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Junkyard Expansion Meeting Postponed By Procedural Error

Topher Forhecz/WGCU

The Fort Myers City Council met for a special public meeting Wednesday night on a possible large junkyard expansion near the Dunbar area. 

And then, procedure intervened.

Before anyone could talk about Garden Street Iron and Metal Recycling’s proposal to expand its operations by almost 18 acres, the city council realized a major misstep.

Director of Community Development with the City of Fort Myers Robert Gardner said the department didn’t give proper notice about the meeting. The meeting was postponed.

Leading up to the meeting, community activists sent out emails saying there are already too many junkyards and recycling yards in Fort Myers; especially in the predominately African-American Dunbar community. They had planned to protest the junkyard expansion.

Gardner said the area where the junkyard would expand – Ward 3 – has 10 junkyards and a few recycling centers. He said the high number of facilities in Fort Myers’ Ward 3 is the result of the city annexing the land in the 2000s.

“The thing with annexation is when you take an area of land, however many acres you’re talking about… The land uses that are on the land that you’re annexing come with them so in this case there were a number of junkyards and a number of recycling centers,” he said.

The city council said on April 20 it will ask for permission to advertise the potential meeting. It needs to advertise the meeting for at least 15 days.

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.