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Guest Commentary: GPICA addresses Lee Legislative Delegation

October 25, 2017
Pine Island Eagle

(Editor's note: Roger Wood, the president of the Greater Pine Island Civic Association, made the following presentation to the Lee County Legislative Delegation.)

Good afternoon. We will be working over the next year to Incorporate the Village of Matlacha-Pine Island. Matlacha-Pine Island is a unique community of islands. Our homes have tropical colors and contrasting trim. There are many stilt homes with metal roofs to resist hurricanes. We have a lot of open land in agriculture and nature preserves. We have many large, rural sized lots. They are a mix of estates, ranchettes and private nature preserves.

The Lee County Pine Island Plan promotes 2.7 acre rural lots for new subdivisions. We do not have beaches, but our Islands are surrounded by mangrove forests. They form bays, creeks and ponds. They support commercial fishing, sport fishing, boating and kayaking. This makes our area a destination for people seeking our lifestyle, and our property values are increasing.

Recently a trigger event threatened our unique and independent way of life. Cape Coral annexed part of our area that is historically part of Matlacha. That 6-acre parcel is the Gateway to Matlacha-Pine Island. There are lawsuits to reverse that annexation, but we have come to the realization that any of our existing zoning regulations can be overturned by a change of Lee County Commissioners.

It is not only annexations that threaten our sovereignty. Therefore, we began investigating the process to Incorporate the Village of Matlacha-Pine Island.

We contracted BJM Consulting to prepare an Initial Incorporation Study and Analysis. These were presented to the Community, and their main concern was that a large government would be formed. We then began planning what we call Government Lite.

We sent a mailer out in June to all the registered voters in Matlacha and Pine Island. We presented the case for Incorporating Matlacha-Pine Island as a small limited government. We enclosed a self stamped post card for the voters to make their position known. Over 83 percent of Matlacha voters and 84 percent of Pine Island voters elected to proceed with Incorporation.

We then had a Final Feasibility Study performed, and the numbers were positive. We also drew up a preliminary Charter for the Village of Matlacha-Pine Island. These have been submitted to the State of Florida for review.

The character and appearance of Matlacha and Pine Island are different from the City of Cape Coral and the rest of Lee County. Our citizens are working to maintain that unique character. Over the next year we will be holding many public meetings, and collecting signatures of residents who favor Incorporation.

Please support our effort to Incorporate as "The Village of Matlacha-Pine Island" in the 2019 session.



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