Clermont council OKs resolution opposing more sand mining in Lake County
CLERMONT — The Clermont City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday night to approve a resolution opposing a change in Lake County's growth plan that would permit more sand mining.
The Central Florida Sand Mining Association recently requested a big change in the county’s comprehensive growth plan, asking to mine more sand. Local groups and the city are fighting that request.
The Green Swamp region features 560,000 acres of wetlands, flatlands and low ridges extended across Polk, Lake, Sumter, Hernando and Pasco counties.
Clermont City Council members said they believe the resolution will help preserve the Clermont Chain of Lakes.
“The sand in the Green Swamp at a minimum recharges the aquifer, and it filters our drinking water,” said Rick Ault of Keep Clermont Rural, a coalition of concerned residents. “That’s a pretty valuable resource that we shouldn’t be taking away.”
“They (Central Florida Sand Mining Association) have told us the land they wish to dig is already used, it’s used up land because it has groves on it,” Ault said. “That’s not the same as removing our resource, hauling it out of the area and it’s gone forever.”
The Lake County Water Authority previously had passed a resolution opposing the mining. It presented its findings to the City of Clermont in a workshop last month.
“We are guardians of our lakes, and we’re looking to protect them from negative impacts of development as much as possible,” City of Clermont Communications Director Kathryn Deen said.
Part of the city’s concern is that altering the water resources could conflict with the city’s efforts to improve water quality, fisheries and public recreation.
“There are cumulative impacts that this could have on our wetlands and creeks so we just want to get ahead of it,” Deen said.
It’s encouraging that Clermont has taken a position on mining, Ault said. The Green Swamp is an important area for the state, not just for Clermont, he said.