Smart Growth director fields questions about possible Matlacha annexation by city of Cape Coral
Rumors have circulated over the years about Cape Coral’s supposed interest in annexing Matlacha and possibly all of Pine Island.
Earlier this year, during a meeting of the Cape Coral City Council, members discussed this very topic and elected to explore the possibility of annexing Matlacha Isles and Matlacha.
To gain a clearer picture of the Cape’s intentions, Bill Stoelker, president of the Matlacha Civic Association, invited Lee County Smart Growth Director Wayne Daltry to be the guest speaker during the association meeting earlier this week.
“While this is still in the talking stages, a recent map of Cape Coral indicates not only that Matlacha Cape Royal and Matlacha Isles is part of Cape Coral, but North Fort Myers as well,” Daltry said. While annexation would have to come about by a ballot vote of the residents, you may still want to consider starting a signature campaign stating that you (Cape Coral) will not annex us, but you didn’t hear that from me.”
During the meeting, Stoelker read a note he had received from County Commissioner Bob Janes on the subject of the new Cape Coral maps.
“Lee County does not include Matlacha, Matlacha Isles and Pine Island in the map to the city of Cape Coral. It is my understanding that the city council added Matlacha Isles and Cape Royal to their map at their meeting last week,” Janes wrote. “Although I have not received their official response with a copy of their amended map, I can assure you that Commissioner Janes and his colleagues on the Lee County Commissioners will not allow the city of Cape Coral to annex Matlacha Isles, Matlacha or Pine Island and they will have a huge fight on their hands if they even try.”
According to Daltry, Cape Coral cannot annex any area as long as the residents object.
“The law does not allow for annexation by involuntary consent,” he said. “The law is on the side of the unincorporated areas of the county and annexation would have to be placed on the ballot for a vote. Annexation could only take place if the people living in the proposed area to be annexed voted to allow it to happen.”
Among the more than 60 in members and guests in attendance of the meeting was Matlacha resident Leo Amos.
“I thought the people at the meeting were extremely well mannered and determined to make a difference in what the future of Greater Pine Island should look like versus the never-ending problems plagued by the city of Cape Coral that seems to end in the way of higher taxes, higher utility taxes and no provisions for meeting the three most important elements of providing potable water, sewer and water run-off at any reasonable cost,” said Amos. “The meeting lasted longer than usual and most importantly, more folks are getting actively involved in making sure that their communities remain as they are in Greater Pine Island.”
Matlacha Civic Association board member Linaya Yates-Lea said she was pleased with the turnout for the April meeting.
“It was nice to see that more than 60 people showed up for the meeting,” said Yates-Lea. “It’s obvious when the speaker is here to talk about an issue that would affect all of us, we turn out to let our voices be heard.”