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Gully Creek proposal headed for BOCC

April 13, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Plans for a proposed 330-unit housing development in a rural area of North Fort Myers is set for a key vote next week.

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners will consider a rezoning request for the Gully Creek project on Wednesday, April 18, at 9:30 a.m. at the Zoning/Comp Plan BOCC hearing at the Old Courthouse. The request is to rezone 66 acres from Agricultural to Residential Planned Development, made by the land owners Daniel Light and Gully Creek LLC, David Johnson Trust for WS Trust and Slater Bend LLC, and LB Anderson & Co.

Nearby property owners, opponents of the project, are encouraging those of like mind to attend the hearing in hope of stopping the rezoning and so the project. The group has been meeting every Monday for the past several weeks at the Open Bible Church on Slater Road to solidify their arguments opposed, according to David Foster, who added they fear there may not be much hope of stopping the project.

"Gully Creek is inching further ahead. The meeting reads like there was nobody opposed even though we had 31 residents who stood up and spoke against it. The only ones who spoke for it were the ones who want to develop it," Foster said.

Gully Creek is a proposed for a site between Slater and Williams roads. Those in favor say it will provide quality housing in an area of the community that needs it.

Critics claim the development would result in more traffic on an already busy Slater Road, would result in more traffic crashes, increase the likelihood of flooding in the summer and destroy the rural feel of their neighborhood.

Foster said he has contacted an attorney. If the plan is approved after the first hearing, there are 10 days in which those opposed can file an appeal. The attorney added the group has to be cohesive and must present their arguments in accordance with legal parameters.

Among the issues residents are unhappy with is how a previous hearing was held.

At the Jan. 18 hearing before a hearing officer, residents there to voice their opposition claim that those who made their presentation in favor of the project essentially "ran out the clock" on many of those who wanted to speak but couldn't because they had to return to work.

The hearing ended up lasting two days, with 31 residents able to make their opposing views known.

They maintain the number may have been more except many didn't know the hearing had been extended.

Those who did not speak at that hearing are not allowed to speak at next week's BOCC meeting. Nor can a resident talk to a county commissioner about a zoning issue.

"It could have been 500 people showing up for the meeting the next day, but nobody knew about it. Therein lies the problem. - all things done with zoning in Lee County seems to be a secret until after the fact," Foster said.

Attempts to reach the project applicants were not successful.



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