Updated: Florida DEP dismisses Lee County Petition for Hearing on permit denial
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has dismissed Lee County’s petition for a Formal Administrative Hearing challenging DEP’s denial of the city of Cape Coral’s permit application for a replacement barrier in the North Spreader waterway.
DEP’s General Counsel Thomas M. Beason ordered the petition dismissed “with prejudice,” and his order constitutes the final agency action of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The city had submitted an application for an environmental resource permit to construct a temporary diversion to replace the Ceitus Boat Lift in the North Spreader.
On May 11, the city was notified by DEP that its permit application was denied. The denial was based on DEP’s conclusion that rebuilding the barrier was not in the public interest. This was due to concerns about adverse effects on fish and wildlife (including endangered or threatened species) and the public health, safety or welfare (including property of others). DEP also had concerns about continued erosion within the system. The City chose not to petition for an administrative hearing to challenge the decision within the allotted 21 days. On May 31, Lee County filed a petition for Formal Administrative Hearing challenging DEP’s denial of Cape Coral’s application for the permit.
Cape Coral has more than 60,000 parcels within the Gator Slough watershed, and maintaining healthy water quality in the canals and the exceptional coastal waters of Matlacha Pass is vital to Cape Coral, city officials said, adding the city’s natural environment is one reason residents choose to live here. The City is determined to begin work on projects that will provide ecosystem and water quality improvements within the canals and Matlacha Pass.
Source: City of Cape Coral