After much strife over developments in the DRGR- Density Reduction Groundwater Resource-, the issue of transportation initiated the meeting’s open table discussion.
In April, the number one priority for the community was transportation. The Needs Assessment, just completed by the ECCL and ECCF, again shows that to be the main priority for the community. The Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) met the morning of the ECCL meeting. Don Eslick, Interim Chairman and Director Emeritus, reported to the meeting attendees, “I want to talk about the 2040 plan and how planning fits into solving the transportation problems. The planning process which is implemented by the MPO is guided by federal law. It’s been around quite some time. But it is far more important from the negative perspective than it is from the positive perspective. If you can get something out of the long range transportation plan, it can’t be built. One of the three things we’ve been working on in the 2040 plan was exclusion, that is for CR 951. This morning at the MPO meeting the board adopted a resolution excluding the segment of 951 between Corkscrew and Alico from the needs part in the 2040 plan. If a project is not in the needs part of that plan it can’t be built and so that segment of 951 will be excluded for development, unless that plan gets amended. And for Grandezza that’s got to be pretty consoling, I would think.” Eslick’s announcement was followed by applause.
Representative Nicole Johnson from Conservation 2020 presented the issues arising with the search for a land parcel on which to develop a Bonita Springs high school. The 2020 programs finds land in the Lee County area for conservation and restoration. The Bonita Springs City Council is to continue their site search on land of their eastern rim, after weeks of disagreement about the potential high school site.
“The parcel that they are specifically thinking about is called the Pine Lake Reserve, down in the Bonita DRGR. But why this is an Estero, and really a Lee County issue, is that allowing for these types of uses to even be contemplated on Conservation 2020 parcels is a complete abuse and misuse of that program. 2020 is not a land bank. It is a program that very carefully selects parcels for their conservation value and acquires those parcels for protections, restoration, passive conservation and recreational uses, and the idea that these parcels could potentially be available for schools, for fire stations, for whatever need someone may come up with, is really a breach of public trust and really detrimental to the program. So the conservancy is hoping everyone is going to send a strong message to the Bonita City Council.”
The motion to send the message to the Council that the ECCL strongly supported the community’s desire for a high school, but agreed 2020 land was not the solution, passed unanimously. “We don’t like to get involved and try to tell Bonita what to do, and I don’t think we should,” said Eslick.
The meeting concluded with the introduction of the ECCL’s new Public Relations Coordinator, Dayna Harpster, who will be working with the ECCL to better communicate their efforts to the community.