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Resident input on proposed mining operation delayed

Hearing continued until April 4

April 4, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen


The request to rezone current agricultural land to a mining operation of the Old Corkscrew Plantation off SR 82 at Wildcat Drive went before Lee County Planning Board last Tuesday.

Corkscrew Grove Limited Partnership filed a request to rezone approximately 4,202.3 acres from Agricultural to Industrial Planned Development and an approval of a General Mining Permit, which would allow an aggregate mining operation with blasting and dewatering.

Nearby property owners flooded the main hearing room and adjacent conference area to express their concerns about the rezoning proposal.

Due to a lengthy hearing and absence of key witnesses from both sides, however, the hearing was continued on March 28 and again to April 4.

Attendees were asked to fill out a public participation form if they desired to speak during the proceedings. Anyone from the public who does not attend and speak during the preliminary hearing will be prevented from speaking during the final hearing.

"We are really disappointed that this has dragged out. Most of us have jobs and had to take off of work to be here today. We don't get paid for the hours we spend at these hearings," said one resident.

Donna Marie Collins, chief hearing examiner for the Lee County Hearing Examiners Office, opened with a brief introduction to the applicant who then took the floor to summarize their request.

Among the first to present on behalf of the Old Corkscrew Plantation project was Dan DeLisi, vice president of the consulting firm DeLisi Fitzgerald Inc.

According to DeLisi, the mine operation will be separated by at least a mile of distance from any residential uses.

"We also took into consideration the noise as far as its capability to the nearby residences," said DeLisi.

One of the many worries residents have is possible structural damage to their properties from the blasting.

"My client does not agree with your staffs report on page 8, which said that we are proposing to violate the state's law on blasting. Our planner's report merely was just a model to show examples of charge/weight ratios per distance. Blasting will not occur within 1,000 feet to clarify," explained DeLisi.

According to DeLisi there will also be limitations on blasting and hours of operations, prohibiting any blasting from being done after hours.

The nearby Belle Terra residents are just one of the groups concerned about what another mining operation would bring to their neighborhood. Currently there are already two mining operations within close proximity to the proposed King's Ranch mining site.

The continuation hearing will have presentations from both sides, including Lee County's staff expert witnesses.

Although there are no assurances, residence and other members of the public will likely get their chance to speak during the continuation hearing held on April 4 at 9 a.m. at the Lee County Planning Board at 1500 Monroe St, Fort Myers, FL.

For more information, please call 239-533-8329.



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