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Determining the future of our community

May 2, 2012
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

How big is too big? When is a house too large? When you neighbor's house blocks your view? When air and light are greatly diminished? When watershed from your neighbor's roof falls onto your property? When the distance between homes prevents fire department access in case of emergency?

These issues, raised at Matlacha Civic Association meetings over several years, are addressed in the Matlacha Overlay Plan. The plan addresses building height, lot coverage, vertical plane and setbacks, among other things, that are designed to protect the property rights and property values of all Matlacha residents. It is not fair to the owner of an existing home to have his property devalued and his quality of life diminished because of the sheer size and bulk of a new neighbor's home.

Yet, the Overlay Plan also protects residents who wish to build or re-model. It is flexible enough to permit a home up to 6,600 square feet on an appropriately sized lot. In many ways the plan relaxes building rules currently in effect.

Overall, there have been 27 advertised MCA meetings whose primary agenda item was the Overlay Plan. Twenty-two notices and articles have appeared in the Pine Island Eagle. Furthermore, the plan was presented before three Lee County review and advisory boards at publicly advertised hearings: EROC, the Executive Regulatory Oversight Committee; the LDC, Land Development Code Committee; LPA, Lee Local Planning Agency Board.

People have moved to Matlacha because they liked the old-Florida, village atmosphere. Above all, Matlacha Civic's Overlay Plan protects the historical quaintness and character of our community by establishing building rules specific to Matlacha and by putting decision making into the hands of our residents who have a right to determine the future of our community.

Nancy Harwood




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