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M/PIFCD concerned about planned 7-Eleven on island

September 4, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

On Thursday, Aug. 9, the Lee County Hearing Examin-er heard the rezoning proposal for the new 7-Eleven on Pine Island Road. Long-time Pine island resident and Fire Commissioner Michael Dreikorn was present at the meeting.

The proposed 3,400-square-foot store is to be built on the vacant lot on the south side of Pine Island Road, east of the Pine Island Pizza. The property is approximately 2 1/2 to 3 acres lot with access from the front on Pine Island Road and the rear via Nikkis Lane.

"On behalf of the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District, I commented that the District was not notified of the rezoning," Dreikorn said. "Subsequent to the hearing, the District was added to a notification process. I also requested that the District be afforded an opportunity to review the traffic studies and that we be provided technical support from the county to do so."

The plan for the new convenience store was first presented at the October 2017 Greater Pine Island Civic Association meeting. The GPICA held a follow-up meeting where cosmetic changes were made to the original plans.

"The hearing lasted the entire morning and there were three persons from Pine Island in attendance that made presentations," Dreikorn said. "All three islanders provided comments related to concerns about traffic flow, in particular at Nikkis Lane. It appears that the input of islanders is not reflected in her (the hearing examiner's) order."

Following the meeting, the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District Commissioners sent a letter to the deputy hearing examiner regarding the department's concerns about traffic impact near the 4 Corners.

The letter states that the commissioners question the accuracy of traffic study data; that no traffic impact studies were done regarding the additional commercial building development; that the modeling tools may not represent the realities of island transportation; and that the Pine Island Road and Nikkis Lane entrances will not provide turn lanes posing potentially greater collision risk.

"We are also initiating discussions related to the constrained traffic flow through Matlacha to ensure the county has reasonable plans that will ensure the safety of our residents and visitors," Dreikorn said. "Our objective as a fire district is to ensure public safety."

Fire Chief Ben Mickuleit and Fire Commissioner Michael Dreikorn will be leading discussions with the County Planning managers to address the cumulative effect of commercial development on traffic flow in Pine Island Center.

The new Pine Island 7-Eleven will be located at 5431 Pine Island Road, N.W., Bokeelia, just east of the Center.

The hearing examiner has not yet issued a decision.



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