To the editor:
Our county has existing guidelines on property development that all developers follow and a Future Land Use Map that protects our rural communities from overdevelopment. Recently, the GreenPointe Communities, LLC asked the county to grant them a special expedited review so they may proceed with plans to add an additional 1,000 dwellings to their property in Alva. The BOCC voted "Yes." Mann and Manning voted against the measure.
In 2013 the company owning the property of River Hall in Alva asked the county to change the Future Land Use Map so they could build and urbanize rural Alva/Fort Myers Shores. Such a change will possibly remove 27 percent of rural land from this community. Earlier this past year, BOCC representatives John Manning and Frank Mann voted against the additional development. A 2-2 vote at the Commission meant their request was effectively denied.
Alva resident Paul Asfour expressed concern about the project repeatedly. A large number of residents submitted letters opposing the plan and signed petitions against it. One resident submitted photos of wildlife (including Florida sandhill cranes, of which only 5,000 remain today due to habitat destruction, etc.) present in the area that would be reduced if further development occurs. If the company is allowed to change our Future Land Use Map it will be a crack in the dam and hurt our community's ability to promote sustainable community planning.
April 1 the BOCC voted on whether to allow the company to bring the amendment application back through the process in an expedited way. It is vital that the public have the same opportunity to review and comment on these types of requests as in the normal amendment procedure.
As a candidate for County Commission I see how important it is to have smart growth and reduce sprawl. We can both have development, protect our environment and maintain the beauty of our county by encouraging developers to follow existing county guidelines.