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GPICA addresses Pine Island Plan, other items

May 13, 2015
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

More than 125 people filled the hall Tuesday evening at the Pine Island Elks Lodge for the Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting. On the agenda were two items: two development proposals from James Ink from InkWerks Coastal Design and Development Consultants, and a presentation from Dr. Phil Buchanan about the current status of the revisions of the Pine Island Plan.

"I would like to recognize several Pine Island citizens that have stepped up and taken initiative to help our island," Roger Wood, president of GPICA, said opening the meeting. "We have signs, bumper stickers saying 'Don't Dump the Plan' and I would like to recognize Rachi Farrow for this. We also have a citizen that has created a website called We will be posting the latest news there so if you're going back up north you can stay informed."

Wood then introduced Ink from InkWerks.

Article Photos

speaker Phil Buchanan suggests a Pine Island Planning Committee during the GPICA?meeting last week.


The first item Ink raised was an RV storage facility in the industrial park.

"As part of the requirements of the land development code for development on Pine Island, we have to come before the board and present what we are doing," Ink said. "The first case I have tonight is for a development order for an RV storage lot in the industrial park."

The plan calls for the storage of up to 50 RVs or boats on a three-lot property on the northeast corner of the industrial park. Those spaces will be available for rental. The plan is consistent with the zoning as "open storage."

"The sides and rear will have an 8-foot concrete wall, the front will have a 8-foot chain link fence," Ink said. "It will have the appropriate landscaping, storm water management and lighting for an industrial park."

Questions regarding security, lighting and landscaping were raised. Ink assured the crowd that the requirements for an industrial park would be met.

Question: "Have neighbors been notified about this RV park?"

Ink: "As part of the development order it's not required that neighbors be notified. The only notice was in the Eagle notifying people about this meeting."

Question: "Is there any environmental study regarding gopher tortoises and other wildlife?"

Ink: "Yes we do a study to ensure that we meet specifications. If there were any issues we would have to mitigate them. There are no environmental issues with this property."

The vice president of GPICA asked for a vote for and against the project. The RV storage facility project pass 123 for and 2 against.

The second project was Porpoise Point in Matlacha. Currently there are two, two-family buildings on the south shore of Porpoise Point. The project was started in 2007 but then stopped because of the economic crisis. The owner is now reinstating the development order for 10 additional buildings with two condominiums each for a total of 20.

Question: "How can the current plans meet the new environmental requirements for this project that was approved years ago?"

Ink: "The setback from the aquatic preserve is about 20 feet. The setback, in the second zoning level the setback was reduced to less than 20 feet on the canal side."

Question: "We are talking about a lot of development on a 2-acre property on a deadend street and a campground."

Ink: "Well, that part of the discussion has already been asked, answered and approved."

Question: "So why are you coming back here?"

Ink: "We are reinstating the development order."

Question: "If everybody here says they don't want to reinstate the development order what happens?

Ink: "Honestly, I don't believe you have the jurisdiction to stop it."

Question: "Does the project meet the new flood zone requirements?"

Ink: "Yes it does."

Question: "Who are the property owners?"

Ink: "The property owners are Coastal Land Development out of Norman, Oklahoma and the builder is Aubuchon Homes."

Question: "Has a traffic study been done?"

Ink: "Yes and we've met those requirements."

Question: "Why was this meeting not in Matlacha?"

Ink: "I was asked if I could attend the April meeting but had a previous engagement but when I was asked I said I could be available for this meeting. We certainly could have had the meeting in Matlacha."

A vote was taken. Forty-eight were against the additional development and 34 were in support.

Buchanan was asked to deliver a review about the status of the Pine Island Plan.

"First, let me note that we are making progress," Buchanan said. "All these emails and letters and phone calls are having a huge impact on the county. They are changing their tune in a big, big way. I don't know that they're changing their act but they're certainly changing their rhetoric. My latest 'Letter to the Editor' included a description of the problem and my proposed solution to the problem.

"I am suggesting we get organized to defend the Pine Island Plan by setting up a Pine Island Planning Committee under the auspices of the Greater Pine Island Civic Association. The way I envision this is to have as many people as possible involved in the planning committee. I would like to see a 'Planning Committee' of several hundred people from every segment of Pine Island. I suggest a pre-organizational meeting to be held at the Lutheran Church on Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Sort of a Town Hall meeting that will be just a forum for ideas and to set up various positions the first being a Scribe to take notes."

Andrea Hendrickson agreed to fill that position.

He suggested that the Planning Committee should include representatives from every homeowner association, church, club, non-profit and other organization on Pine Island, as well as individuals with special interests, skills or energy. Persons supporting unrestricted development should also participate - everyone on Pine Island should have a say. Helpful government officials might be offered "Honorary Chairman" positions in the organization.

"I think a number of people to serve on the planning committee, committee for research, a chairman, and members of an executive committee. Elections should be at a later meeting after public notice of nominations," Buchanan said. "For snowbirds and others, participation by email is strongly encouraged."

"The county says they will have a revised plan in a few months and I think we should be prepared," Buchanan said. "They say this rewrite both preserves Pine Island and allows a level of development that precludes lawsuits by landowners." The best we can hope for (and our goal) is to negotiate a solution that does the least damage to Pine Island. By putting this committee together we can be better prepared for whatever they present."

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m., at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church, 10360 Stringfellow Road, in St. James City.



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