The DR/GR is dying a death by a thousand cuts, as county officials allow a variety of projects and requests to nibble away at the thousands of acres in Southeast Lee County once set aside to reduce overall population density (DR) and protect the aquifers in the area (GR) that supply most of Lee County’s fresh water…
The first cuts came from allowing large increases in the density of housing development in the Corkscrew Road corridor (which cuts through the middle of the DR/GR area). County officials touted that such developments were necessary to preserve or restore a portion of this land in return for the density increases.
The next cuts came from proposals to expand the limerock mining activities in the DR/GR away from the concentrated plan negotiated in 2010 (which tied mining to need and restricted it to the area that had already been intensively mined and away from residential and other incompatible uses.
Commissioners eviscerated the Lee Plan protection for the DR/GR to open up mining to any tract, regardless of need, access or compatibility. This gave a green light for a series of permit requests that had been in the pipeline to renew their push to allow limerock mining at will.
So you allow developers to build a lot more houses and mining operations to expand their efforts. Naturally, what follows is the cry that the existing roadways are over-burdened, and these new developments need more commercial development to reduce trips generated by residents having to drive to distant stores and restaurants because of the isolation of the area… something that was conveniently ignored when the original developments were allowed by the county.
This cyclical calamity was the justification for the latest request by the Cameratta Companies, which not only would allow more commercial development tied to these newly authorized residential communities, but would give those communities an additional 15% in residential units if they claimed to be “environmentally enhanced” – further rewarding the DR/GR degradation by allowing it to be further intensified.
One expects the next request to county commissioners will be to rename the area to something more marketable… because Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource just doesn’t sizzle. And the final cut will be in place…