Trouble reported to BOCC by Pine Ridge residents

Pine Ridge residents took their complaints to the Citrus County Commission on Tuesday.

Residents who live in the area of West Calico and West Conestoga told commissioners tales of intimidation and threats made to them by drivers coming from a 42-acre parcel behind their area.

There is a gap in a barrier to keep out traffic, a situation which is routinely exploited by unwanted traffic, residents said. Residents also told commissioners that many people would not appear before commission because they were afraid of reprisals of "intruders" if their face was shown (on county video of the commission meeting).

Pine Ridge-area Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith was in that area talking with residents about the problem when he and the group 0f about 20 people were approached by a white pickup truck, whose driver demanded that they get out of the way. When they didn't move, the driver advanced his truck slowly through them, forcing them to move. No one was injured, but Smith told commissioners "I almost gone run over.” 

During discussion, the consensus is that the matter will come up before them in a future meeting, and that several parties will beed to be involved to solve the problem.

Commissioner Brian Coleman said, "The big issue with a barricades is that others can still cut though fences, but at different places," he said. Further, he said,  a barrier would restrict access by fire. Noting that one resident had said someone on an ATV fired at their home, Coleman noted that the bullet didn’t hit anything.

"There’s a lot more (that needs to be done) other than putting up a barricade. Within half an hour, they’re (intruders are) going to be cutting fences on either side of (it)." He said fire, property owners and  law enforcement needs to be involved.

Added to these issues, there is a law that says you can't land-lock an area so there's no access to a parcel of property. And Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said that the owners of the 42-acre parcel behind the Pine Ridge property isn't happy with trespassers there, either. That piece of property is also home to mini-farms, residents told commissioners.

Commissoner Ron Kitchen said, " I believe that if we can do, we should do. Everyone should be able to have the quiet enjoyment of their property."

Commissioner Smith said that area needs a barrier, and that other ways to help solve the issue would include sending a letter to mini-farm owners, interacting with the 42-acre property owner and the education of people going through the Pine Ridge area in question.

Smith said there were also other areas of the county that are seeing situation like the one seen in Pine Ridge. "People are also coming in with ATVs and trashing our communities."

Commission Chairman Scott Carnahan agreed, and cited a recent news tory about a hit-and-run in which a woman was killed, allegedly by an unknown ATV driver on Souther in Lecanto.

Commissioner Carnahan said the BOCC will discuss the Pine Ridge problem "In the near future."

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