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Matlacha Civic Association discusses incorporation’s impact

March 28, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Matlacha Civic Association held its monthly meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the impact of incorporation for Matlacha and Pine Island. The guest speaker was Lynn Tipton, the director of FLC University, a Florida League of Cities program.

Public service is at the heart of what municipalities do every day and FLC University helps with tools, educational programs, resources and best practices for the many tasks cities are faced with. FLC University holds regional summits, webinars, workshops, etc., at its Orlando location.

"The league does not take a position on whether a community should or should not incorporate," Tipton said. The league is like Switzerland we're neutral."

Article Photos

Lynn Tipton, the director of FLC University, a Florida League of Cities program, addresses the Matlacha Civic Association.


Tipton stated there are 412 municipalities in Florida ranging in size from 5 persons to 891,207 persons with a median of 5,800 persons.

"Today, the biggest driving issue for seeking incorporation is the issue of the comprehensive plan in order to make land use decisions," Tipton said. "The issues of controlling density and future growth can be fixed. If residents feel the county is not listening to them, then residents can form a city.

"Cities wishing to incorporate must have a common vision," Tipton said. "What are the common issues that are driving the movement? We have about a dozen application every year and many reach a point where they don't want to continue. Also without a consensus, the incorporation will likely dissolve."

Steps required for an unincorporated area to become a city are: a feasibility study must be completed (along with a proposed charter); the local delegation of elected officials to the statehouse must give approval prior to filing for incorporation; the "special act" is filed in the state House of Representatives and then the state Senate; the governor must sign it and Legislature approves the "special act;" and finally it goes to the citizens for a vote for or against incorporation.

"The delegation can be the first hurdle," Tipton said. "The delegation is the sponsor and if the delegation does not give their approval, then usually the incorporation is withdrawn. Once the delegation approves then the Legislature will give it intense scrutiny by going through the feasibility with a fine tooth comb.

"In the state of Florida, only registered voters can vote for or against incorporation," Tipton said. "I have people say, 'But I've owned a business here for 25 years!", unfortunately, if you're not a registered voter, that's the law."

In other business, the meeting concluded with Woodstock Road resident Ndakhte Ndiaye announcing that the attorneys for both sides of the Woodstock airstrip lawsuit must present a "recap" of their case to the judge before April 6, 2018.



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