Greater Pine Island Civic Association DRAFT Meeting Minutes — Sept. 6, 2022, Greater Pine Island Elks Club
Please note that these are DRAFT minutes until approved by the GPICA membership (scheduled for approval at the Oct. 4, 2022 meeting.)
GPICA Board Members present: President Helen Fox, Vice President Nadine Slimak, Treasurer Michael Sweeney; Members Cindy Bear, Connie D’Alessio, Deborah Swisher-Hicks. (Excused: Members Scott Wilkinson, Shari Perkins.)
73 Members and nonmembers signed in. The meeting was also livestreamed on Facebook.
>The meeting was called to order by Helen Fox at 6:33 p.m.
>Helen provided a membership update, noting that we have 279 members current in their dues and nearly 1,000 people receiving our emails.)
>Deb Swisher-Hicks provided an update on recent meetings of the Lee County Hearing Examiner she has attended, as well as upcoming hearings related to zoning cases on Pine Island:
- Calusa Cay (Publix Plaza): They’re requesting exemptions to allow for a 60,000 square foot warehouse, along with self-storage units and an increase in the building height of the storage units (right up to the maximum allowed by the Pine Island Plan.) Deb represented the GPICA and Pine Islanders during the Aug. 31, 2022, meeting, making the argument that the warehouse request is greater than the 10,000 square feet currently allowed under the PI Plan and that the construction itself is already beyond what is allowable under the Pine Island Plan. There’s no decision yet from the hearing examiner and no date yet set for the case to go before the Lee County commission.
- 8523 Stringfellow Road (this lot is located near the feed store on the west side of Stringfellow): Developers are requesting zoning changes from general commercial to commercial planned development. Records indicate they are seeking to build a lawn and garden center and are seeking deviations for parking and to change how much greenery/plantings are required. The hearing before the hearing examiner is scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 6, 2022.
Former Chamber of Commerce building (just east of Matlacha): Owners are requesting a change from agricultural uses to commercial planned development for office, small retail and similar uses but the primary use will be a vehicle dealership to sell used cars and rent vehicles for tourist use. The intent is to use the existing structure for the sales and administrative office and allow for slight expansion requesting 2,000 sf maximum building. Their plan also includes a request for a comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) change from the current land use category — rural — to commercial in order to permit the office, retail and vehicle dealership.
This goes before the hearing examiner at 9 a.m. on Oct. 13.
Hearing examiner meetings are always held at 1500 Monroe St., Fort Myers, FL 33901. The hearings begin at 9 a.m. (but there are usually several/many on the agenda, so it may be a bit before a particular case is called.) To learn about these and other zoning changes coming before the Lee County Hearing Examiner, visit the County’s website: https://www.leegov.com/hearingexaminer
>Helen noted that landowners originally scheduled to present their plans for parking/materials offloading for outer island residents to be located on Stringfellow Road near Maria Road (near the Fisherman’s Co-Op) has been postponed to a future meeting.
>Helen then reviewed the minutes from the August meeting.
Mike S. moved to accept them; Nadine seconded. The motion carried and the minutes were approved.
>Mike presented the Treasurer’s report:
- Money market balance: $16,762.55
- Checking account balance: $6,978.81
- CD: $76,366.65. He noted that the CD will roll over in October.
- Income: $1,535.88 in membership dues and donations.
- Expenses: None.
>Member Jeff Waller moved to accept the report. Nadine seconded. The motion carried and the report was approved.
>Helen then introduced the evening’s main speaker, Bill Spikowski, of Spikowski Planning Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in the challenges facing growing communities. Spikowski’s projects have included comprehensive plans, redevelopment plans for aging communities, and customized plans to enhance the character of individual communities. Spikowski was the lead consultant to the GPICA during the development of the Pine Island Plan, which limited development on farmland and phased growth to match road capacity; he later drafted zoning regulations to implement the plan. (See more at www.Spikowski.com) His presentation included information about:
- Pine Island Plan boundaries;
- Who controls what happens between the western edge of Cape Coral and the eastern edge of the Plan;
- How our water company and fire district fit into this and why their boundaries are different;
- What the Plan controls and who is responsible for enforcing it;
- What the future could hold for community plans like Pine Island’s;
- What could happen to the plan if a new city were formed.
After a Q&A session with Bill, Mike made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Connie seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
—Respectfully submitted by Nadine Slimak