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Pine Island/Matlacha Incorporation

March 28, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

One thing is very clear. At this point in the incorporation process, anyone protesting incorporation is either uninformed, misinformed or self-serving.

There have been false statements, unfounded assumptions and blatant lies spread regarding incorporation of the Greater Pine Island Area. The greater Pine Island area is governed by the greater Pine Island Land Use Plan instituted by Lee County.

Pine Island's initial land use plan was adopted in the early 2000s. It was the best land use plan in the nation and was repeatedly requested by areas around the nation hoping to implement it.

Immediately after adoption of the original land use plan, I, as president of the GPICA, and others stated that we should begin the process of incorporation in order to control our own destiny and protect our land use plan. The consensus at the time was to not incorporate. Not incorporating was a huge mistake. Since then we threw a bone here and there to the County Commission by not opposing changes to the land use plan, in the hopes they would like us, support us and leave our land use plan mostly intact. We are now subject to the Bert Harris Act and have approximately three times the housing density, road traffic allowed and evacuation time allowed.

Recently, Cape Coral annexed part of Matlacha. This would not have happened if the Greater Pine Island area was incorporated.

The Greater Pine Island Civic Association immediately and appropriately began investigating incorporation and voted to hire an extremely competent and well-versed consultant, Joe Mazurkiewicz, who was integral to the incorporation of several area municipalities. His study showed that incorporation was feasible for the Greater Pine Island Area.

The GPICA began working on a preliminary charter for the incorporation. Mazurkiewicz informed the GPICA that there was an immediate deadline to submit a preliminary charter to the state or the GPICA would be set back an entire year in the incorporation process. A lot of adverse actions can happen in a year so the GPICA submitted the preliminary charter with the expectation to refine it later. After the GPICA submitted the preliminary charter, a small group of individuals began trying to undermine, subvert and thwart the purpose and objectives of the GPICA.

For political reasons, in order to make sure the charter was properly prepared and published, and to allow for public participation, the GPICA decided to put off the incorporation referendum vote from 2018 to 2019.

The people of Pine Island have always looked out for each other and have always had the best interests of the Pine Island/Matlacha area at heart. We now have a few individuals actively trying to divide us in order to serve their local interests instead of all the interests of all the people of the Pine Island area.

The Matlacha Civic Association decided to file a law suit challenging the Cape Coral annexation. Many Pine Islanders, including my wife and I and the GPICA, donated funds for that purpose.

Trust me, you cannot litigate your way out of development in the State of Florida. The MCA's lawsuit has little to no chance of succeeding. Incorporation is the only way to keep developers of high-rise buildings away from Pine Island. If you don't believe me, take a ride around Marco Island to see what the future of Pine Island will be without incorporation.

It has been falsely stated that the board members want to run for office and "cash in". No one on the board of the GIPCA has any desire to run for office.

The GPICA is in the process of holding town hall meetings to get input for the charter of the incorporated entity from all of the people in the Pine Island area. Only when this process is finished and published should anyone raise any questions or make assumptions about what the charter of the incorporated entity will or will not contain.

Another very specific and expensive polling regarding incorporation will be taken in the future for submission to our state representatives, prior to proceeding with the incorporation process.

The charter will specifically state what the purpose and scope of the incorporated entity will be. The scope and objectives of the incorporated entity should be limited to protecting the identity and character of the Pine Island area, providing oversight and control of our land use plan and providing for public safety. It is intended that all services provided to the Pine Island area by Lee County will continue to be provided by Lee County. Any change to the scope and purpose of the incorporated entity should be subject to a referendum of everyone in the Pine Island area, not just a small group of elected officials.

Don't let anyone influence you before you know the truth and the facts regarding incorporation. The truth and facts will be clearly stated in the incorporation charter when it is completed and published. After the charter is published, there will be a referendum conducted by the Lee County Supervisor of Elections where the informed voters of the Pine Island area can vote whether to proceed with incorporation.

Bryan Crane,

CPA retired

St. James City



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