By: Cecil Pendergrass
I would like to start by recognizing our Lee County Commissioner and Chairman Larry Kiker, who we recently lost to cancer. After a successful career in the private sector, Larry embarked on a future in public service, where in 2007 he was elected to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council and served as Mayor for five years. He was then elected to the Lee County Commission in 2012 where he served the County faithfully up until his passing. He was renowned in the business community and put his heart and soul into public service. He was an avid supporter of Lehigh Acres and worked extensively on creative and strategic solutions to challenges facing your community. He was a great friend and I will miss serving alongside him.
As our seasonal residents head home, the County continues to prioritize roadway improvements for safety and efficiency. Lehigh Acres is at the forefront for transportation improvements and I am pleased to see major road projects continue to progress. The Homestead Road (from south of Sunrise Boulevard to north of Alabama Road) project consists of widening Homestead to four lanes. This project will include drainage improvements, new underground utilities and a six-foot sidewalk on both sides of the roadway. The road crew continues to work hard to reach completion by the end of this year. For visuals of this progress, please contact my office at Dist2@leegov.com.
SR 82 is another big road project that we continue to monitor closely. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) crew is working swiftly, widening SR 82 to six lanes from east of Lee Boulevard to Shawnee Road. Most notably, the project includes constructing Florida’s first Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI) at SR 82 and Daniels Parkway/Gunnery Road. The CFI will ease traffic congestion at the intersection and include multiple signals to reduce turning delays. Completion is expected by the end of this summer. For more information, please visit swflroads.com/sr82/leeblvdtoshawnee or call FDOT at (863) 519-2300.
SR 82 widening to four lanes from Alabama Road to the Lee/Hendry County line is also making headway. Completion for this project is expected by the end of 2020. Additional work for both SR 82 segments includes bike lanes, five-foot sidewalks and ten-foot shared-use paths. For more information, please visit swflroads.com/sr82/leetohendry or call FDOT at (863) 519-2300. For information on all county roadways, contact our Lee County DOT at (239) 533-8580. Protecting your tax dollars and doing the right thing for all in Lee County is what influences my policy decisions.
In recent news, you may have seen or read about the Board’s April 17 Zoning hearing on the transmittal of lime rock mining amendments. The Board directed County
Management to have staff make a couple of revisions and clean up some language within the Comprehensive Plan Amendment. Doing so would protect the County from future litigation and make it more efficient and clear for staff to interpret. Unfortunately, a few individuals and paid lobbyists used this as an opportunity to push their special interests and spread fake news to alarm as many as possible. This was not about a particular mining application, increasing mining, limiting restrictions on mining, or “fast-tracking” mining. False information also stated that the County was “expediting” this change without any public input and that the April 17 meeting was the “last and only” opportunity for the pubic to speak. Last December, after meeting twice on this item and hearing public comments, the Local Planning Agency (LPA) recommended approval. Concerned members of the public were also able to contact my office, wherein I was able to resolve their worries by providing the facts. With the Board’s approval to transmit these amendments, multiple State agencies will now review the changes and send a response back to the County for discussion at a future Zoning hearing. The public will most certainly be able to speak at that time. Aside from any particular mining case being reviewed by the County Hearing Examiner, these specific amendments that the Board proposed do not expand mining nor “allow lime rock mining anywhere and at any time.” I would never support such a policy if it did. The County maintains a very lengthy and arduous review process when it comes to any new proposals, especially mining.
I remain committed to serving you and making the best decisions for all Lee County residents and taxpayers. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (239) 533-2227 if I can ever be of help.