Water-Related News

Neighbors gang up on Lee mine study

A controversial study that suggests Lee County could run out of a critical building material by 2040, has drawn a formal group of critics who have called for the county to reject its findings.

Nine groups in southeast Lee County banded together in opposition to a study that projects limerock production in Lee County will be 84 million cubic yards short of demand by 2040. Limerock is used to make roads and the structural building materials favored in Southwest Florida's humid subtropical climate.

The coalition of three environmental groups, four homeowners organizations and the Estero Council of Community Leaders calls the Waldrop Engineering finding, "not professionally acceptable" because it bases future needs for the limerock on the number of residents, rather than on population growth.

"We think it's very flawed because, obviously, I'm not going to use any (additional) limerock in my home," said Kevin Tolliver, president of the master homeowners association at The Preserve, a few miles down Corkscrew Road from existing and proposed mines. "We don't quite understand why, when they evaluated population in terms of limerock needs, they put in existing homes."

Lee County's rules require it study limerock demand every seven years. The study by Waldrop, of Bonita Springs, was a required update to a 2008 study done by Dover, Kohl & Partners of Coral Gables. It has been accepted by the county commission as data that can be used to support decisions, but the plan has not been formally adopted as part of the Lee Plan that guides future land use.