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GPICA discusses planned Matlacha retail building

M/PIFCD officials describe services provided

May 15, 2019
Pine Island Eagle


Representatives from Morris Depew Associates made a presentation about a proposed new construction retail and residential building in Matlacha at the Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting Tuesday.

Article Photos

Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District representatives, from left, Chief Ben Mickuleit, Administrative Assistant Linda Richter, Fire Inspector Courtney Urich and Deputy Chief Shawn Brant at the GPICA?meeting. At left is a Safe Haven/Safe Place sign.


Morris-Depew Associates is a consulting firm that offers civil engineering, land planning, landscape architecture and surveying to local governments and private sector clients.

The property is located at 4613 Pine Island Road in Matlacha, sandwiched between Wild Child Art Gallery and Blue Dog Restaurant. It is the site of the old Lob Lolly that was severely damaged in Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and torn down in 2005. The property has been vacant since 2005.

Cindy Leal Brizuela, the assistant planner at Morris Depew Associates, described the new structure as a two-story building with a retail art gallery on the first floor and a caretakers apartment on the second floor. The footprint of the building is 3,683 square feet.

"The first floor will be mixed-use that will include 20 retail booths," Brizuela said. "Mixed-use means the space could include art galleries with specialty retail like a jewelry store. There will be a caretakers residence on the second floor."

The architects plan to construct a building that is flood-proof and fits the character of the Matlacha Historic District.

"In fact, this art gallery will create a string of six art galleries in a row along Pine Island Road," Brizuela said.

Ten parking spaces are included on the side and rear of the building with one handicapped spot and a boat slip. The boat slip was already present and will be used for patrons who may come by boat.

A question was raised whether the caretakers unit could be divided into multiple rental units.

"The way the caretakers residence is permitted through the county is one dwelling unit with only one kitchen," land planner Tina Eckblad said. "Dividing up the caretakers residence is not an option."

Of the approximately 25 people present, 21 voted in favor of the restaurant one opposed.

The Lee County Property Appraiser website indicates the property was purchased by Onofrio and Angela Demattia of Brooklyn, New York, in 2016 for $350,000.

M/PIFCD presentation

The Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Department made a presentation explaining the many services it provides to the community. Presenters were Chief Ben Mickuleit, Deputy Chief Shawn Brant, Administrative Assistant Linda Richter and Fire Inspector Courtney Urich.

Mickuleit invited the community to stop by for a tour of the fire stations and to meet the team.

"All of our stations are open to the public," Mickuleit said. "Especially anyone with grandchildren should bring them to the station everybody's grandchildren loves the fire trucks."

Urich demonstrated how to properly use a fire extinguisher and recommended that residents look into classes for the public at Fire Station #1.

Richter explained the Vial of Life.

"The first thing first responders want to know when they arrive at your house is what medications you or your loved one is taking," Richter said. "The Vial of Life contains your important medical information that can assist emergency personnel in administering the proper medical treatment. You put in on your refrigerator and sometimes it's the difference between life and death. When you can't speak for yourself, the Vial of Life can speak for you."

The Vial of Life includes a sticker that goes on the front door to let first responders know you have a Vial of Life. The Vial of Life is free and available at Station #1.

"Be sure to pick one up and most importantly fill it out and keep it up to date," Mickuleit said.

"The pet locator can be a very important piece of information for first responders," Brant said. "Our pets are like family and if there's a fire and we know they are in the house, we can get them out. These are free and available at Station #1."

The department teaches CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), AED (automated exterior defibrillator) and First Aid Classes. "In order to learn about CPR, AED and First Aid all you need to do is call the station and schedule a class," Brant said. "We can do a class at Station #1 or almost any place more convenient. We usually like to have 4 6 people for a class."

The department also provides safe babysitting courses, blood pressure checks, car seat installations and education and sharps containers.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Every year the department holds severe weather (hurricane) education seminars.

The Fire Department is also a "Safe Place" and "Safe Haven." A "Safe Place" is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people under the age of 18 (up to 21 years of age in some communities) in need of immediate help and safety. A "Safe Haven" allows a parent to surrender their baby to someone at a designated location without fear of being charged with abandonment.

If you are interested in any of these program,s contact the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 239-283-0030.

Other business

In other business the board suggested to change the starting time of the GPICA monthly meeting from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The vote was postponed to a future meeting.

GPICA committee members present were Shari Perkins, Tim Heitz, Roger Wood, Scott Wilkinson, Debbie Memoli, Claudia Bringe, Nancy Harwood Anna Stober and Helen Fox.

Fox was appointed director to complete the term of Giancaro Saccucci.



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