Good News — This week the Bonita Springs City Council took two positive actions on the Raptor Bay development issues.
The Council voted unanimously to authorize its special counsel to file a request for declaratory judgement questioning the validity of the annexation agreement between the City and the Raptor Bay property owner (WCI) on the basis of potential contract zoning. Also, the City extended the deadline for WCI’s application for Zoning Board approval to build four (4) 20-story towers to March, 2017.
To clarify, there are two annexation issues regarding the Raptor Bay Golf Course and WCI’s plans to build towers there. First, there is the legality of the 2014 agreement annexing a portion of Raptor Bay into the City. Second there is the issue of WCI building four 20-story towers on this land and annexing it into Pelican Landing – overburdening our Beach Park, tennis courts, privacy infrastructure, etc. The second annexation issue as well as opposition to dead-hand control by WCI is the essence of RBC’s pending request for a declaratory judgement. Our PLCA annexation issue is different than and separate from the City of Bonita Springs annexation issue.
Earlier this year the City of Bonita Springs hired a special land use attorney to review the Raptor Bay annexation agreement between the City and WCI and other associated issues. RBC has consistently argued that the annexation agreement requiring the city to make zoning changes to allow towers at Raptor Bay constitutes “contract zoning” which is illegal. In fact, it was Ralf Brooks (RBC’s land-use attorney) who made this point and other critical points during the February 3rd, 2016 City Council meeting. As a result, the City refused to amend the Comprehensive Plan to allow those towers and later hired independent council – otherwise those towers would be moving forward today.
As our Bonita Springs Councilwoman, Amy Quaremba, says – “Court results are uncertain but there is room for optimism at this time. What is certainly likely is that the time frame for hearing the current application [to build 4 20-story towers] will be delayed beyond the early Fall projection.”
RBC applauds these decisions by the City Council and is gratified that the matter will proceed to the courts for review and a final decision.
RBC’s pending suit continues to oppose WCI’s claimed arbitrary annexation and dead-hand control powers. WCI’s recent filing to add 254 acres to Pelican Landing’s Exhibit A (Step 1 of Annexation) must be stopped.