County Staff Unprepared for Bay Harbour

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This week the Lee County Local Planning Agency (LPA) recommended to the Lee County Board of Supervisors to not allow a change in “Goal 12 San Carlos Island” portion of the Future Land Use part of Lee Plan. Lee Plan is a detailed 400+ page regarding what we want Lee County to be. It is not new. Except for situations like Bay Harbour attempting to have it changed, it’s not a contentious document. We as County residents wanted a plan for the future. We drafted and agreed to this Plan. We follow the Plan.

The Bay Harbour proposal for San Carlos Island conforms to very little of the Plan. But that’s not the reason for this letter. The reason is to point out how helpless County Staff was in facilitating Bay Harbour’s request to change the plan. At the LPA meeting County Staff spoke first. In essence they said that they could see no reason for the LPA to not recommend changing the Plan. Given the Plan, that was an incredible position to take.

Members of the LPA asked County Staff to explain why they felt this way and got little or response at all. Specifically they were asked to respond to Goal 12, which the Bay Harbour proposal turns on. Unable to locate Goal 12, one LPA member finally gave them the page number. It looked like County Staff was looking at it for the first time.

The request by Bay Harbour should have never reached the LPA. It should have been dismissed by County Staff. But it wasn’t. The LPA’s recommendation will now proceed to the County Board, which can overrule the LPA’s decision and subvert The Lee Plan’s Goal 12 for San Carlos Island. All because of poorly trained, poorly prepared County Staff. The County Board shouldn’t overrule the LPA. Bay Harbour is a terrible proposal.

Jeff Butzer

Fort Myers Beach