Lake County commission votes against sand mine in Sorrento

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SORRENTO, Fla. —

Lake County commissioners denied a controversial request to rezone 83 square acres of land in Sorrento Tuesday.

The owner wants to use the land as a sand mine to supply nearby contractors.

Local residents were concerned about their property values taking a hit, and didn't want what could have been a convoy of dump trucks outside their neighborhood.

Residents in the upscale Sorrento Springs subdivision on Lake County Road 437 figured they had a problem when a yellow sign popped up across the street.

Homeowner Jeanne Etter said hundreds of homeowners were concerned over the creation of a borrow pit on 83 acres across the road.

"I knew it was wrong from the beginning," Etter said.

The land owner planned to dig up dirt from 300,000 square yards of land over a 10-year period and sell it to contractors building an extension to State Road 429 – a project that will need 20 million square yards of dirt.

Homeowner Perry Baker said that's 1 ½ percent.

"So, you're looking at disrupting our lives for 1 ½ percent of the resources, the sand that's necessary for this project. We want you to reject it," Baker said at the meeting.

Attorneys for the land owner argued the project would not disturb the surrounding neighborhoods and would create local trucking jobs. They said at the end of the 10 years, the owner would shift the property to agricultural use.

"It takes a lot of small projects and a lot of big projects to supply fill for the Wekiva Parkway," Attorney Anita Geraci-Carver said.

"If he wants to put a blueberry farm out there, have at it. People would love to be picking blueberries," Etter said.

The commission's vote was 5-0. The land owner can try again in one year.