The Real Deal Miami

Plaintiffs sue to stop upstream project in Lee County

Water is the issue for opponents in Estero, a beach town just south of Fort Myers

December 26, 2015 03:00PM

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The DR/GR area in Lee Countty

The residential border of the protected DR/GR area in Lee County

Opponents filed suit to overturn a rezoning decision by the Lee County commission to allow residential construction in a remote agricultural area east of Interstate 75.

The lawsuit alleges the rezoning violated provisions of Lee County’s comprehensive plan to protect its main source of fresh water, known as the Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource area, or DR/GR.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Ral Brookes of Cape Coral, told the News-Press in Fort Myers that the commission’s action was “shocking. … This is the worst case of leapfrog development I’ve ever seen: putting 1,325 homes out in the middle of nowhere.”

The site of the Corkscrew Farms project is two miles east of the nearest residential development in Lee County. “It might be appropriate in 30 years, but there’s nothing around for eight miles,” Brookes told the News-Press. “They pulled a fast one. No one saw it coming.”

The Corkscrew Farms development raises water issues for the citizens of Estero, a beach town just south of Fort Myers, said Don Eslick, interim chairman of the Estero Council of Community Leaders, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Eslick told the News-Press that “since Estero is downstream of the DR/GR, we have a vital interest in what happens out there.” [News-Press] — Mike Seemuth