No limerock mine for Real Estate Estero FL, but another 5,200 new homes

real estate estero fl

No limerock mine for Real Estate Estero FL, but another 5,200 new homes in Corkscrew corridor

A proposed settlement to a long court battle over a mining permit denied by Lee County Commissioners seven years ago would mean replacing plans for mining with a residential community of as many as 5,200 new homes.

Lee County and FFD Land Co. a subsidiary of the Immokalee-based Lipman family agricultural interests, have agreed to settle the suit FFD filed after commissioners denied a mining permit for 4,652 acres on Corkscrew Road in 2013.

FFD sought $39 million in damages and $21 million for value of the land.

While the mining application covered 4,600 acres, approximately 600 additional acres of Lipman family-controlled land next to the proposed mine would be added to the parcel as part of the court settlement.

Jaime Weisinger, an executive with the family agricultural business, declined to comment on the plans while legal work to settle the court suit continues.

The agreement was explained by Lee County Attorney Richard Wesch during the public portion of an attorney/client meeting which began as a closed-door conference of commissioners, county staff and outside legal counsel.

“Sixty-five percent of the property will be set aside for open space purposes that would include preservation and restoration management plan for the property, hydrological preservation plan restoring flowways. A minimum of 56 percent must be placed in a conservation easement,” Wesch said. “The maximum density would be no more than one unit per acre.”

Lee County’s agreement to allow more housing units along Corkscrew Road came as a surprise to civic leaders in Estero.

“It’s better than putting more mines up there,” said Jim Gilmartin, president of the Estero Council of Community Leaders.

After the private briefing meeting with Wesch, an outside law firm hired by the county and senior county management, the board convened in public before an audience of two: attorney Russell Schropp, who represented FFD when its original mining application was rejected, and a reporter for The News-Press.

Commission proceedings in 2013 on the mine proposal were brief, with Schropp agreeing with the county hearing examiner that the proposal could not be adopted under mining rules in place at the time. Since that hearing, the county has eliminated two basic requirements that stood in the way of approval of the FFD mine in 2013.

No longer does a proposed mine have to be located within the confines of Map 14, a county zoning map that designated where mining was allowed.  A requirement that a need for limerock be demonstrated before digging more mines was also on the books at the time of the application by FFD Land Co.

corkscrew road development estero fort myers

The data above provides the information on the number of homes in the various communities on East Corkscrew Road (East of Ben Hill Griffin), updated as of July 2021. There has been a significant increase in the number of homes on East Corkscrew. When all the homes are completed the total number will be a further 66% higher than the 2020 figure. The ECCL tracks this data and updates quarterly on our website under the Safety Council.

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