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The Fiddlesticks Gate fight is beginning again with a new application for development

Posted at 1:06 AM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 09:21:45-05

LEE COUNTY — The fight for the Fiddlesticks gate has begun again.

The Fiddlesticks housing community has put in another application for a gate onto Briarcliff Rd. after the last proposal was denied last year.

But homeowners on Briarcliff Rd. are voicing their opposition, saying it would bring too much traffic through their neighborhood.

We saw how quiet the road was when we came out Wednesday afternoon. It’s a peacefulness Ernesto Mentible is afraid might be destroyed if a new gate goes in.

“Yes I’m worried. I walk my dog. I see my neighbors with their kids biking down this street," said Mentible, who lives off of Briarcliff Rd.

We talked with neighbors just like Mentible last December, who protested outside the Lee County Commission meeting. They also created a petition opposing the gate, which in the past year has received more than 2,800 signatures.

Mantible said that's for good reason.

“This would be number one an endangerment of us, number two a degrading of our, basically our quality of life, and number three a degrading of our property values," said Mantible.

The difference this time is that the proposed gate would only allow residents of the Fiddlesticks community to use it, not work trucks or builders.

But the plan has never been brought up for public comment, something Briarcliff Rd. resident Ron Edenfield pointed out at the Commission meeting last week.

“I would simply ask that the Board, this Board recommend to staff that this go through a public hearing process," said Edenfield during a time in the meeting when the public could comment about items not on the agenda.

Mentible said he’s worried that the gate could get approved without any public meeting, but he said he plans to write a letter to make his voice heard.

“We’re not mean people, but we will defend our best interest, and our best interest is not for a gate to be here," said Mentible.

We reached out to both the County and to Commission Chair Cecil Pendergrass, because the proposed project is in his district. We learned there was no administrative hearing on the project Wednesday, but the County could not tell us when it might be up for review in the future.