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GPICA discusses variety of items

January 17, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Greater Pine Island Civic Association held its monthly meeting last Thursday night, discussing a number of items.

The topics for discussion were Lee County's proposed revisions to the Pine Island Plan; the new GPICA website; town hall meetings to write a charter for incorporation; and a presentation by Tom Sorby for a new Redfish Farm in Bokeelia.

Long-time Pine Island resident and chairman of the Lee County Planning Commission Noel Andress addressed the county's proposed amendments to the Pine Island Plan. Andress participated with Phil Buchanan with the 2016 revisions to the Pine Island Plan.

Article Photos

Tom Sorby has proposed developing a redfish farm in Bokeelia.


The Lee County Comprehensive Land Use Plan has a section entitled "Community Plans" of which there are 22 community plans, including the Pine Island planning community.

"This plan included everything from the west side of Burnt Store Road, Matlacha Isles, Matlacha, St. James City, Bokeelia, Pineland and the Center," Andress said. "Communities are allowed to do 'overlays' that would apply specifically to their community and Matlacha has an 'overlay' inside the Pine Island Plan."

The county has proposed three changes to the plan. The county is proposing to "not" use 20/20 dollars to purchase Pine Island land for preservation. Secondly, officials have decided not to do a septic tank study on Pine Island.

"The third change is the most serious," Andress said. "The county made a commitment to do a study on hurricane evacuation times when the Pine Island Plan was changed and adopted last year. This was agreed to and would support our current density of one dwelling per 2.7 acres. There is a meeting scheduled for February to discuss these proposed changes."

GPICA member Nadine Slimak created a new website for the association at to include additional information about the association.

"The site is easier to navigate and provides all of the relevant information about the association, the board and the monthly meetings," Slimak said. "There is also the agenda for the upcoming meetings and documents about the incorporation."

"As we move forward, we plan to post more and more information on that website," GPICA president Roger Wood said. "And for people without computer access, there are computers at the Pine Island Public Library and the Beacon of HOPE.

GPICA vice president Claudia Bringe offered suggestions about organizing town hall meetings to move forward with the exploration of incorporation and specifically forming a charter acceptable to all.

"If you've looked at the sample charter, there's a lot there that needs to be examined," Bringe said. "I thought we could do town hall meetings like we did with Phil Buchanan during the Pine Island Plan revisions."

St. James resident John Saccucci suggested starting the charter process by "defining the goals of the township and what do the citizens want to achieve by creating this township."

Bringe would like to hold the first in a series of meetings in February at the Lutheran Church.

Sorby offered a PowerPoint presentation about a proposed redfish farm to be located at 13171 Samadani Lane. The 20-acre property is located west of Stringfellow and south of Pineland Road.

The property is zoned agricultural and doesn't require a zoning change. Sorby plans to start small but gradually build a 70,000-square-foot facility to meet the demand for redfish.

Several neighbors objected to the size of the future facility, potential noise issues, treatment of waste material and the effect on property values.

Elections to the board of directors of the GPICA were scheduled for Thursday's night meeting but were postponed. The current board decided to fill those vacancies temporarily by appointing board members until the elections are held.

All meetings are open to the public at no charge. The GPICA meets at the Elks on Pine Island Road on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. Join or renew memberships for a $10 per person annual fee. Contact Wood at 920-421-3984.



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