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Incorporation is not a dirty word

By Staff | Aug 12, 2020

To the editor:

Every May the pied-piper of the anti-incorporation movement here in the Greater Pine Island Community retreats to an incorporated beach town in the northeast. It is an exclusive community where many wealthy east coast residents spend their summers. Modest homes are priced in the millions. Homes that need to be torn down are priced close to a half a million. This beach community is not a middle class community. Phil Buchanan, who spent much of his professional career in this area, was quite familiar with these affluent coastal communities.

This knowledge may be why Phil worked so hard using his numerable talents, pro bono, to protect what we hold dear in The Greater Pine Island community. It was the GPICA, led by Phil and many current members, that negotiated The Pine Island Plan. This Plan, Phil’s legacy, was to protect our unique affordable community from the same fate many other coastal communities have already suffered.

That legacy is in danger. Cape Coral remains a threat. The recent “victory” over the annexation of Matlacha’s five acres is merely a battle win. The war is not over. The Cape has very deep pockets and a large voice in Tallahassee. The pied-piper who “won” the battle in now demanding a great sum of money back in return from Cape Coral, for his efforts. However, Cape Coral has other plans. Cape Coral has plans for Seven Islands of condos, and boat slips, and restaurants, and stores that will directly effect the Matlacha community. Big developers and big money will buy out the character of Matlacha.

The present Lee County commissioners are plowing through the current Lee County Development Plan ignoring the protections the Plan offered to our county neighborhoods. Since Phil’s death, The Pine Island Plan has suffered the loss of some its protections. Despite the recent flurry of recent island development, our evacuation plan study has been shelved until 2030. The commissioners offered no protection from Cape Coral’s annexation Matlacha land. They turned a blind eye to the Mosquito Commission’s heliport in an environmentally sensitive area of the island. They have begun increasing land density. They washed their hands of the whole removal of the Chiquita Barrier removal.

Now we have the anti-incorporation faction attacking our last protection. Incorporation. It is not a dirty word. “Newcomers” have been verbally attacked for wanting to change the Greater Pine Island Community. The opposite is true. Many of these folks have witnessed what was lost and what incorporation can protect. The Greater Pine Island Community is a jewel. It is a magical place that warrants our protection. The Greater Pine Island Community is a place for folks that live on fixed incomes, a place for veterans that need care, a place where our children can be nourished, a place for our fishing families can thrive, a place to honor the Calusa Indians, and a place for our environment and species to be protected.

The anti-incorporation faction does not share this vision.

We do not need a second bridge as a current anti-incorporation candidate believes. Phil always claimed that a second bridge would end Pine Island as we know it. We do not need a community with homes out of affordable reach and taxes too high for our current citizens. We need to protect our paradise. Incorporate.

Please get involved and hear for yourself the actual plans that your fellow citizens have created.

Claudia Bringe

St James City