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LCMCD agrees to purchase Woodstock Airport

December 19, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Lee County Mosquito Control District commissioners voted 5-1 in favor of purchasing the Woodstock Airport on Pine Island at their monthly meeting last week. The closing on the property was set for Monday.

The only dissenting vote was Commissioner Stephen Bowen, as the chair of the commission, William Ellis, did not vote.

Five Pine Island residents spoke opposing the purchase, raising legal issues, concerns about excessive noise, the effect of the airport on quality of life and possible reduction in home values. Greater Pine Island Civic Association board member Gabrielle Solterra said the GPICA board is against the purchase.

Article Photos

The Woodstock Opposition Group, from left, Jamie Sanders, Virginia Scorupski, Debbie Memoli, Gabrielle Soltera and spokesperson Ndakhte Ndiaya, talks with a member of the media at last week's meeting.


The Woodstock Opposition Group filed a lawsuit on Dec. 13 opposing the purchase of the Woodstock Airport based on road and drainage easements.

Attorneys for LCMCD outlined several unresolved issues about the purchase and stated that there weren't any easement issues that should present a problem in the future.

"I think it's pretty amazing that Commissioner Bowen, who was just elected to the board, being the only no vote," opposition group member Ndakhte Ndiaye said. "This is disappointing that the district would make such an important decision and not allow any leniency on the amount of time the community can present."

LCMCD issued the following statement: "LCMCD's acquisition of the Woodstock Airport FL-86 has been a long process due to the purchase being met with a legal challenges with a joint lawsuit from four residents of Pine Island. At today's Board meeting, a motion was made and passed to move forward with the purchase of the property. The District has served the citizens of the Pine Island since 1958. LCMCD shares Pine Islanders' appreciation for the environment and way of life, and the District will continue to practice mosquito control on the island in an effective and efficient way."

"I'm just happy the whole thing is over," Woodstock Airport co-owner Ila Valcarcel said. "Now everybody can move on with their lives and my family can settle in our new house."

All seven commissioners were present: Bowen, Edward Brantley, Ellis, Bryan Farrar, Thomas Hart, George Mann and Bruce Scott.

The Woodstock Airstrip is located on Woodstock Road near St. James City.



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