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REDUCE, REUSE…County Commissioners pause on land purchase for RECYCLING plant near Pelican Preserve

Posted at 9:59 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 21:59:30-05

GATEWAY, Fla. — People who live in Pelican Preserve, like Carole Brokee, recently learned Lee County Commissioners had plans to buy 50 acres of land near her home and next to the former Gulf Coast Landfill on State Road 82 to build a recycling center.

Brokke said, “Residents need to be informed, and we have not been...It's really important to keep residents informed on their property value, and they're quality of life."

More than 1,900 people who live in Pelican Preserve signed the petition Brokke started as they fight against the future recycling plant that could be right behind their community golf course.

Over two days, she gathered signatures to show the County Commissioners many of these neighbors don't support the $14.5 million purchase.

Brokke met Karen Lyddon through the petition. They said they're not against recycling, just the location and the issues it can cause, such as traffic, trucks and noise.

Lyddon said, "Recycling needs to go somewhere, but these are established neighborhoods. They've been here 20 years."

At Tuesday’s Lee County Commissioners meeting, after Carole Brokee and others shared their concerns, Commissioner Brian Hamman put a pause on closing the sale.

"I'll amend my motion then to differ this to the next meeting where we can vote on whether or not to move forward on the closing," Hamman said.

The county said the original closing deadline was May 2, and they'll look for a different site before the next meeting.

“A lot of lot of people care about what's going to happen to their community and are fearful," Brokke added.

Lyddon described the Pelican Preserve community, "We're a team here. It's not just the neighbors that back right up to the recycling plant, half of us live a half mile, mile away. Within this community there's 5,000 people."

Now, they said they wait for the commissioners to vote on March 5.