Lake County commissioners in a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Jimmy Conner dissenting, approved a controversial peat operation in northwest Lake County Tuesday.
Commissioner Welton Cadwell, who represents the district of the proposed operation, said before the vote that he would be inclined to vote for it if the ordinance is tweaked to limit operations to five days a week. He also wanted no more than 12 trucks moving in and out of the area, monitoring of nearby wells, no processing at the site and the creation of an advisory council to monitor the facility.
Those changes were reflected in the vote.
Residents packed the auditorium of the county chambers, many spoke out against the peat mine because it goes against the county’s Comprehensive Plan, which states the county “should preserve the integrity of the wetlands and water bodies … by protecting its natural resources.”
In particular, residents expressed concerns about traffic, noise, water and air quality around the proposed operation.
Peg Lindsey, president of the Florida Native Plant Society, said the area known as Goose Prairie is a basin marsh.
“It is an area of ecological significance,” she said. “I think it must be preserved.”
The Goose Prairie Peat Mine will be on 1,016 acres bounded by Goose Prairie Road, County Road 44 and County Road 452, between Lake Yale and the Emeralda Marsh. It’s a rural area and residents fear the mine also will hurt plants and wildlife.