Matlacha official: Negotiations with city possible
The Matlacha Civic Association will still consider negotiations with the city of Cape Coral if annexation is guaranteed not to happen.
The Cape Coral City Council voted 5-2 to reject the annexation last week. With the vote, the city will either have to work under the county’s rules on how to develop the property, or sell the land, leaving the residents of Matlacha dealing with a private developer.
“If Cape Coral decides they want to negotiate, we would certainly give that consideration,” Matlacha Civic Association President Karl Deigert said if there is concrete guarantee that annexation would no longer occur.
He said they tried to negotiate with Cape Coral as early as April 2018 with letters to every council member and the mayor stating that they supported the development plans.
The letter, dated April 26, 2018, stated that the Matlacha Civic Association supported “the option to build a new boat ramp with a restaurant and other amenities” at the D & D Boat Ramp property.
“We supported that. In exchange we wanted 100 percent guarantee that they would no longer seek annexation to the west . . . create an easement between their property and Miceli’s Restaurant,” he said, adding that when that was not granted, they left the table.
“Our only goal the entire time is to prevent further annexation to the west and creeping into Matlacha,” he said. “We thought that plan to beautify the property would be beneficial with the entire county. They never invited us back to the table.
“They did not want to negotiate,” Deigert said.
The Cape Coral city manager recently asked that the MCA come back to the table.
Looking forward, he said they hope if the city of Cape Coral sells the property that the new owner will incorporate D & D Bait and Tackle. He said the owners of the bait shop were leasing a business space on foreclosed property, so their future was uncertain for a long time.
“If Cape Coral had not bought that property, someone else would have bought that property and displaced them several years ago. Hopefully, it will work out for them,” Deigert said.
The property was purchased by Cape Coral in April 2012 as part of a 652-acre, $13 million land deal that included the Seven Islands area.
Deigert said local fishermen have been going in the family-owned bait shop for 20 years.
“We would love for them to stay on the island,” he said.