Posted by Mark Washburn on Friday, August 25, 2017 at 10:28:34 AM By Mark Washburn / August 25, 2017 Comment
A new city could soon join Lee County, this as Pine Island eyes incorporation. In an effort to prevent Cape Coral from taking the lead, the local civic association recently sent out sample ballots, finding that about 80-percent of Pine Island residents want to be incorporated. It’s an idea that’s been floating around for years, but boosted into gear just last year when neighboring Cape Coral revealed it planned on annexing a number of acres on Pine Island Road. That led some area residents to sue Cape Coral. Just the prospect of annexation alone, though, seemed to put things into motion, with the association voting for an in-depth study on what it would take to become a city or municipality in the future. A past preliminary study credited to the former mayor and a consultant found that with incorporation, fire department service in the area could be basically maintained without a tax increase. The consultant in that plan outlined the need for five city employees tied to Pine Island, leaving a number of the services still to Lee County or to have them contracted out to private providers. As for this latest incorporation plan, supporters seem to be on track to making a change. It’s now up to the association to come up with a charter and figure out how to govern the new city with some community input. The plan then goes on to the local and state level for approval before coming up for a formal vote. Florida’s largest island, Pine Island sits just to the west of Cape Coral. With much of its history tied to commercial fishing, mangroves surround the island, with a trio of aquatic preserves. It’s become a popular attraction for its mostly rural identity, as well as boating and fishing. The island is also mostly zoned for agriculture and is known as the home of the Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge
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