Residents along Corkscrew Road concerned about new major development project

Published: June 22, 2022 4:26 PM EDT
Updated: June 23, 2022 6:15 AM EDT

Lee County approved a big development after originally denying the limestone rock mine that was proposed for the same spot along Corkscrew Road.

The county was threatened with a $63 million lawsuit if they turned the project down. Now, people who live in the area feel the development will create a lot of problems.

Homeowners say driving along Corkscrew Rd. is already dangerous and adding thousands more cars will only make it worse.

The Lee County commissioners listened to the fear about traffic, but in the end, they voted unanimously to approve construction of thousands of new homes.

Map of development area

The homes will be built on more than 6,000 acres of property extending from south of Corkscrew Rd. to SR-82.

When Corkscrew Grove Limited Partnership bought the land, the original plan was to build a limestone rock mine, but the commissioners said no to that idea.

This time around they said yes despite the objections from neighbors.

“I think that’s the culmination of a thought that’s gone by a lot of people and to satisfy everybody 100% never does, you know, but the fact of the matter is, I think when you walk away from it you go, ‘hey, we did very best we could, given the circumstances,’ you know, today and I think that’s what’s happened today. There’s been a lot of work that went into that meeting today,” said Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli.

The owners of the land warned commissioners they planned to file a $63 million lawsuit. That led the hearing examiner to recommend the commissioners give the project the OK.

Marcia Ellis told the Lee County commissioners that there are too many crashes in the Corkscrew Rd. area where she lives.

She said building two, three, or four thousand homes or more will make living here dangerous.

“No one feels safe driving on the corkscrew corridor, no one. And you guys are responsible for approving these developments that are putting members at risk. How many fatal accidents at full speed have to occur for us to take a more aggressive stance on this dangerous roadway.”

The commissioners listened as neighbor after neighbor asked them to deny a developer’s plan to build thousands of homes on the property.

“We’ve listened to everything, we’ve been briefed on everything, we made a decision that was unanimous. And I think that speaks for itself,” said Sandelli.

Commissioner Sandelli knows his vote will not make everyone happy, including Ellis.

“We feel very resentful as a community because we have not been brought into this process, very resentful,” said Ellis.

Another neighbor said more homes are better than the alternative, a limestone mine.

“If our options are a neighborhood versus a mine, we’re going to prefer the neighborhood,” said Laura Henderson, a nearby homeowner.