Proposed east Lee County limerock mine denied, a win for homeowners

A proposed limerock mine will not be built east of Estero, at least for now, and homeowners are calling it a victory.

Lee County commissioners denied a plan to rezone the land to make it happen during a heated meeting.

The 4,202-acre property in question is between State Road 82 and Corkscrew Road in eastern Lee County.

Linda Nelson and her neighbors say they’ve waited a long time for this decision.

After more than a year of waiting, commissioners backed a previous decision and will not allow mining here.

The property owners, King Ranch, say the land hasn’t produced citrus.

Vice President of King Ranch Mitch Hutchcraft said, “Hurricane Irma came a year after we bought the property, resulting in about an 80 percent loss of fruit on this grove, which has a multiple year impact on the crop.”

And they hoped the proposed 1,727-acre mine would contribute to the county’s need for limerock.

1,695 acres would have become preservation/restoration area.

But neighbors like Nelson don’t want it. Her main concern is drilling on the property.

CREDIT: WINK News

She spoke in front of commissioners today, “The dust, the noise, the machinery — you’re going to hear everything.”

Not only that, just down the road lies another mine.

Susan Prock has lived off Corkscrew for over 15 years and she’s concerned the number of mines will hurt property values, “No one wants to live next to a mine or something ugly. That’s not why we all moved out there.”

Nelson says she’s thankful commissioners came to a decision but she doesn’t believe this will be the end of the battle, adding, “I’m relieved for the time being. We’ve gotten over this hurdle, but it’s going to come back around again and we’ll see what happens the next time, but I hope that they keep denying it.”

The county says the owners of the property have two options; they can either keep growing citrus or take the case to court.

Neighbors say if that happens they plan to keep fighting.

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Derrick Shaw
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