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The citizens have spoken

August 23, 2017
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I have great news to report. The citizens of Matlacha-Pine Island have spoken overwhelmingly that they support continuing on the path to incorporation. Over 83 percent of Matlacha voters and 84 percent of Pine Island voters want to proceed with the Incorporation process.

When we started the path to investigate incorporation, citizens expressed concern for the future of our Islands. They worried about potential changes to our coastal rural character that could adversely impact values we hold dear. They voiced their desire to retain those values such as clean water, open spaces and control over our local land use designations.

We can achieve these goals if we all work together. There has been well thought-out concern conveyed to us about self governance and its potential to increase taxes over those that are currently being paid by island citizens. The Greater Pine Island Civic Association has spent considerable time and expense to answer those concerns. A final financial analysis is currently being prepared to assure our citizens that we are working to create a small "village" government that will have lower taxes than those currently being paid for the services we receive from other taxing districts.

We don't want a big municipal complex; a small rented office space is all that is required. A village manager and clerk would be the only employees needed, and a village attorney could be contracted on an hourly basis. All the present Lee County services would be retained and paid for at the same rate charged all other incorporated communities in Lee County. We would NOT create our own streets, sanitation and building departments. We would retain the Lee County Comprehensive Plan, and specifically the section dealing with the Pine Island Community Plan and the Matlacha Overlay Plan. The administration of new land use developments would be administered by the Village Council of Matlacha-Pine Island.

The next step of the incorporation process is to create a charter which is a legal document setting forth the purpose, operation and function of our new community. We are drafting language to preserve our unique environment, and establish nonpartisan representation for all our community residents.

Our community character is plainly visible to anyone who rides around our area. The homes are unique and different; not cookie cutter tract houses. They have vivid tropical colors and contrasting trim. There are a lot of metal roofs, and many stilt homes to be hurricane resistant. We have huge preserves to hike and bike and interact with nature. We have many homes on rural sized lots. People have private ponds, and commune with nature on their own property. We have large agricultural areas, and commercial fishing operations. We have an active boating community that kayaks, sails, fishes and glories in cruising the waters surrounding us.

The people have spoken to preserve and maintain the coastal rural character of The Village of Matlacha-Pine Island.

Roger Wood, President,

Greater Pine Island Civic Association,

St. James City



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