Cape Coral Breeze

 

December 19, 2016

 

Island residents protest

Group of Pine Islanders object to Cape Coral’s annexation of lots in Matlacha

 

By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com)

 

On Monday, Dec. 12, the Cape Coral City Council voted to annex five lots on Matlacha Island to the city. In the days following the meeting, Pine Island residents organized a series of meetings and a protest rally in an attempt to reverse the council's decision.

 

Pine Island/Matlacha residents Michael Dreikorn, Roger Wood, Mike Hannon and Birdi Smock led the first meeting, forming an unofficial "Don't Annex Matlacha" Committee. The meeting at Fire Station #1 Wednesday afternoon and the group asked for volunteers to head various leadership positions: record keeping, communications, legal and environmental initiatives.

 

A discussion on the annexation issue was also held.

 

"When Cape Coral announced that at their council meeting last Monday that they were going to annex part of Matlacha, they put a tiny notice in the paper," Dreikorn, the president of the Bokeelia Civic Association, said at the meeting. "We were told we would have this one time to speak out before the vote was taken. There must have been 30 of us there to talk about our opposition to the annexation but we were forced to wait 2 1/2 hours to address the council. And when we did, they told us they don't care about us because we are not their citizens. This is a government that doesn't represent us. The government that represents us is the Lee County government."

 

"I have a little background from the Northwest Cape Coral Homeowners Association," Greater Pine Island Civic Association president Roger Wood said. "When the city of Cape Coral was making decisions on the Seven Island's project, the NWHA was offered an opportunity to tell the council what they would like to see there. The NWHA suggested possibly a park and if buildings were going to be part of the project that they have minimal impact on the environment and be no higher than 2 or 3 stories. The council came back with an 8-story plan. If the council won't even consider the wishes of their own citizens, they're not going to listen to us. They went so far at the council meeting to say they don't represent us."

 

Cape Coral released the following broadcast statement: "This annexation is bringing six parcels of land owned by the City of Cape Coral into the City limits. The parcels must be annexed into Cape Coral for the City's zoning and land use regulations to apply. The property is contiguous to the City boundary, and this annexation process has been vetted through legal channels at the City and County levels."

 

In a letter to the City Council, Pine Island resident Hannon said he asked several questions about the above statement and as of Monday, the city had not responded.

 

A protest rally took place on the Matlacha Bridge Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Approximately 40-50 people arrived with signs.

 

"Cape Coral bought those parcels with UEP Utility Expansion Project taxpayer funds," Pine Island resident Carol Crane said. "I've been told that Miceli's Restaurant offered $1 million to Cape Coral for one lot but the Cape refused."

 

"Meetings are planned to organize the effort to force the Cape to reverse their annexation," Wood said. "Boaters call that area 'Crash Corner' because of the high velocity of the currents there. At times the boat traffic is excessive there and a danger to public health and property values. If the Cape plans to build three new boat ramps, that will only make matters worse."

 

The property is adjacent to a canal that leads to the ecologically sensitive area Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve. One suggestion is to sell the property to the Calusa Land Trust for conservancy.

 

"The Cape says this is contiguous," Crane said. "But it is not contiguously connected to Cape Coral. It is in between Matlacha Isles and Matlacha Shores and would create an enclave of Matlacha Isles. We are asking for it to be made into a park."

 

Followup meetings are being scheduled. Islanders can keep updated on Facebook at "Pine Island Strong."

 

 

COMMENTS

 

djraal

Dec-28-16 4:47 PM         

Agree | Disagree

Keep up the pressure, or the crooks at Cape Crappy will annex the whole of Matlatcha and Pine Island

 

0 Agrees | 0 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

 

ERoberts

Dec-21-16 11:09 AM       

Agree | Disagree

"But it is not contiguously connected to Cape Coral."

 

Yes it is. Look at the map. It is directly across the canal from the city limits. I'm not sure who owns the land under the water in the canal, but I will point out that the canal was dug by... wait for it... Cape Coral! I think it's reasonable to argue that the canal is the city's.

 

"It is in between Matlacha Isles and Matlacha Shores and would create an enclave of Matlacha Isles. We are asking for it to be made into a park."

 

Matlacha Isles is also surrounded by Cape Corals canals, so where do you think that argument is taking you?

 

1 Agrees | 1 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

 

ERoberts

Dec-21-16 11:07 AM       

Agree | Disagree

"I've been told that Miceli's Restaurant offered $1 million to Cape Coral for one lot but the Cape refused."

 

I'd be interested to know if this is true as well, but it doesn't matter. The city owns it and is not obligated to sell just because someone else wants it. Land with boat access to the Gulf is scarce and extremely expensive all up the coast. Cape Coral only had one public launch within the city limits in the NW, and it isn't big enough to accommodate the population when the city is built out.

 

"The property is adjacent to a canal that leads to the ecologically sensitive area Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve."

 

Ummm, so what? That's true of the entire western edge of the city. This is irrelevant to the topic.

 

Dec-21-16 11:05 AM       

Agree | Disagree

"This is a government that doesn't represent us. The government that represents us is the Lee County government."

 

They weren't impolite about this. They heard you out, but the above statement is true and they simply stated that fact.

 

"If the council won't even consider the wishes of their own citizens, they're not going to listen to us." There is some truth to this, but it is also true that not all CC citizens are opposed to the taller buildings. The city sometimes makes decisions for the greater good over the benefit of people that live next door that will be most affected.

 

"Cape Coral bought those parcels with UEP Utility Expansion Project taxpayer funds," Pine Island resident Carol Crane said." Taxpayer funds, yes. UEP funds, no. Either way, it's irrelevant now. The city owns the land.

 

0 Agrees | 2 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

 

ERoberts

Dec-21-16 10:18 AM       

Agree | Disagree

I would argue that Matlacha claiming Matlacha Isles as being "theirs" creates an enclave within Cape Coral. Perhaps we should look at annexing that to correct this injustice.

 

0 Agrees | 1 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

 

Raydunavant

Dec-20-16 7:12 PM         

Agree | Disagree

djraal...you did not spell Kiester correctly...apparently your head is up yours!

 

0 Agrees | 2 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

 

netransplant

Dec-20-16 7:11 AM         

Agree | Disagree

You lose any trace of credibility you might have when you lie. Ms. Crane is totally wrong with her comment about where the funds came from to purchase those properties. The money came from water/sewer and Stormwater enterprise funds. As I understand it all the city plans to do improve the ramp access next to D&D, with Stormwater improvements.

 

3 Agrees | 1 Disagrees | Report Abuse »

 

djraal

Dec-19-16 8:35 PM         

Agree | Disagree

You better fight them tooth and nail or they will steal the islands right out from under your keesters. That was the reason they bought that land in the first place, once they got a foothold you will never get rid of the City of Cape Crappy

 

0 Agrees | 2 Disagrees | Report Abuse »