A final decision is in sight in the war between Lee County Mosquito Control and a group of Pine Island neighbors.
“This has been a long, costly battle,” Mdakhte Ndiaye said, a resident in Pine Island.
Jamie Saunders is one of those neighbors worried about noise if Mosquito Control turns the Pine Island Airport into an operations base.
“They belong in industrial or commercial setting,” Saunders said. “Not in a private residential rural neighborhood.”
Mosquito Control said buying the 39-acres would cut costs and help protect Lee County against mosquitoes.
“That is one of the prime locations for mosquito breeding,” Eric Jackson said, Mosquito Control. “That not only affects the people of pine island and the coastal areas around the island and also places inland.”
But a lawsuit filed by Saunders and other neighbors against it is standing in the way for the mosquito control to move forward.
“Even if they were to move forward on the purchase and become fully operational on the property,” Ndiaye said, “that lawsuit, if we prevail on that they will have to shut down their entire operation.”
Mosquito Control voted not to extend its lease on the Pine Island Airport, which gives them one last month to decide about buying the property.
“Had there not been a junction filed,” Jackson said, “then we would have purchased that property and already be operating on it.”
Some residents, like Saunders, are hoping the new deadline will give Mosquito Control time to reevaluate its earlier decision.
“I’m glad some of the commissioners are really thinking things out and stalling,” Saunders said.