Davenport sand mine operation that a judge ordered to shutdown may open back up despite outcry

Group of citizens won lawsuit last year

DAVENPORT, Fla. - The sand mine operation that a court ordered to shutdown in Davenport, may get the OK to start back up again.

Neighbors fought the mine for health and noise concerns, and eventually filed a lawsuit and won.

But now that Polk County revised its code, and the developers revised their plans, the sand mine is on the path to approval once again.

"Here we are, less than a year later, back to fighting," said Mitch Allen, who lead a group of concerned citizens in their fight against the mine.

Polk County approved the operation back in 2011 behind a Davenport neighborhood.

"The first day of operation there was a 100 foot dust plume," Allen said.

The neighbors feared the mine would ruin not only their peace but also their family's health.

"He doesn't need all this dust, and all of this noise," said Debra Williams, whose grandson takes several meds for ashram and migraines. She said the mining made it worse.

The group of citizens spent tens of thousands of dollars on attorney fees to successfully stop the operation, but they're running out of resources to try and stop it a second time.

This time around the developers agreed to move 500 feet away from the homes, instead of 200.

They also said they'll only mine for five years instead of 10, and on a smaller lot of land.

"We feel like the visual, the noise, the dust, some of those things will be mitigated," said John Bohde, County Planning Administrator.

On Wednesday, the planning commission unanimously agreed to recommend approval of the revised plans for the sand mine. It goes to the full commission on November 19th.

Neighbors are not convinced this operation will be any better.

"They claim there is a buffer here. We are not buffered form anything," Allen said.

If they can find the money and resources, Allen said they hope to keep fighting the county and the new operation.

So far, Allen said they have spent close to $100,000 to stop the operation.
 

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