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Mann addresses local growth management group

By Staff | Jan 18, 2010

Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann discussed his vision of the county in 2030 during a meeting of the Responsible Growth Management Coalition on Monday night.
The Fort Myers-based coalition supports growth management strategies that advocate sustainable development and minimize impact to the environment. Mann said he wanted to make sure Lee County doesn’t transform into an overdeveloped county like Dade or Broward by 2030.
“I can’t look ahead without looking back at this place I was born 68 years ago,” he said. “There were about 25,000 people in Lee County, when my mother got here there were probably 5,000 people.”
According to U.S. Census Data, there were 593,136 people living in the county in 2008. Mann said it’s up to environmentalists and organizations such as the RGMC to protect the region and make sure future generations can enjoy nature the way it is now.
“We owe it to them to leave it in as good a condition as we can,” he said.
He said that before the bubble burst, this region was a prime example of a phenomenal growth story, an economy where any business succeeded, and most people moved to the area to enjoy Florida’s natural environment.
“They came here because the weather, climate, beaches and water,” he said.
Programs like the state’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program and the local 20/20 program have saved hundreds of thousands of acres including the Lover’s Key State Park and the island of Cayo Costa.
With current home density the same, Mann said the county will be home to 1.4 million people in 2030, one reason he said he won’t support any changes to the county’s comprehensive plan that increases density from what it is today.
He also highlighted that there are already 300,000 single-family home sites approved in Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral available for people who move to the area in the next decade.