Home Westwind Mine Drainage Project Mailing List Links Calendar

Aug 2003 - Sep 2004 Archive:

Sep 8, 2004 Guest commentary: Agencies must stand up for panthers - local guest commentary article by J. Stephen O'Hara Jr., Special to the Naples Daily News.


Aug 21, 2004 Breaking News: Judge quashes mine permit for Lee panther area

A federal judge invalidated a permit for a Florida Rock Industries mine in panther territory in southeast Lee County on Friday.  Pamela Smith Hayford - Ft. Myers News-Press

Additional info from the National Wildlife Federation:
Judge's Order granting Summary Judgment (pdf)
Judge's Opinion (pdf)


Aug 19, 2004 Candidates Forum on Growth Management

The August 31 Primary Election is moving forward despite hurricane Charley. There will be a Candidates Forum on Growth Management on Monday August 23, from 6-9 PM at the Lee County BCC Chambers. This will be an opportunity for Corkscrew residents to hear candidate positions on important issues like Smart Growth, water quality, residential compatibility issues, etc.

This would be a good time for Corkscrew Road folks to attend and remind the county commission that we are all here. Click here for more details (pdf).


July 6, 2004 Potentially more mining and skyrocketing property values

Corkscrew Neighbors may have noticed some new "For Sale" signs on property immediately west of the Westwind mine. The parcel is located on the north side of Corkscrew Road, between Westwind Mine and "Corkscrew Estates".

We recently obtained the real estate firm's description and pricing for the 255 acre parcel. The description indicates that the property is located "within an identified mining area". The higher of the two astounding price offerings includes "entitlement to excavate and develop in place". However, Lee County Community Development has indicated that no mining permit applications have been received for this property to date.


June 16, 2004 Corkscrew Friend to run for District 75 State House Seat

Neal Noethlich of Wildcat Run has spent considerable time and effort over the last year helping the Corkscrew Communities in our fight against the encroachment of mining into our rural residential areas. He personally attended the Westwind Mine hearing. He initiated and organized visits to County Commissioners to make sure each commissioner heard our point of view about the impacts of mining. He has spoken at various BoCC and county committee meetings. As well, he’s represented Estero fairly and with elegant diplomacy on other issues.

Recently Neal made the decision to run for the District 75 House of Representatives seat that Carole Green is vacating. You can read Neal's biography here.

Neal is trying to obtain the 883 petition signatures needed to be included on the ballot. These signed petitions need to be in Neal’s hand by Sunday evening, June 20th. All registered voters who live in House District 75 are eligible to sign the petition.  Here is a map showing the District boundaries.

Click here to download the petition.

After the petition file opens, you can enter your voter information, and then print and sign it. Please deliver your signed petition to Mike Bray by Sunday, June 20th at 3PM. The Brays also have blank petition forms available if you have any trouble downloading the document.


May 12, 2004 Development needs to end - Way of life destroyed when housing takes over. Guest Opinion - Debbie Preston - Fort Myers News-Press - May 10, 2004

Lee commissioners to decide zoning on Alico Road parcel - Naples Daily News

Commentary: DRGR study creates danger, possibility - Naples Daily News


Feb. 16, 2004 Lee BoCC to Consider Blasting Regulations - The County will consider three proposals for regulating development blasting. While these regulations deal only with blasting associated with construction, there will be opportunity for public comment. Decision makers should be reminded that mine blasting also affects residents, and last for 30 years instead of only months. Links to the three proposals:

"The Gulf in Distress" - The Truth about Red Tide, The Black Water and The Hypoxic Zone - For those that have been following the Naples Daily News series on "The Gulf in Peril". The seminar will be held on Friday, February 27th. Click the link for speaker list and reservations contact.

Feb. 15, 2004

Wildcat Run Resident recounts dump truck wrecks - Wildcat Run resident Connie Hemsath relates accounts of two dump truck accidents on Corkscrew Road (with photos).



Dec. 17, 2003 Lee County Drafts Scope of DRGR-Mining Study - The proposed scope of work, seeks an outside consultant to update and analyze existing reports on Lee groundwater resources in the DRGR. The study will also include evaluation of mining, and seeks to establish the location and quality of limerock, capacity of current limerock permits, future need of limerock, and effects of mining on water resources and water budget.

It may be worthy to note that the study speaks directly to the economic importance of mining, as well as the "problematic" impacts of mining. However, there is currently no call for review of the impacts of mining on rural residential land uses beyond water resource impacts.

Of the 13 reference reports mentioned in the study scope, only one is unrelated to Lee County - a US Army Corps Environment Impact Statement on the Miami-Dade Rock Mining Freshwater Lakebelt Plan. Lee Smart Growth uses this Rock Mining Lakebelt model as a basis for recommendations about mining.

Lee County identifies allowable uses for Schwab 640 Property - In response to Schwab 640's recent notice of intent to file a claim against Lee County under the Bert Harris Act, the County answered with a "Ripeness Decision". This Decision identifies allowable uses for the property.


Nov. 20, 2003 East Corkscrew Road residents pursue shutdown of Westwind Corkscrew Mine - Peggy and Richard Schmidt and their representatives met recently with Lee County Attorneys and Planning Department staff to present information and outline plans to seek revocation of Corkscrew Mining Venture's current zoning permit. The Industrial Planned Development zoning was issued in 2001. You can read the Memorandum to Lee Attorneys and Staff from the Schmidt's attorney, Robert Apgar, as well as the list of meeting attendees.

Neighbors share scientific analysis of Mine's impact - On Tuesday Nov. 18th, the Schmidt's invited residents of the Corkscrew Road Rural Community and other interested parties to hear presentations about impacts to surrounding properties caused by Westwind Corkscrew Mine operations. The presenters, hydroecologist Sydney Bacchus, PhD, and hydrogeologist Tim Hazlett, PhD, explained how the mine's excavations are influencing the level and movement of groundwater beneath surrounding lands.
The meeting was covered by the local press:


Nov. 04, 2003 HUGE NEWS! - We received notification from the Lee County Hearing Examiner's office this morning that Corkscrew Mine has withdrawn its rezoning application. There will be no hearing on November 13th. You can read the notice here.


Sep. 11, 2003: Public Hearing Continues in November - The Lee County Hearing Examiner has continued the Westwind Corkscrew Mine Public Hearing. It is scheduled to resume on November 13th & 14th, and the 18th if an additional day is needed. A copy of the continuation notice is available here (22KB Acrobat PDF file).

Further testimony was heard today from the mine consultants on areas including impacts on surrounding wetland systems from the proposed dewatering plan, the economic significance of locally mined limerock, and noise and light impacts resulting from the proposed change to 24 hour dragline and dewatering pump operation. The mine has still not presented testimony relating to blasting impacts.

Several Corkscrew Road Rural Community residents (especially Cedric - see article below) gave excellent testimony explaining their concerns about compatibility issues surrounding the mine. There will be more opportunity for public comment when the hearing reconvenes in two months.

Battle over Estero mine expansion continues - After 12 hours of testimony from high-powered and highly paid consultants, the most powerful message in a hearing over a Corkscrew Road mine came from 9-year-old Cedric Valentin. Article by Charlie Whitehead - Naples Daily News.


Sep. 10, 2003: Westwind Corkscrew Mine Zoning Amendment Hearing Under Way - The East Corkscrew Road Rural Community was well represented at the first day of the Hearing Examiner meeting this afternoon at the Lee County Community Development Department. Representatives and attorneys for Bella Terra, Stoneybrook, and Wildcat Run communities were also in attendance to oppose the zoning changes. Expert witnesses for the mine have presented testimony about the underlying limerock resource, permit and development plans, and dewatering impacts. Their testimony is scheduled to resume tomorrow morning at 9AM at CDC - 1500 Monroe Street. A map and directions are available here.

Lee to consider combined restudy of DRGR - Lee County officials will be looking for a two-for-one special next week when they start a search for someone to study a controversial groundwater resource area and the mines already in the area. Article by Charlie Whitehead - Naples Daily News.


Sep. 4, 2003: Lee Community Development Dept. recommends DENIAL of Corkscrew Westwind Mine’s zoning amendment! In their 11 page report, Lee staffers concluded that  the requested zoning is incompatible with surrounding residential property uses, may adversely affect environmentally critical areas, and may place undue burden on existing transportation facilities.

While Corkscrew Road Rural Community residents are encouraged by the County's recommendations, they still plan to provide testimony about adverse impacts of the mining operation at the Public Hearing on Sept 10th & 11th.

You can download the CDC Staff report here. (Note, this is a 560 KB Adobe Acrobat PDF file which will take several minutes to download if you're on a dialup modem connection.)


Sep. 2, 2003: What to Expect in the Hearing Examiner Process - a helpful document based on a conversation between Chip Block, Senior Planner in Community Development and Peggy Apgar’Schmidt, a resident of the East Corkscrew Road Rural Communities.


August 28, 2003: Westwind Corkscrew Mine IPD Amendment - Lee County DCD posts signs announcing the upcoming public hearing scheduled for September 10th at 1:00 PM.

The Lee County Department of Community Development provides a very helpful guide that describes the hearing examiner process, and how the public participates in the proceedings. It includes the layout of the hearing room, and rules about how cases such as ours are handled. Please take a few minutes to read the guide here.


August 24, 2003: Corkscrew Mine looking to expand westward? - Corkscrew Mining Ventures, Ltd. was issued a permit last Thursday to drill a series of test borings on an 85 acre parcel of land to the west of the Westwind Corkscrew Mine.



August 17, 2003: IMPORTANT MEETING: There will be a Corkscrew Community meeting this Tuesday, August 19th at 7PM at the South Lee County Library on Three Oaks Boulevard.


August 5, 2003: Groundwater areas to be reviewed, commissioners say - water and mineral resources of Lee County’s DRGR should be studied before a decision is made to allow mining in those areas, county commissioners said Monday. Article by By Don Ruane - Fort Myers News-Press

County advancing plans to commission study on undevelopable land - Lee County staff will move forward with plans to commission a study of critical undeveloped land that has been virtually undevelopable for more than a decade. Article by Paul Herrera - Bonita Daily News




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