Two Development Proposals on the Agenda for Tuesday’s GPICA Meeting
One includes mixed-use commercial and residential and the second is for a commercial site to service Upper Captiva Island
Please join us for Tuesday’s meeting of the Greater Pine Island Civic Association. The evening’s agenda will include two public information sessions on zoning change requests for properties in St. James City and Bokeelia. Other items on the agenda include the monthly Treasurer’s Report, approval of October meeting minutes and other community updates.
- When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7
Where: Pine Island United Methodist Church, 5701 Pine Island Road, Bokeelia, FL 33922
Online: We also livestream meetings to our Facebook page
Public Information Sessions
- Proposal 1: Upper Captiva Carriage Club LLC
- Address: 9101 Stringfellow Road, St. James City, located on the northwest corner of Stringfellow Road and Maria Drive, near the commercial marina.
- Project Summary: The developers are seeking to rezone 3.69 acres from agricultural (AG-2) to commercial planned development (CPD). Their goal is to have up to 5,000 feet of commercial building space, along with up to 40 low-turnover, 40-foot-deep parking spaces for vehicles, boats and trailers that are using the Pine Island Commercial Marina ramp during public use hours from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. It will also include up 75 spaces for short and long-term parking to serve employees and customers of the Upper Captiva Carriage Club, as well as vehicle storage for people who live off island. The site will provide homeowners on and off the Upper Captiva Island private parking and boat storage an Island shuttle to the Lee County-owned Pine Island Commercial Marina, and logistics transfer for goods and services through the marina.
- Proposal 2: Viet Famisland Inc.
- Address: 11010 Stringfellow Road; the property is on the east side of Stringfellow, south of Judith Road and north of Sweeney’s SOS at Birdsong Lane
- Project Summary: The developers are requesting to plat a 19.52-acre parcel for a mixed-use development of commercial and single-family lots. It will include two commercial outparcels along Stringfellow Road with 36 single-family lots to the east. The project has already been submitted into Lee County for a Plat and Development Order review to approve the request.
How You Can Get Involved
Attend the Public Information Session — You Don’t Need to be a GPICA Member
Under the Pine Island Plan, developers seeking zoning changes or who wish to develop multi-family or commercial developments are required to host a public information session on Pine Island to explain their plans to residents. During this meeting, residents may also ask questions about the development.
- During meetings hosted by the GPICA, the GPICA Board conducts a straw poll to determine how many GPICA members support/oppose the plans.
- The GPICA writes a summary of the meeting, including main concerns and issues, and transmits that to the Lee County Community Development Department.
- The vote taken at the GPICA meeting is non-binding.
Send a Letter to Lee County Development Staff
Members of the public may email the Department of Community Development staff prior to a hearing before the Lee County Hearing Examiner. Written comments may also be provided to staff to enter into the record at hearing if you are unable to attend.
- Click here for Community Development, including a link to the staff directory
Address Concerns to the Lee County Hearing Examiner
After the public information session, once the Lee County staff has determined a proposal sufficient, hearings on proposals are set before the Lee County Hearing Examiner. At this time, residents who oppose or support a development may address their concerns during the hearing.
- Meetings are typically scheduled for 9 a.m. every Thursday, 1500 Monroe Street, Fort Myers
- Click here to view the Hearing Examiner calendar to see what’s on the agenda
Address Concerns to Lee County Commissioners During the Final Zoning Hearing
In Lee County, the entire board of the Lee County Commission acts as the zoning board and has the final say on rezonings. They are the final stop in the approval process.
- However, in order to address commissioners, you MUST have first spoken before the Hearing Examiner. If you haven’t attended a hearing on a specific zoning issue and spoken, you will not be allowed to voice your concerns about the zoning issue in question before the Commission.
- It’s important to note that the public MAY NOT make ex parté comments to Lee County Commissioners on zoning matters while the zoning matter is undergoing staff review or is before the Hearing Examiner.
Other Community News
Chiquita Lock Lawsuit Update
In May, GPICA members voted to financially support a petition challenging Cape Coral’s permit to remove the Chiquita Lock. The challenge is being led by lawyers John Thomas and Mike Hannon, President of the Matlacha Civic Association (the petitioners in the case are private citizens). Cape Coral was contending that the petition challenging the lock removal was not filed in a timely matter. After hearings in August and September, the judge ruled that the petition was timely and has allowed the issue to move forward. The next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29 in Fort Myers. A hearing time has not yet been set.
GPICA Contributions, as of October 2023:
- Original GPICA Pledge: $2,500, plus dollar-for-dollar matching for contributions made by our members.
- Donations from Members: $2,725
- Paid to date: $2,500
- Total remaining in Chiquita Lock fund: $5,450
- You can still make a donation to the fund. Click here now.
Additional information: Calusa Waterkeeper and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Association were both initially petitioners in the lawsuit but later decided to drop out for fear of being held financially responsible for attorney’s fees, should the case be decided in the Cape’s favor.
Commercial Marina Reopens to Recreational Boaters
The Pine Island Commercial Marina, 6001 Maria Drive, St. James City, is scheduled to reopen for recreational boaters beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11. The public boat ramp at the marina has been closed since July 2022 for dredging, seawall replacement and parking improvements, with work delayed due to Hurricane Ian damage.
- Ramp Hours: The boat ramp is open to the public on weekends and on Lee County-recognized holidays. Daily parking fee is $10 and the Lee County Annual parking sticker is accepted.
- Please note that due to the improvements, the parking lot configuration has changed and boaters are reminded to follow all posted signage. Staff will be on-site to assist and answer questions.
Boaters seeking other nearby county ramps can go to Matlacha Park, 4577 Pine Island Road N.W., or Lavender’s Landing, 7290 Barrancas Ave. N.W., Bokeelia, seven days a week.
Matlacha Fishing Pier Update
The Lee County Commission has awarded a contract for the rebuilding of the Matlacha Community Park fishing pier, which was damaged in Hurricane Ian. The pier, built more than 50 years ago and rebuilt in 2020, is a popular spot for tourists and anglers.
- The contractor, Infinite Construction LLC, will remove and replace the deck and railings, benches, lighting, fish-cleaning stations and waste cans. The work is expected to be completed by May 1, 2024. The short repair timeframe is due to the fact that the project does not involve the pier’s underlying structure.
- The $388,219 project is being paid for through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund.