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Proposed mining operation meets resistance

Nearby property owners voice concerns

April 18, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Residents and a property owner planning a mining operation will meet again on April 24 for another round of presentations and testimony on a requested rezoning to allow the controversial project to go forward.

Residents opposed to the request to rezone agricultural land to allow a mining operation of the Old Corkscrew Plantation, located off SR 82 at Wildcat Drive, voiced continued opposition, addressing Lee County's Zoning Review Board on April 4.

The request originally went before the board on March 27, but was rescheduled multiple times due to the absence of key witnesses and lengthy proceedings.

During the continuation hearing, presentations were made from both sides, including Lee County's staff expert witnesses.

Corkscrew Grove Limited Partnership called on key witnesses to support its request to rezone approximately 4,202 acres from Agricultural to Industrial Planned Development and an approval of a General Mining Permit.

Following expert testimonies, residents took their turn at the podium to express their fears and concerns that a mining operation of this magnitude would destroy both their properties and peace of mind.

Linda Nelson, was just one of the residents who waited days to express concerns she has over the rezoning of the nearby property and what she says will be its effect on the community.

"We are already seeing trucks going up and down our streets and destroying our roads," Nelson said.

Residents were also surprised to find out that the proposed mine operation's property line, which was once believed to be 100 feet from Wildcat Drive and their properties, is actually 60 feet away.

"Many of us are worried about the structural damage this kind of blasting could do to our homes. You also have people out here with farms and livestock," Nelson said.

The biggest fear among homeowners was that they will be stuck, and unable to sell their property for anything close to what they have already invested once operations are under way.

Margie and David Castro have lived near the proposed mine site for more than 20 years. The couple blames explosives coming from another nearby mine for damaging their home.

The family was just about to pay off the mortgage, only to find out that their house has severe structural damage.

"Now we need a new loan to pay for the foundation damage that our insurance company blames on the mines and won't pay to fix," said Castro.

Another session for public comment is scheduled for April 24, followed by a chance for the representatives from King's Ranch to rebut and make their closing statements.

The continuation hearing will be held at the Lee County Planning Board at 1500 Monroe St, Fort Myers.

For more information, call 239-533-8329.



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