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Lee plans open house on mining amendments

April 10, 2019
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Lee County staff will host an open-house style informational meeting today, April 10, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the county's Public Works building in Fort Myers.

The open house is an attempt by staff to broaden the public understanding of the Lee County Commissioners' upcoming meeting on limerock mining and proposed changes to the Lee County Comprehensive Plan.

According to Betsy Clayton, Lee County Government spokesperson, the goal of this educational meeting is to help members of the public and stakeholders become better educated on the subject.

"Staff has been responding to numerous phone calls regarding the amendment. This just seemed like a better way to reach out to the community. There does seem to be a prevalence of misinformation in regards to what is going before the board on April 17. The website and workshop is a way for us to clarify things," said Clayton.

The informational meeting will be drop-in style with staff from Lee County Community Development, Lee County Natural Resources, the Lee County Attorney's Office and Lee County Administration on-hand to answer questions.

The purpose is to explain the proposed Limerock Mining amendments (CPA2018-10014) that the Lee Board of County Commissioners is slated to vote on at its April 17 meeting, a regularly scheduled Zoning and Comprehensive Plan Amendment hearing. The board meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Commission Chambers at the Old Courthouse, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers.

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The proposed mining amendments will eliminate the requirement of a demand-study and utilization of Map 14; however, according to the county, all other mine-related requirements remain in effect to protect public safety, water quality and habitat.

"The same stiff regulations on limerock mining would remain in effect even with the elimination of Map 14," said Clayton.

The proposed amendments would remove an "economic necessity" component currently contained in the mining section of the Lee County Comprehensive Plan, a regulation some find contrary to a free-market economy.

Under the current "economic necessity" requirement and according to a recent study for limerock supply/demand, the areas existing limerock supply is enough to last 33 years.

Those against the amendment to Lee County's mining plan fear the elimination of the existing system, which restricts the number of mining activities.

According to Clayton, even though the purpose of this particular open-house pertains to the county's April 17 meeting, people who have general questions regarding limerock mining are welcome to come as well.

Lee County has created a landing page to provide information about the limerock mining issue and proposed changes to the Lee County Comprehensive Plan. The landing page provides an overview, an FAQ and a link to join a county mailing list for future updates. There is also a link people can click on to ask staff questions. The county's amendment landing page is



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