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MCA talks annexation, incorporation, water quality

By Staff | Jul 22, 2020

On Wednesday, July 15, the Matlacha Civic Association held a masked monthly meeting with six board members and two others in attendance. Everyone was invited to view and add comments to the meeting, which was streamed live on Facebook and it can still be viewed on the MCA Facebook page.

MCA board member and attorney Michael Hannon gave a legal update over the much debated annexation of Matlacha by the city of Cape Coral.

“I’ll address the activity we’re engaging in to obtain repayment of funds we expended on lawyers to defeat the annexation by Cape Coral,” said Hannon. “We’re growing closer to having a hearing before Judge Kyle on that.”

Hannon went on to say $120,000 in legal fees have since been claimed by Matlacha and an offer to settle has been made for another $38,000, which was rejected by Matlacha.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll have a decision by Judge Kyle on our petition for legal fees this fall, which would help replenish our Matlacha Action Fund,” said Hannon.

The next item on the agenda for discussion was the incorporation of Pine Island. Board member Jon Hunt explained that the Greater Pine Island Civic Association has been given the task of either gathering 7,000 island resident signatures or making a formal request through the Lee County Board of Commissioners. Hunt said he was informed that it was possible Matlacha would vote separately from Pine Island.

He is currently researching the feasibility of an independent poll of Matlacha residents and possibly Pine Island residents as well, which he says will have no connection to either the Matlacha or the Greater Pine Island civic associations, in an effort to conclude an unbiased survey of all residents.

MCA board member and former president Karl Deigert gave an update on water conditions, which he said, were “bad and not getting any better.”

“We’re living in a dead zone,” said Deigert, naming several bacterium as well as a buildup of algae, he says, you can see floating on the surface of local canals. According to Deigert, the problem has invaded all of Matlacha Pass and will not cease until the eutrophication of the local waters stops.

Current MCA President, Stephen Longest suggested having the Calusa Waterkeeper speak at the next MCA meeting regarding water conditions, since they have tested the waters and are well versed on the subject.

“For those of you who have not been in Matlacha recently,” said Longest, “the water color and quality has definitely degraded over the past few weeks.”

The last item discussed was the possible rescheduling of the upcoming Water Gala, based on social restrictions due to COVID-19, which the board decided to table pending further information.