodity at the interchange.

As for commercial, it is essential it be part of the final best-use land plan. Interchanges quickly become hubs of commercial activity as motorists stop to eat, gas up or shop.

Industrial use is another opportunity that cannot be lost. Aside from moving people quickly from point A to point B, turnpikes are also integral to manufactured goods transportation. If we don’t plan for that likelihood, we will miss out on essential benefits to the local economy.

County planners are well aware of opportunities and obstacles they face in designing this interchange. Citizen input is important, but so is logical planning. We should trust the professionals in county government to consider all options and produce a plan to provide maximum benefit for all stakeholders.

But don’t expect everyone to be happy, that is an impossible ask.

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