BROOKSVILLE - Felicia Dellea believes it's time for Hernando County to capitalize on the nationwide organic food boom.
On Monday, she will ask planning and zoning commissioners for a special exception use permit to operate a sustainable, organic farm from her three-acre California Street property, just south of Forzando Avenue.
Dellea said in her application there is a growing demand for organic farmers and she wants permission to grow and sell produce on her agriculturally zoned property.
"We want our community to be able to have a local, comfortable atmosphere to purchase their produce and not have to travel to different stores to meet (those) needs," according to Dellea.
Dellea's application to the county includes building a facility on-site that would be staffed and open six days a week. There would be hot houses and green houses for fruits and vegetables, along with a fruit stand.
The store, she said, will provide a convenient alternative to local farmers' markets and some grocery stores, and her employees will be able to keep the produce fresh in a cool storage area.
Dellea also cited a study by Lunanne Lohr of the University of Georgia, who found that counties with higher numbers of organic farmers have stronger farm and local economies.
Planning and zoning staffers are recommending the board approve the request, as long as Dellea obtains all necessary permits and meets all applicable land development regulations.
The planning and zoning meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Monday at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 North Main St. in downtown Brooksville.
Also on Monday's agenda:
Resident Brian West will seek permission to rezone five separate parcels totaling 6.25 acres off Fort Dade Avenue from residential to agriculture for the purpose of raising farm animals.
West, representing himself and three additional landowners, said in his application they all have children and grandchildren who "love animals and we have the space enough for them to raise them and keep them as pets."
West said the property would be home to chickens, ponies and goats.
To view the entire agenda, visit http://hernandocountyfl.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=1363