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County hearing on Troyer Mine today

August 21, 2019
By MELISSA BILL (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Lee County Commissioners will hold a public hearing today to consider the proposed rezoning of the Troyer Brothers property along State Road 82 to permit a mining operation, which could last up to 35 years. Immediately following, commissioners will hold a public hearing to consider the adoption of the proposed amendments to the Lee County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

The proposed Troyer limerock mining operation has faced quite a bit of resistance throughout the rezoning request process, which began at the transmittal hearing in 2017. This is the public's final opportunity to comment for three minutes on the amendment.

Members of the public who appeared before the hearing examiner in the initial public hearing on this case are eligible to participate in the public comment portion of the meeting at 9:30 a.m. at the Lee County Board of County Commissioners in Commission Chambers at the Old Courthouse, 2120 Main St., in Fort Myers.

According to Randy Johnson, branch manager at Sakata Seed America, a business that will have to share the driveway with Troyer if approved, three minutes is not enough.

"Giving residents and businesses a chance to speak for three minutes against these changes is not what I call a level playing field. If the amendment and deletion of Map 14 occur, a new corridor for trucks carrying limerock will exist on State Road 82 and Corkscrew Road," Johnson said.

In a statement, Tina McCain Matte, a spokesperson for Troyer Brothers, said, "The land where Troyer Brothers has cultivated and harvested potatoes since the 1980s has been identified as a resource area for high-quality limestone -- the principal component of concrete and asphalt used in the construction of roads, bridges, foundations and buildings.

"In short, limerock is in limited supply but is necessary for our homes, schools, hospitals and churches. Local and state governments use limerock for projects, as does the private sector," he continued. "Having this natural resource available locally helps keep costs down while keeping jobs and revenues local."

Matte also added that, if approved, the Troyer Brothers Mine would be required to adhere to the strict operational standards required by the county and the state of Florida. And at the conclusion of mining operations, more than 1,000 acres will be restored, enhanced and permanently preserved with wildlife corridors.

Groups opposed to the proposed Troyer Mine say that 35 years is a long time to wait to have preserved wetlands and important wildlife habitat restored.

Johnson from Sakata, and a wide range of community groups and organizations have spoken out against the rezoning and proposed amendments. Groups include the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Village of Estero, Estero Council of Community Leaders, the Sierra Club, Florida Wildlife Federation and many others.

Johnson, along with these groups, continues to fight to assure the current re-quirements of the Lee Comp Plan remain in place.

"Presently Map 14 still stands, and the current rules on supply requirements, which includes a needs analysis that already exists in the current Lee Comp Plan. This analysis, the Waldrop Report, says that there will not be a demonstrated need for more limerock until the year 2030. We feel confident that we have all of the evidence, which indicates additional limerock mining is not needed," said Johnson.

Johnson adds that comp plan amendments will limit public input.

"If these changes to the Lee Comp plan go through, once it goes to zoning, I am no longer allowed to talk to the county's board of commissioners," Johnson said.

According to Betsy Clayton, Lee County Government Communications Director, the hearing will be broken down into two parts.

First there will be a hearing on Lee Plan Amendments, where the board will consider the recommendations of the staff, applicant, comments provided by state reviewing agencies, and public comments.

Then the Troyer Brothers zoning application will be addressed, where the board will consider the recommendations of the hearing examiner, applicant and public comments.

Lee County Board of County Commis-sioners' public hearing to consider the adoption of the proposed amendments to the Lee County Comprehensive Land Use Plan is open to all members of the public wishing to comment.

For information on the Lee County Board of County Commissioners visit www.leegov.com. For information on opposition points, visit nomineon82.com.

 
 

 

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