Saturday, Nov 29, 2014
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Proposed church site doesn't meet with county approval

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BROOKSVILLE - Crosspoint Church, which currently holds Sunday morning services at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics, is looking for a permanent home for its 1,000-member congregation.

Church officials believe they have the ideal spot: a 16-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Corporate Boulevard and Anderson Snow Road, next to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and adjacent airport industrial park complex.

But the county's Office of Business Development think it's a little too close and shot off a memo to planning and zoning staffers that said establishing a church in that industrially zoned spot might affect the county's mission of "creating meaningful jobs and investment in the county through recruitment, retention and expansion of targeted industries."

The pastor of the church, Rev. Paul Castelli, has a different take on the matter.

"I know that industrial acreage is important to our county's economic plans but so is spiritual development and ministry to our Hernando County families," Castelli wrote in a letter to planning staffers.

Planning and zoning commissioners will hear both sides at their meeting Wednesday and weigh in with a recommendation.

The proposed church site is in what is called the airport planned development district and church officials would need a special exception use permit for a religious establishment to build a 50,000-square-foot building with 1,600-seat sanctuary.

Castelli said the goal is to develop the land in 2016 to hold worship services on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.

Perhaps seven to 15 years down the road, there might be a possibility of expanding with an on-site daycare, home school groups and even an elementary school.

In the seven years of its existence, Crosspoint has grown from 12 people to more than 1,000, according to Castelli.

"We feel it is vital to our future to be able to purchase land and build a church campus so we can effectively continue our mission," Castelli wrote.

Planning and zoning staff are recommending the board deny the request for a permit to build.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.

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