CITY COUNCIL VOTES 4-1 TO DENY REZONING
We won the last battle…but the war wages on and fresh resources are urgently needed!
Last night, several hundred concerned citizens crowded into and around Bonita Springs City Hall. Dozens streamed from buses hired by the Residents for a Better Community, buses emblazoned with green banners and RBC members sporting green stickers and carrying signs of opposition. All were there to oppose WCI’s request to change the Comprehensive Plan and modify the zoning in Raptor Bay in order to build four 200-foot-high towers. The media was there with several TV crews capturing the action and a reporter tweeting the action as it happened.
After a long and vigorous stream of input from the CEO of WCI, WCI attorneys and expert witnesses, finally RBC leaders, our lawyer and an expert hired by RBC were able to make our case. The City Council voted 4-1 to deny the request for changes and sent the request back to the Zoning Board for further review. Mayor Ben Nelson was the sole dissenter. On our side were Council Members Peter Simmons, Mike Gibson, Bill Lonkart and our representative on the City Council, Steve McIntosh. Thank you all for your support! (Martin was absent and Slachta there by phone but with a daughter in the hospital in California did not make it to the vote)
If RBC were not there with the full and great support of hundreds of Pelican Landing residents and concerned neighbors and the incredible representation by RBC-hired attorney Ralf Brookes and DRI and Coastal High Hazard expert witness Dan Trescott, the game would be over and construction on these towers would be starting tomorrow.
So we won, right? Eh, not so fast. This is just the first hurdle. WCI stated that they would appeal the decision. They have a lot at stake and won’t let this stop them. They argue that the Annexation Agreement signed by Mayor Nelson in 2014 committed the City to rezone the land in exchange for WCI annexing the property into the City. It is estimated that WCI will be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their way. Count on it!
So what’s next?
First we need an urgent replenishment of our war chest. Attorneys and development experts, who RBC hired and who testified on our behalf, are very expensive. This could be a protracted fight so we need to plan, and fund, for the long haul.
Second, we need to grow the number of Pelican Landing and Colony residents who join RBC. You can help by forwarding the emails you receive to others, to give them a chance to subscribe and join our efforts. We have hundreds of subscribers now but there are thousands of residents.
Third, we need to keep the pressure up on the city zoning board to continue to support our position. And there will be hearings in February and March on the revisions to the Comprehensive Plan so we need a presence to assure that the Small Town Charm remains the focus of the Plan.
Next, we need to elect a mayor who is in support of our needs. Thankfully the two candidates, Steve McIntosh and Peter Simmons are with us on that.
Finally, we need to keep the pressure on the Pelican Landing Community Association Board, current and future, to push back on WCI’s suggested governance options on Turnover and develop a new board structure that serves the needs of the residents first and foremost. With a WCI-sympathetic PLCA president and board, we might see WCI building and annexing 1,000 more residences (doors) into the PLCA with access to our beach and to our amenities.
Watch for more information on our collective efforts and please do your best to at least contribute and enlist more members for our cause.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING MEDIA COVERAGE
Watch Video Clip: FOX-4 Video at Bonita Springs City Hall
Click to read & watch video: WinkNews Council Strikes down High Rises
Click to watch: NBC-2 Video and Article
Click to watch: NBC-2 News and Video
Click to read: Naples News piece
Click to read: News-Press Article
COMMENT TO MAYOR NELSON firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Ben Nelson voted in favor of WCI’s request to rezone Raptor Bay. An email expressing your disappointment to him would be helpful