Briarcliff residents fighting back over possible gate being built

LEE COUNTY

Neighbors are worried about what a gate being built will do to their community. But instead of just talking, they’re going to do something about it.

The Development and Permit Department in Lee County approved a gate in the Fiddlesticks neighborhood. It also borders the Briarcliff neighborhood, and Briarcliff residents don’t want it built.

Ron Edenfield says part of his problem with the gate is the lack of communication. “All the approvals that have been granted thus far have been done in a backdoor fashion. And we don’t believe that’s right,” Edenfield said. “Nobody was notified by the County. No one was advised this was coming, so we’ve been struggling. This community has been struggling to have their voices heard at the county level.”

Instead of going through a public hearing process, the County approved an administrative amendment for the Fiddlesticks gate. The thing is, these Briarcliff residents had a lot to say. So, they did on Saturday morning during a protest.

Patrick Reid says there could be safety issues later on. “I think one of the major problems that we are going to see is safety, one of the issues. We have a lot of kids that are on buses. We have people that walk up and down the roads,” said Reid.

Right now, Briarcliff Road only has one way in and one way out. So, residents can’t help but consider the traffic and safety problems it could cause.

“We have concerns about all the kids that are in the community, gets in golf carts, kids on bikes, kids at the bus station, kids on horses. It’s just very concerning that they would consider doubling the traffic without doing a thorough review of the traffic impact,” said Edenfield.

Denise Spence is worried that adding a gate will change the feel of her neighborhood. “Their property values are going to decrease because of the whole idea that more traffic could come through by their houses. It’s going to change how children and animals and families play and live in Briarcliff,” said Spence.

They just want to enjoy the outdoors normally, or at least Addison Kelly does. “We were so excited to kind of ride our bikes, and now we don’t really have the opportunity anymore,” Kelly said.

Briarcliff residents plan to pursue legal action against the County and the Fiddlesticks community.

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