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Island residents await answers to annexation resolution

By Staff | Apr 28, 2017

The Matlacha Pine Island Fire Control District is awaiting a response from the city of Cape Coral on its proposed settlement of an annexation challenge.

About a dozen Pine Island residents attended a Fire Commission meeting Wednesday to discuss the agreement submitted last month that district officials hope will keep the dispute out of mediation.

“Regarding annexation, if somebody wants to voluntarily annex to Cape Coral then the law allows them to annex,” MPIFCD attorney Robert Pritt said. “What we’re trying to accomplish is to discourage Cape Coral from further annexations here. But, if Pine Island was to incorporate that would put a stop to any further annexations of Cape Coral because they can not annex property from an incorporated city.”

Cape Coral has 45 days from the time it received the agreement to reply. That deadline is May 16.

If the city rejects the agreement, the next step would be mediation.

“It’s our goal to avoid mediation and come to an agreement with Cape Coral,” Pritt said.

The proposed inter-local agreement is in response to a dispute with the city of Cape Coral’s annexation of six city-owned lots on Matlacha Island. The parcel is made up of six individual lots that the city purchased in 2012 as part of a 491-parcel package. The parcels the Cape annexed currently serve as a parking lot for the boat launch ramp at D & D Bait & Tackle.

The proposed agreement presented to Cape Coral last month is intended to discourage further annexations by the city.

The agreement proposes:

The City agrees to respect the sovereignty of the District

The City will provide notification to the District of any proposed annexation of properties within the boundaries of the District

The City will not annex property owned by it or under contract for purchase by it that is within the boundaries of the District for the next 98 years.

The City will work with the District’s appropriate personnel toward improvement and coordination of fire control/protection and first responder/emergency services on an ongoing basis.

This will include meeting at least quarterly to discuss means and methods of providing services of mutual benefit.

The City will pay to the District a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) representing the amount of ad valorem that would have been paid to the District by a private commercial entity

The City will retain the existing property development regulations and uses for a period of 98

The City will notify and invite District input on rezoning or other land use proposals

The City shall ensure any future rezoning of the subject properties shall not adversely impact vehicle traffic flow

The City will allow unrestricted access to water utilities

The city acknowledged it has received the proposed agreement.

“Our City Attorney’s Office is in receipt of the proposed interlocal agreement submitted by Matlacha/Pine Island Fire District,” city spokesperson Connie Barron said in response to an e-mail query. “We will be reviewing the proposed agreement and determining how to proceed.”