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Matlacha Civic Association files appeal challenging annexation decision

February 14, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Last Monday, Feb. 5, the Matlacha Civic Association, and several additional petitioners from Matlacha and Cape Coral, filed an appeal with the Florida Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland, Fla., challenging Cape Coral's annexation of property in Matlacha.

In December 2016, the Cape Coral City Council, des-pite protests by more than 100 Pine Island and Matlacha residents, voted 4-3 to approve the annexation of 5.6 acres of land west of Miceli's Restaurant along Pine Island Road.

This past Jan. 5, Circuit Judge Keith Kyle dismissed the first lawsuit. Kyle said in his Order Dismissing Petition for Writ of Certiorari "it is ordered and adjudged that the petition for 'Writ of Ceriorari' is dismissed for lack of standing."

According to Wex Legal Dictionary, "standing" is defined as the "capacity of a party to bring suit in court. ... These typically revolve around the requirement that plaintiffs have sustained or will sustain direct injury or harm and that this harm is redressable."

The appeal states "the Circuit Court applied the wrong law; that is, it departed from the essential requirements of law in determining that none of the Petitioners had standing to challenge the City of Cape Coral's unconstitutional use of voluntary annexation."

J. Michael Hannon is a resident of Matlacha and one of the petitioners challenging the annexation.

"Cape Coral unlawfully purchased these parcels in 2012, and in 2016 used the process of voluntary annexation to bring them into the city for up-zoning and development," Hannon said "There was nothing 'voluntary' about this land grab because Cape Coral was on both sides of the annexation. Cape Coral misused the annexation statute, which we say is unconstitutional.

"Judge Kyle did find that Matlacha raised 'plausible arguments' that Cape Coral's annexation of the parcels is unlawful," Hannon said. "A three-judge panel of the Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland will now decide whether Judge Kyle was wrong."



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