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MCA seeks support of M/PIFCD, Fire Commission

November 20, 2019
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Karl Deigert, president of the Matlacha Civic Association, and several board members attended the Fire Commissioners meeting last week. Matlacha resident Michael Hannon was also present.

Hannon, speaking for MCA, is seeking support from the Fire Commissioners with MCA's lawsuit against Cape Coral's annexation of 6 lots in Matlacha.

In September, Circuit Court Judge Keith R. Kyle "quashed" the annexation ordinance passed by Cape Coral City Council in 2016, ruling the ordinance "is not supported by sufficient competent, substantial evidence and because the Court cannot confirm whether the essential requirements of law were observed."

"After going to the Court of Appeals we came back and we won," Hannon said. "Judge Kyle issued a ruling in the favor of Cape Coral residents who still had standing "'quashing' the annexation ordinance. In other words, that the case is final because no appeal has been taken and the Cape is past the expiration for the appeal and the land is no longer part of Cape Coral."

Following the annexation, the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District entered into an inter-local agreement with Cape Coral to provide health, safety and public welfare services to the six Matlacha lots. Hannon contends the ruling leaves the inter-local agreement between the city of Cape Coral and Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District "null and void."

There is a stipulation in the Inter-local agreement that states, "If any person, not a party to this Agreement, prevails on any legal challenge to the subject annexation ... the parties agree that this entire agreement shall become null and void."

"We ask you, as our only elected government officials, to help us protect our area from what we see as a threat," Hannon said. "Not only do we not want Cape Coral to have property in Matlacha but we do not want to rely on the life services of Cape Coral. We want to continue to rely on you."

Whether or not the Inter-local agreement is null and void depends on whether the MCA case is actually "dead." M/PIFCD attorney Bob Pritt isn't sure and advised the commission to table any decision until he hears back from the Cape Coral city attorney.

The result of this ruling may be that the ordinance has been sent back to Cape Coral City Council. The council may have the option to start over.

According to Hannon, the MCA is also seeking reimbursement of attorney fees Hannon estimates as petitioners are entitled to $62,000 to -$140,000.



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