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Annexing Paradise Isle into Cape?

By Staff | Jul 14, 2020

The Paradise Isle development project in North Fort Myers promises to be a game changer.

And some residents are looking ahead to make sure the community gets full benefit of the billion-dollar waterfront project by making sure it retains its North Fort Myers address.

A petition on Change.org is seeking at least 100 signatures asking to keep the 271-acre project in North Fort Myers and not have it voluntarily annexed into neighboring Cape Coral, the city line against which the project abuts.

Christy Lee-Iwanow, a board member for the North Fort Myers Civic Association, said she put the petition together to help make the organization’s petition known.

“Paradise Isles sits on the Cape Coral city line (on Southwest E 24th Street), the city has the right to do a voluntary annexation. That is something that North Fort Myers and the community don’t want to happen,” Iwanow said. “I did the petition for people to stand up and let everyone know we want this.”

Iwanow said she would like to get the public’s support, which is what the petition is about. So far, they have gotten more than half of the 100 signatures sought.

While there are some in the community who believe this will negatively impact their rural way of life, it also will refurbish an old golf course and provide amenities the community can enjoy, such as go out on a Friday night, Iwanow said.

City of Cape Coral spokesperson Maureen Buice said in an e-mail that the planning division with the city of Cape Coral has not received any request for annexation from the property owners nor has annexation been discussed.

Over the years, North Fort Myers has seen parcels of the community in unincorporated Lee County become part of Cape Coral via voluntary, or owner-requested, annexation. Home Depot and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, behind the Merchants Crossing Shopping Center, are within the city limits.

“They said the North Fort Myers Postal Service couldn’t keep up with their mail, which is why it was annexed. Yet, they still use our North Fort Myers Fire Department and other services,” Iwanow said.

The Paradise Isles date with the hearing examiner (which has been postponed multiple times) is now July 29-31, with public comment set to start on Thursday, July 30, at 1 p.m., at the Lee County Courthouse in Commissioner’s Chambers.

COVID-19 guidelines will be in effect regarding masks and social distancing. Only those who speak at the HEX hearing can speak later at the Lee County Board of County Commissioners meeting, which has final governmental say on project approval.

As the HEX hearing is a request for a zoning change for county consideration, that should mean an annexation is not planned at this tie, Buice said.

Paradise Isle is being planned as a mixed-use resort along the Caloosahatchee. The 271-acre project is expected to include 543 luxury hotel rooms, two 20-story residential towers overlooking the river, a refurbished 18-hole golf course, two 12-story towers adjacent to the golf course, three story townhouses, a marina with 200 wet slips and 200 dry boat storage slips, 600 multi-family homes, a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse, a riverfront boardwalk, open space, walking paths and more.

More information on Paradise Isle may be found at: paradise-isle.com/home/.