As many of you know, the owners of eight parcels on the east and west sides of Veterans Parkway near the Pine Island Road intersection recently requested annexation by the City of Cape Coral. The City has agreed to this voluntary annexation.
The owners of some of the parcels on the west side of Veterans are planning a massive development at the entrance to Pine Island that would include a hotel, homes, and businesses valued at over $200 million. The lots in question fall within the boundaries of the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Control District and the Greater Pine Island Water Association.
Residents of Pine Island and Matlacha are opposed to this development at our doorstep for many reasons, among them:
- Traffic entering and exiting from the development could contribute to our traffic problems during the winter season, since the corner of Pine Island Road and Veterans Parkway is already a bottleneck.
- The new development would not be subject to the height and density restrictions of the Pine Island Plan.
- Most importantly, the character of Greater Pine Island would be forever changed by such a high profile development at the entrance to the island.
These serious concerns have led some residents to vigorously advocate for fighting the “voluntary annexation” in the courts.
The GPICA Board shares these concerns, and while we are greatly alarmed about the size and scope of the development being planned, after consultation with our advisors and other interested parties — including the Matlacha Civic Association — we have come to the conclusion that the GPICA has no legal grounds to challenge the annexation because it is a voluntary request being made by the property owners themselves.
- Through our review of the law, it appears that a voluntary annexation can only be challenged by residents of Cape Coral and/or the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Control District, not by unelected groups or non-resident individuals.
In addition, case law and opinions by the Florida Attorney General say that a voluntary annexation can only be challenged on the grounds that the parcels are non-contiguous with City property or that they are “not compact.”
- But both properties appear to be contiguous with city boundaries and compact.
To continue discussion of this issue, we have invited representatives of both the Greater Pine Island Water District and the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Control District to our June 7 GPICA meeting to discuss how this annexation might affect service agreements with Cape Coral, and so they can share their plans going forward. We are especially interested in the Fire District’s decision to challenge the voluntary annexation.
Please be sure to join us.
- When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 7
- Where: Greater Pine Island Elks Club, just west of the four-way stop at the Center