Estero battles Bonita on Raptor towers

We are waiting to hear the outcome of today’s meeting of the Village of Estero!

Last week the News-Press published the following article re: WCI’s desire to change the Bonita Springs Comprehensive Plan (and zoning) to build 4 20-story condo high-rise towers at Raptor Bay.

The Comprehensive Plan for Bonita Springs has a maximum building height of 75 feet and 20 story towers (over parking) with an estimated height of 220-240 feet tall — obviously  a huge change in the overall plan for Bonita.

click here for Press Article from last week

Annexation Results from the ECCL

 

 
Bonita Springs’ Annexation Referendum Results
 
 

We are happy the vast majority of the residents of Pelican Landing and The Colony appreciate the many advantages that the Village of Estero offers to them when they voted to reject annexation by the City of Bonita Springs in order to be able to participate in the Estero incorporation referendum this fall.   We are confident that they will be happy with this decision as the community continues to grow and prosper.

We plan to keep everyone involved and informed about the Estero Incorporation process. 

The ECCL will be conducting new Incorporation Workshops for all residents, presenting detailed information about the economic feasibility of a Village of Estero, the form of government, and the impact of future growth, so that residents may make an informed choice in November 2014.    

We also intend to continue working closely with the City of Bonita Springs on issues of importance to the region, such as the South Lee County Hospital and the Bonita Springs Estero Economic Development Committee.

We also want to thank those residents in The Colony and Pelican Landing who reached out to their neighbors in an effort to inform them of the benefits of a Village of Estero.  They include: Mike Kelly, Jack Polsenberg, Ben Korbly, Howard & Nancy Cohen, Dave Clifford, Lee Denson, Vicki Olson, Dick St. Jean, Bill Ribble, Bob Luttrell, Wayne Godsey, Rick Anderson, Anne Cramer, Jack Lienesch and Jack Miciak.    

Nick Batos

ECCL Chairman

For information about the ECCL and the incorporation referendum, go to www.EsteroToday.com.

Vote “NO” on Annexation

There are many reasons to vote against annexation.  Here are a few:

  • It doesn’t pass the smell test.  Why has Bonita Springs paid WCI $1.2 million already and another $500,000 upon a successful annexation vote, as the Mayor said among “other considerations” (i.e. backroom deals on future development?)?  While these payments are in the form of credits against future impact fees, they are as good as cash to an active developer such as WCI, and according to news reports these credits are transferable.  The Mayor recently downplayed these payments to WCI as merely being impact fees, but impact fees are paid by a developer, not to a developer!
  • Bonita is also taking over WCI liabilities (responsibilities for maintaining the two older roads that Bonita “bought” from WCI) and paying the $1.7 million for the privilege.  This seems like reverse logic.
  • Bonita harps on the benefits of having one community, a greater voice in Bonita affairs, avoiding split neighborhoods, etc.  These arguments are wholly made up by Bonita.  There is really no significant impact, and probably a benefit in having Pelican Landing split into, and being able to seek assistance from, two cities, not just one.  In fact there has been no real impact in 14 years and most residents weren’t even aware of this “issue” until this annexation move by Bonita Springs arose.
  • There is no real adverse tax consequence and perhaps a minor tax benefit to becoming part of a future Village of Estero, despite all the junk mail emanating from Bonita.  When Bonita became a city it used the  argument: that a city government would be more efficient than county government. But in addition to the WCI payment, Bonita has spent a fortune on mailers and other expenses in support of annexation.  And the Mayor claims to run an efficient administration, spending the taxpayers’ money wisely?
  • PLCA, WCI and Bonita Springs are in an alliance, leaving the little guys – the taxpayers – to fend for themselves.  Does anyone think that Bonita will be our friend if our board oversteps its power, whether in policing Pelican Landing, or otherwise, or if WCI files for new development approvals or revisions of existing agreements? The taxpayers need a counterbalance to the “Triple Alliance” of Bonita, PLCA and WCI.  Hopefully Estero can help perform that function.
  • The PLCA Board of Directors has met at least twice (once last year to “authorize” the annexation vote and once this year to authorize its consent to the annexation), without any notice or meeting of the members, to take action promoting annexation.  Why is it promoting annexation so aggressively?  Fear of oversight by an incorporated Estero?
  • In addition to overpaying WCI for the decaying marina (taking title to a cash-draining WCI liability and paying $700,000 for the privilege), PLCA consented to the transfer of WCI development rights that WCI wasn’t ever going to use in the Colony to WCI property north of Corkscrew.  WCI has already voluntarily joined its 130 acres referred to as “conservation lands” to Bonita, but WCI has hundreds of acres that it can still develop, not to mention seeking new approvals on the 130 acres.  Will WCI be able to join all the other acreage to Bonita if the annexation fails?  Estero is the only hope for some citizen control over future WCI development.

Has Bonita asked the non-registered voters for consent to annexation?

Does anyone know if the City of Bonita Springs has asked any of the non-registered voters (residential property owners) in the proposed “red box” annexation area for their to consent to the annexation?  Florida Law seems to require that a certain percentage of these non-voting owners consent before this can go to referendum yet there has been no indication of any residential property owners receiving such a request from the City of Bonita Springs. Has anyone out there received such a request?

Estero will have an incorporation referendum Nov 4 2014

The Lee County Legislative Delegation today approved Rep. Ray Rodrigues’ local bill for an Estero incorporation referendum on the November 4, 2014, ballot.

We presented the Delegation with petitions signed by 10,238 Estero residents indicating their wish to have an incorporation referendum on the ballot next year.

We wish to thank all of you who helped make this successful outcome possible. You are to be congratulated for one of the largest community outreaches the Delegation has ever experienced.

Nick Batos Chairman              John Goodrich Vice Chairman

For further Information regarding the incorporation of Estero and contribute to the cause, to go ECCL’s website:  www.esterofl.org

Annexation glitch – not enough registered voters?

It seems there may be a technical/legal problem with the annexation referendum. More than 50% of the property owners in that area do not appear to be registered voters. As a result there must be a separate vote requiring 50% of the property owners to authorize a referendum. This makes sense since, without a requirement such as this, the majority would be disenfranchised with respect to the annexation of their property.

Estero Incorporation Financially Feasible!

The ECCL is pleased to announce that the recently completed Feasibility Study shows incorporation would benefit Estero residents.

The Estero Incorporation Feasibility Study clearly shows that it is financially feasible for Estero to become a municipality.

The BJM Consulting, Inc., report forecasts large surpluses for each of the first five years of the Village’s operations assuming no change in the present property tax rate.  Average annual revenues for the first five years are forecast to equal $9 million while total annual expenses would be about $5.7 million, for an average annual surplus of $3.3 million.

The primary reason for the annual surpluses is Estero’s large property tax base, over $5 billion that is the result of the many large commercial properties and upscale communities.  Annual average property tax revenue for the 2016-19 periods is forecast to be $4.3 million, or 47% of total Village revenue.

Estero has long been a donor community, sharing its resources with the other unincorporated Lee County communities.  Incorporation will permit Estero’s tax dollars to be spent in the Estero community.

A fact sheet and the complete study is available on our web site at http://esterofl.org/

Nick Batos, ECCL Chairman