Three Oaks Extension Project to help with population growth; not everyone is on board

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Lee County looks to improve the flow of traffic, transportation safety, and evacuation routes and help the growing population in Southwest Florida all in one deal. That is the claim from the county in a lawsuit for eminent domain of the Three Oaks Extension Project.

The county says the project will provide right-of-way for public and private vehicles, including a four-lane divided roadway.

Lee County believes it can help accommodate the booming population and increase in traffic with this highly-anticipated project.

“We are 100% done with the design of the extension, which will basically tie Three Oaks Parkway from Alico to Daniels,” said Kris Cella, Three Oaks Extension Project Spokeswoman.

Cella said the project is broken down into two phases. Part one includes the roadway north of Alico Road from Fiddlesticks Canal to north of Indian Pony Drive. Crews will add road lanes, bike lanes, and sidewalks. That part’s expected to begin summer of this year.

There’s a hold-up in part two.

“The part that connects into Fiddlesticks and goes into Daniels Road and then the Daniels widening that goes from Danport [Boulevard] and to the west to an eight-lane section is included in that phase two, right now, design,” Cella said.

“The property is owned by a trust,” said Ken Jones, senior counsel at Hahn Loeser Law Firm, representing the trust that owns the land.

The county doesn’t own all of the property in phase two. A trust does, and Jones represents the trustee.

“They’re waiting for the county to take the property so this project can get done so they can get paid for their property because it’s delayed their development of the property and their ability to do anything with it,” Jones said.

On Tuesday, the county sent an eminent domain lawsuit to Jones’ office for the Three Oaks Parkway Extension Project. Jones said the county will get the property it’s seeking.

“What’s next is we’ll be reviewing their appraisal. We’ll be reviewing the pleadings that I got today. And two, we’ll have our engineer, our land use consultant, our appraiser take a look at it and do their own analysis. And then we’ll see where we end up and where the county is. And, you know, hopefully, we can get it resolved. If not, it goes to trial. We let a jury decide that,” said Jones.

The trustee wants to make sure they’re getting paid what they should for the property, so they get appraisers, engineers, and land use consultants to look at the property.

It is not yet known how much the land will cost the county, but the trustee’s attorney said if things go well, Lee County could have the title to the property in the next 90 days.

You can see an overview of the entire Three Oaks Extension Project in the document below or by clicking here.

Lee county is approaching a population of one million people. That many people, and maybe that many cars, is why the county says it needs the Three Oaks Extension Project.

“I think it’s a project that the county commission has made a priority, and we’re moving forward with it, and it’s been a long process but were coming to conclusion now, and I think we’re excited to get started and get this road under construction,” said Cella.

Not everyone’s as excited about the project as Cella is. Part of the project lands right outside David Metzger’s quiet neighborhood along Fiddlesticks Blvd.

“Makes me uneasy. We have a nice quiet private street. There are only three communities on this street, and now we’re going to be dumping traffic from multi communities onto our street,” Metzger said.

Metzger said with construction; he expects not only more traffic but also a lot more noise. “The fact that it’s going to increase traffic flow, ya know. It’s just going to be so difficult you can’t even turn into Publix. You’ll have to go out and around, and it’s just going to be a lot of difficult maneuvers to get to where you want to go.”

You can learn more about the Three Oaks Extension Project by clicking here.

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