A Collier County advisory board voted Thursday to postpone for a third time a recommendation on whether the county should allow a controversial rock mine west of Immokalee.
Alico Land Development Corp. asked the county’s Planning Commission for the delay until March 15 because the company wants more time to provide new technical data about the effect of the mining plans, including about noise.
The request prompted Senior Lee Circuit Judge Hugh Starnes, who owns land near the mine, to accuse Alico of abusing the process with repeated delays.
Planning Commission Chairman Mark Strain said more data from Alico will help the board and the public understand the mining plan better.
The Planning Commission has met three times since 2011 in daylong hearings to take public input and testimony from Alico experts on everything from blasting to truck traffic.
On Thursday, the panel heard from more opponents of the mine and listened to expert testimony aimed at rebutting opponents’ statements from previous meetings.
Planning Commission member Paul Midney complained that the hearings are getting redundant. Strain said he wants to give Alico the opportunity to lay a legal groundwork for any future lawsuits over the Lost Grove Mine decision.
Alico wants to convert a 1,380-acre citrus grove along the Lee-Collier county line between Corkscrew Road and State Road 82 into a rock mine.
The mine would sit on the edge of protected wetlands in the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.
Across the county line, Lee County prohibits mining to protect the environment and has urged Collier County to oppose the mine.