BONITA SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL BLOG: Bonita receives 20 acres of green space

UPDATED: 7:22 p.m.

Though one Bonita Springs City Council member proposed tabling a controversial development plan, its owners will be heard.

James and Karysia Demarest's approximately one-acre plot on Bonita Beach Road west of Interstate 75 is zoned agricultural, but they are petitioning for a change that would allow for a commercial and retail development.

Residents in the adjacent neighborhood, Brookside Estates, have united against the project and Councilman Bill Lonkart, in whose district the property is located, agrees. He proposed the petition not be moved to the second hearing, where the property owners present their case and the public can express its opinions as well.

“If we allow spot zoning like this to occur ... we are doing a disjustice to these people and it's wrong,” Lonkart said.

Mayor Ben Nelson said his proposal to kill the project without a hearing was injustice.

“This is tantamount to denying someone their day in court,” he said. “It's a rough analogy but that's why we have this process.”

Councilman Richard Ferreira said he understood Lonkart's feelings on the matter but a second hearing was necessary.

“Everybody is entitled to a hearing even if we strongly disagree,” he said.

Lonkart withdrew the motion to hold the hearing back and the council set a date and time for the second hearing on Sept. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

While no public comment was allowed at this meeting, dozens of residents attended.

Sandra Lockey, who lives on Oak Lane, said she came anyway just to see what happened.

“I oppose commercial development in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “It's a degradation of a very fine community.”

Lockey said the 5:30 p.m. meeting time will allow more people the opportunity to come.

While the meeting is actually set for the morning, council agreed to set it later to allow for community members attendance after work hours.

UPDATED: 7:17 p.m.

Bonita Springs City Council agreed tonight that it could use its government access channel BTV 98 for ballot issues forums.

The city had been concerned a state statute could make such forums illegal.

“Apparently others are doing it. It's subject to challenge,” Councilman Richard Ferreira said. ... “I think it's a great way to get the issues out.”

The League of Women Voters will host a forum for Naples.

The forums, like candidate debates, will be handled by the Daily News or the Fort Myers News-Press should they wish to host them.

UPDATED: 6:35 p.m.

Bonita Springs City Council agreed it could use its government access channel BTV 98 for ballot issues forums.

The city had been concerned a state statute could make such forums illegal.

“Apparently others are doing it. It's subject to challenge,” Councilman Richard Ferreira said. ... “I think it's a great way to get the issues out.”

The League of Women Voters will host a forum for Naples.

The forums, like candidate debates, will be handled by the Daily News or the Fort Myers News-Press should they wish to host them.

UPDATED: 6:25 p.m.

A little clarification, please.

The presentations section of City Council meetings will be reserved for people sponsored by council members. A citizen who wishes to speak but is not sponsored can still speak in the three, four-minute public comment periods throughout the meeting.

The clarification was triggered by Alberto Bailleres, a Bonita Springs resident, who requested to make five, 10-minute presentations to the council. He gave two of the presentations but Bailleres did not attend tonight.

Council members agreed the presentations section had been intended for use by individuals or professional groups providing guidance to the council, such as when the Florida Department of Transportation presented criteria by which it approved sound abatement walls along the highway in Bonita Springs.

UPDATED: 6:05 p.m.

Bonita Springs will own another 20 acres of green space off of Kent Road next to the city's Nature Place. The city received a gift from the South Florida Water Management District and the land must be used for education uses or passive recreational uses.

City Council agreed unanimously to accept ownership tonight.

Cullum Hasty, who lives on Kent Road and is active in environmental issues, said the property in the early 1990s had been sought for development.

“It's safe forever now,” Hasty said.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features