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Troyer mine amendments, comp plan changes approved

By Staff | Aug 23, 2019

Lee County has approved both Troyer mine amendments and Lee Comp Plan changes.

The County Board of County Commissioners on Aug. 21 voted to adopt the proposed rezoning of the Troyer Brothers property along SR 82 to permit a mining operation, and for the proposed amendments to the Lee County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Commissioner Frank Mann dissenting on both.

The board approved the removal of Map 14 from the Comp Plan, a map used to identify the locations where limerock mining in Eastern Lee County, and the rezoning of the Troyer Brothers property on SR82 from agriculture to permit mining operations for up to 35 years.

The votes in favor of the changes came following a day of pleas from members of the public, environmental groups and local businesses, who asked the board to reconsider county staff recommendations.

Early during the proceedings, Mann brought up the fact that there is currently a lawsuit against the county’s action to do away with Map 14.

“On the CPA that relates to Map 14. Even though this committee recently voted to do away with Map 14, there has been a lawsuit filed against our action. Until that is resolved, it’s as though we didn’t take that action, and that is why the Map 14 issue is before us today, correct?” Mann reiterated.

Map 14 seemed to have no bearing on the outcome and was deemed to be irrelevant by the county attorney and Troyer Brother’s legal representation when it came to adopting the amendments.

The hearing on the adoption of Troyer Brother’s mining operation amendments began with a county staff presentation.

Lee County Community Development Director David Loveland, went over the Lee Plan amendments up for adoption; an amendment to the Map 14 overlay to allow 907.6 acres onto Map 14 and a Conservation Land Use amendment to take 453.3 acres of habitat to be enhanced and restored, and a request to rezone 1,732.75 acres from Agriculture to MEPD for mining operations & related accessory uses.

Loveland also said that both county staff and Troyer Brothers had done independent supply/demand studies regarding limerock and found that there was a need for additional limerock in the near future.

Overall, the morning’s debate centered on the fact that the property sits within an area considered to fall within the DR/GR category and whether the proposed limerock mine would be more or less disruptive than its former agricultural use.

“A clear necessity is not the only requirement due to the fact that it’s already a disturbed area and nearby mining operations already exist,” Deputy County Attorney Michael Jacob said.

Following the county and Troyer Brothers presentations, the public was allowed to speak on both amendments.

Among other comments against the adoption of the Troyer CPA’s were the Waldrop Report, which stated that no limerock would be needed until the year 2040; questions as to why Lee County has become one of the main limerock suppliers for South Florida; reputed disastrous and lasting effects of mining on the environment and incapability with nearby residents and businesses.

Resident Kathy Dobash questioned commissioners in regards to why the hearings were held together.

“Were the changes to the Lee Plan designed just to make a clear path for the Troyer Brothers Mine operation? Because that’s what I’m seeing here,” Dobash said.

Dobash also mentioned contributions she felt to be a conflict of interest.

“On April 17, 2010 I challenged you to refute whether you took political donations or support of any kind in the form of money. You said it’s open record, so I looked it up. Since 2010, there’s been a pattern of over $10,000 of donations to county commissioners. Mr. Hammond, you accepted money, Mr. Pendergrass, you accepted money. This appears as pay to play. That’s what it appears,” Dobash said.

During the second part of the day, the board held another public comment session before voting to adopt Troyer Brother’s zoning amendment request.

For more information on Lee County Zoning Hearing or Lee Plan Comp Amendments visitwww.leegov.com/bocc/meetings/agendas/zoning.