Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

GPICA continues talk on Pine Island Plan

April 15, 2015
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Pine Island Plan was the topic of conversation at this month's Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting, held at the Elks Club Tuesday evening.

"We should all take pride in being Pine Islanders and displaying our community spirit," GPICA president Roger Wood said. "We had a great turnout at both the March 9th Town Hall meeting and again at the March 17th County Commissioners meeting in Fort Myers."

"I can say that those commissioners were very surprised at the turnout from Pine Island residents," vice president Kathy Malone said. "It especially made an impact on what I call the 'Gang of Three' (Hammon, Pendergrass and Kiker).

"Recently an email was sent out regarding the Pine Island Plan by Managing Assistant County Attorney Michael D. Jacob and I'm going to read that letter," Wood said.

"Good morning,

"I wanted to provide each of you with an update on our efforts to review the Lee Plan regarding Pine Island. Yesterday afternoon we had our kick off meeting to discuss the areas of concern, research goals, and to develop a plan of action for analyzing the data collected and moving forward.

Article Map

"In the next few weeks, we'll be researching and analyzing infrastructure costs, funding mechanisms, hurricane evacuation standards, TDR/PDR programs, development regulations for barrier islands in other jurisdictions, as well as other related topics. As we move forward, we will begin to develop a regulatory framework to address the County's liability, secure the unique character of Pine Island, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

"Once we have a working draft of proposed development regulations and Lee Plan amendments, we will begin setting up meetings to present the draft and receive input from Pine Island residents. At the conclusion of those meetings, we will bring forward the draft for Board approval to move through the adoption process. Please feel free to share this brief update with others."

Moving forward the committee will begin to develop a regulatory framework to "address the County's liability, secure the unique character of Pine Island, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Once we have a working draft of proposed development regulations and Lee Plan amendments, we will begin setting up meetings to present the draft and receive input from Pine Island residents."

"This is what we are talking about," Wood said. "Once they get to the proposed draft they are going to come out here to make a presentation for our consideration. It's imperative that everyone show up to voice any objections to the proposed amendments. In the mean time we should continue to write letters, make phone calls, make suggestions. There will be several meetings and we need to show up."

Malone had invited local liaison Greg Stuart of Matlacha (Stuart Urban Design). Malone said Stuart would be representing the area and interests of Pine Island. The second liaison is Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering, Bonita Springs). Crespo was hired by the county. Neither was able to attend this meeting.

Bill Spikowski (Spikowski Planning Associates) was also invited to attend the meeting but was out of town. Spikowski wrote the present (2001) Plan for the GPICA and he and Phil Buchanan, along with other Pine Island committee members, guided the 2001 Plan through county reviews.

"We will be inviting Greg Stuart, Alexis Crespo and attorney Richard Wesch to our May meeting," Malone said. "As you know we will be taking the summer break after our May meeting so it is important that they attend."

The GPICA board then answered questions from the audience.

Q. How can the County Commissioners change a plan that was agreed on by the previous commissioners and the people of Pine Island?

A. We have a five member commission and have three of the five commissioners that are more favorable to the developers than to the Plan. That gives them a majority.

Q. Do we know anything about these 51 supposed Bert Harris lawsuits because I've never heard any details as to who's filing them.

A. No. Even Commissioner (Frank) Mann asked the question, "what do we know about these lawsuits" and no one had any answers.

Q. Have any lawsuits been filed?

A. No. These are just threats and no one knows who they are.

Q. These three commissioners, are they up for re-election?

A. No. They just won re-election so they are there for the next four years.

Q. Those of us that will be going north in the next few weeks, can we get on the email list so we know what's going on?

A. Yes. Just fill out the email form here or go to our website and fill out the contact form and you'll be added to the list.

Q. What about incorporating Pine Island?

A. We looked into that several years ago and I think it may be time to look into it again.

A brief update about the North Spreader was made by secretary Nancy A. Hindenach, B.S., M.S.

"Commissioner (John) Manning declined to attend the Matlacha Civic Association meeting to give us an update about current litigation about the replacement of the North Spreader," Hindenach said. "That spreader protects us from 400 miles of canals that discharge into the aquatic preserve. He said we were waiting for some science. They found the presence of small-tooth sawfish in the spreader so that endangered species may be a new twist. The Army Corps of Engineers would have to give a permit to dredge the North Spreader. It is filling in with sediment and the people of Cape Coral are having a hard time getting out. We need to think about the spreader and the litigation. We previously had commissioners that supported us but with the last election changed dramatically. We just need to stay aware and be vigilant."

Neighbors that live near the Cracker Cafe (Flatheads Roadhouse) on Stringfellow Road voiced their displeasure about the possible reopening of the restaurant. Dr. Margery Runyan, psychotherapist, owner of Twin Dreams, LLC, and next door neighbor to the restaurant offered video showing hundreds of motorcycles, outside drinking and loud music. Property owner Russ Smith proposes to reopen the restaurant.

Greater Pine Island Civic Association meets the first Tuesday of the month.

The final meeting for this season will be held at the Elks Club on May 5 at 7 p.m.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web