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Aquaculture on Pine Island — an informational update

January 31, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

It is a question of location, not aquaculture on Pine Island itself. Six existing residential properties on average 3 to 4 acres each, plus 20 undeveloped acres zoned residential west of the proposed 20-acre location at 13171 Samadani Lane in Pineland, are the core group opposed to the aquaculture site. Location is just 1/4 mile south of the "S" curve on Pineland Road. A simple calculation shows the 20-acre site is 67 percent surrounded by existing residential zoning.

We are aware the Lee County Zoning Dept. has OK'd aquaculture as an acceptable use code within agricultural zoning. However, we were told nothing has been submitted formally to date.

Aquaculture is a relatively new and continuously evolving use in agriculture. Traditional agriculture buildings are very loosely regulated by building departments including Lee County. We assume Lee County departments will handle aquaculture the same.

The proposed Red Fish Farm in Pineland is not what comes to mind typically when you think of aquaculture. Mr. Sorby's presentation 2 weeks ago at the GPICA meeting indicated the build out will have a 70,000-square-foot building, housing tanks for the fish, high tech controls, multitude of circulation pumps, water filtration systems, feeding systems, etc. Two primary saltwater wells with an additional injection well to pump waste water back into the aquifer.

This will be a 24/7 operation with approximately 18 employees and 6 technical/management staff.

Their goal is to produce a million pounds of fish per year. As an observation, it may take two million pounds of fish food to produce one million pounds of fish. This will obviously increase traffic on Samadani Lane and Pineland Road. And yes, of course, there will be a lot of noise and lighting. A 70,000-square-foot building is a little smaller than your average Walmart Superstore. The parking lot should be smaller though, good right?

How does this sound so far? Want this in your back yard? Pine Island is full of peace and tranquility. That's why we're all here. Traditional farming activities and residential uses can co-exist. However, aquaculture is not traditional farming.

Wake up Calusa Indians!

A travesty of poor planning may occur in the Pineland residential community of peace and tranquility. But remember -- this is just about the location chosen.

There are various other sites on the Island that may be more suitable.

There will be more information in the coming weeks.

LV Tomlinson,

architect, semi-retired




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