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County commissioners respond to question about Pine Island Plan

November 20, 2013
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Last February the Lee County Attorney's Office made a proposal to delete the 910 rule from the land development code known as the Pine Island Plan. In a matter of days the order was rescinded.

"Once again the Pine Island Plan is under attack," Phil Buchanan said. "The County Attorney's Office is renewing their efforts in a closed door executive session with the Commissioners to review lawsuits and Bert Harris liability claims against the county. In the past the CAO has recommended that the county pay tens of millions to large landowners on Pine Island to cover hypothetical damages; to eliminate the Pine Island Plan and authorize one house per acre on farm and rural lands this would add 30,000 new houses to Pine Island. This is the kind of development Pine Islanders have been fighting against for years."

The Pine Island Plan is legislation created in 1988 to protect Pine Island from over-development. It restricts development on the island based on the number of cars that pass through Matlacha. This limitation on development is based on two rules known as the "810 rule" and the "910 rule."

Following the "Florida Land Scams" of the 1960s and 1970s the Florida Legislature enacted growth management laws in the 1980s requiring the counties to establish land use plans. The Pine Island Civic Association recognized this as an opportunity to establish restrictions on growth on Pine Island. Those restrictions would be based on the amount of traffic passing through Matlacha. Maximum capacity established was 1010 vehicles per peak hour, annual average two-way trips.

It was written into the plan that rezoning would be restricted when the traffic count reached 80 percent of capacity (810 cars) and development orders would be restricted when the traffic count reached 90 percent of capacity (910 cars). The 810-traffic count milestone was reached in 1997, and the 910 count milestone was met in 2003.

The Pine Island Plan protects Pine Island and Matlacha from overdevelopment. The Commissioners are meeting on Nov. 25 in a closed door executive session to review lawsuits impacting the Pine Island Plan.

Each commissioner was asked by the Eagle for his official "on the record" response to the question: "Do you support the Pine Island Plan?" Their answers range from total support to limited support. See below:

Commissioner John Manning (District 1) said, "I helped create the Pine Island Plan and I completely and fully support it. On Tuesday I will be voting to defend the plan against a developer that is claiming damages under the Bert Harris Act."

Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass (District 2): "I understand everyones concerns - I support the Pine Island Plan."

Commissioner Larry Kiker (District 3): After repeated phone calls and emails we received no response from Kiker.

Commissioner Brian Hamman (District 4): "I'd rather hold my opinion for now. I'm definitely for balance we have to protect the rights of property owners."

Commissioner Frank Mann (District 5) said, "I strongly support the protective measures of the Pine Island Plan. I've been to Pine Island thousands of times fishing and oystering and I know what you have out there."

To contact the County Commissioners:

District 1 John Manning

Phone: (239) 533-2224

FAX: (239) 485-2155

Mailing Address: Box 398, Fort Myers, FL 33902-0398

Office Location: Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers, FL 33901

E-Mail: Dist1@leegov.com

District 2 Cecil L Pendergrass

Phone: (239) 533-2227

FAX: (239) 485-2021

Mailing Address: Box 398, Fort Myers, FL 33902-0398

Office Location: Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers, Florida 33901

E-Mail: Dist2@leegov.com

District 3 Larry Kiker

Phone: (239) 533-2223

FAX: (239) 485-2099

Mailing Address: Box 398, Fort Myers, FL 33902-0398

Office Location: Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers, Florida 33901

Email: Dist3@leegov.com

District 4 Brian Hamman

Phone: (239) 533-2226

FAX: (239) 485-2054

Mailing Address: Box 398, Fort Myers, FL 33902-0398

Office Location: Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers, FL 33901

E-Mail: Dist4@leegov.com

District 5 Frank Mann

Phone: (239) 533-2225

FAX: (239) 485-2092

Mailing Address: Box 398, Ft. Myers, FL 33902-0398

Office Location: Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers, Florida 33901

E-Mail: Dist5@leegov.com

 
 

 

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