Lee County community concerned about mining company’s proposed rezoning

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

A mining company has its eye on more than 200 acres near a community called Wild Blue off I-75 and Alico Road in Lee County.

They are concerned not only about blasting but all the trucks and the danger to wildlife.

The mining company can’t move forward with the project yet, though. The county hearing examiner needs more information about water quality monitoring before she can give her recommendation to the board of county commissioners.

Until then, people who live near the proposed mining are doing everything they can to make some adjustments they believe are crucial for the area.

The material and mining company Cemex wants to build a mine north of Alico Road.

“Now, this mine plan is developed in conjunction with state standard,” said a representative for the mine during a meeting on Wednesday.

The company wants to rezone more than 200 acres from agriculture use to mining.

John Buchholz understands the benefits of the business. “The economy needs their materials. We make cement and concrete from the materials that they mined,” said Buchholz, but living with the side effects, that’s a different story. “Dust gets dusted up. There’s no lighting on that road. They’re parking 20 trucks every morning. And they’re not small trucks, that gigantic trucks that are slowly moving in and then moving out, and it’s a constant movement, and we’re all affected by it.”

Buchholz,  and many others who live in the area, want to make sure wildlife is protected.

“Panthers are consistently seen here. And sometimes they’re seen in family groups,” said a resident during the meeting.

The mining company brought in an expert who said they are in the clear. “They can be there, but it is limited because the food source is limited.”

Cemex brought in a geology expert, a vibration analyst, and a civil engineer to provide evidence in favor of the rezoning, but that isn’t stopping a group from wanting what they feel is right for the area they call home.

“Give us the buffers that provide the rest of the lands and make sure that the panthers are safe, and let’s make sure that the waterways that connect the turkey farm down to Wild Blue Bypass that those waterways continue to serve this community and Lee County for the future,” said Buchholz.

Buchholz said he already feels the blast from mining, and doesn’t want this area to add to it. The vibration analyst said what he is feeling comes from locations closer to the Wild Blue neighborhood, whereas this mine would be farther away and out of the expected range.

In the interest of transparency, John Buchholz is related to a WINK News staff member.

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