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Lee County Commissioners approve more lime rock mining in Fort Myers

Posted at 11:57 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 23:57:41-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The lime rock community in Fort Myers will be growing.

Lee County Board of Commissioners recently approved Troyer Brothers Farms, a potato farm, to mine 907-acres for lime rock making it the fifth mining spot in the area.

“That area of the county has some of the high-quality lime-rock that is used in every foundation. Church, school, offices, homes,” said Tina Matte, a spokesperson for Troyer Brothers Farms.

Matte says the plan is to mine for 35 years and when it’s complete, place the land in a conservation easement meaning the area will become an entire conservation area.

“It won’t be developed, it won’t turn into anything other than open space that will allow for wildlife habitat,” Matte said.

Matte says another positive is water conservation. The farm usually uses about one billion gallons of water per year, which will reduce down to one million gallons per year.

“The consumption of water is drastically, by a thousand times, reduced,” Matte said.

Next-door at Sakata Seed America Research Farm, branch manager Randy Johnson says they’re concerned about being too close to the mine.

He’s also concerned with the mining ponds reducing the water table.

“The water table is definitely going to go down,” Johnson said.

Johnson says even though they are a large corporation, the research farm has been at that location for 25 years.

“We can’t just pick up and leave; we have quite a bit of investment here.”

Fox 4 tried reaching out to all Lee County Commissioners about this project, but only got a response from District 3 Commissioner Ray Sandelli. He sent the following in an email:

“The Troyer application has been a long and well-vetted process. In the end, mining is a permitted use in the DRGR. We appreciate and respect the input from all.”