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Residents express concern about county’s plans for Joel Boulevard

December 27, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Community Council held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. The board started its meeting with public comments, which included two people who were concerned over the redesign efforts of Joel Boulevard, which was presented by the Lee County Department of Transportation in November.

Local resident Thomas Spencer spoke before the Council to announce his petition currently under way on, which already had 269 signatures from residents living in Lehigh Acres who are concerned about the restriping plans presented by the DOT during the council's last meeting. Those plans would reduce the number of lanes on Joel Boulevard from its current four to three lanes.

"Our main worry is that this added interruption to the flow of vehicles down the road would only result in slow downs, impatient drivers and rear-in collisions along an already crash ridden road," said Spencer.

Another person from the community asked why no one in Lehigh Acres was made aware of the new redesign plans of Joel Boulevard.

Following public comments, Council President Rick Anglickis read before the board a letter that was written on behalf of the council and those residents opposed to the DOT's proposed restriping plans for Joel Boulevard.

In the letter addressed to Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann and fellow commissioners, the council members ask the Lee County Department of Transportation to consider the concerns of residents and look at other options for the redesign of Joel Boulevard.

Council member Tyler Woodby also suggested that the letter include a request for a follow-up town hall meeting to be held in Lehigh Acres where community members would have the opportunity to speak and give their input and suggestions.

Council Vice President Chuck Edwards also had an update on a previous situation addressed during a council meeting held earlier in the year on the proposed Troyer Mining operation.

"Lee County Commissioners met today and voted to lift the current quota on mining activities in Lee County. This will most likely allow the Troyer Mining operation to pass and other limerock mining permits currently waiting for zoning approval," said Edwards.

Currently two mines are awaiting final approval by the county. Opponents to the limerock mines cited the creation of sheet rock flow, water and air quality problems, additional trucking traffic on a congested State Road 82 and the encroachment onto protected Florida Panther breeding grounds as reasons that these additional mines should not be allowed to open.

Previously commissioners and zoning board members used a report done by Lee County, referred to as the Waldrop report, as a way for the county to evaluate the approval of limerock zoning cases. That report currently states that Lee County has enough limerock activity through the year 2037.

The council also presented its "Community Volunteer Award" to Chuck Emery, the coordinator of the ministry at Faith Lutheran Church, for his 20-plus years of service running the weekly bread distribution.

"Every week the church's bread bank serves 200-plus families, which translates to about 800 to 1,000 people each week," said Emery. "The distribution has provided a necessary food staple to many families, not only in Lehigh Acres, but in Immokalee, Clewiston, LaBelle and Alva.

Lee County Parks and Recreation also updated the council on Veterans Park Recreation Center's closure, between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, for holidays and maintenance. The gymnasium floors will be resurfaced and coated during the two-week time period. All classes will resume in January.

The council will hold its next meeting on Jan. 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lee County Sheriff's Office East District substation, at 1301 Homestead Road N.

For more information, visit online at: Residents who would like more information on the current Joel Boulevard redesign petition can visit / then search under Joel Boulevard petition.



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