A US circuit judge sided with Florida’s Center Hill residents last week, halting a new limestone mine and cement plant originally planned on rural land. Judge William H. Hallman quashed three Center Hill ordinances that threatened the retirement haven of Monty McBryde, 63. Together, the ordinances had allowed 1235 acres to be annexed into the city. They also permitted Sumter Cement Co. to build the plant and the county’s seventh limestone mine on land surrounding McBryde’s future retirement home.
Neighbors and county commissioners immediately mounted opposition when the Center Hill City Council voted for the project last fall. Two other lawsuits against the city are pending. One of them also involves McBryde. The lawsuits contend that the city violated growth rules by incorporating the land into the town and granting a mining permit.
County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution against Center Hill’s decision to help Sumter Cement Co. build its mine. The plant would have generated several hundred thousand dollars in taxes for the city, and the city argued it followed all the rules when it brought the land into the city.