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Company misses deadline to clear out Hurricane Irma debris at North Fort Myers dumping site

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 22:49:46-04

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Neighbors are tired of seeing debris in their backyards at the M.W. Horticulture Recycling site off Howell Avenue and East Street in North Fort Myers.

Lee County told the company they had to finish cleaning up the debris by June 6, but they missed the deadline.

“It’s still here. Don’t look like it’s going anywhere,” said Joyce Damron, a neighbor whose property backs up into the dump site.

Yesterday a Lee County examiner recommended to fine M.W. Horticulture $200 per day until the pile is cleared. Denise Houghtaling, vice-president, and owner of M.W. Horticulture, says they need a little more time.

“All we’re asking for is a two-month extension from the six months that they gave us, which is still ahead of our original expectation. So we’re looking at it as this has been a successful operation,” Houghtaling said.

Not everyone thinks so. Bayshore Fire Rescue says they responded to 11 fires at M.W. Horticulture Recycling this year, both at the North and South site.

“I mean off the top of my head, we’ve gone there in the past few years an excess of 50 times,” said Larry Nisbet, Fire Chief for Bayshore Fire Rescue District.

M.W. Horticulture says weather, heat, and fires can delay progress.

“We have to be very methodical to do it safely,” Houghtaling said.

Lee County says it is up to the hearing examiner to decide if the company will get the fine and get an extension.