To the editor:
Burn the name King Ranch into your brain. That's the name of the latest threat to Pine Island. King Ranch has been on a buying spree on Pine Island, buying mostly palm farms but also mangrove areas. They are, some claim, the largest private landowner in the United States. They are headquartered in Texas, but also own huge tracts in Florida, and now they are after Pine Island.
Their past practice has been largely to go in and buy large portions of ag land in a community, and then employ local attorneys to get rid of local zoning laws before they start widespread development. In Florida, development can mean destruction of sensitive wetland habitats, which can legally be "mitigated" by agreeing to preserve mangroves (hence the recent purchases of mangroves).
Of course, getting rid of zoning laws also requires the cooperation of government officials. Read the following article to see how that is being done, and note the partnership between King Ranch and U.S. Sugar.
St James City