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County Commission orders continuance on Gully Creek proposal

330-unit housing development planned for 66-acre property at Slater and Williams roads in North Fort Myers

April 27, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Residents who live near a proposed 330-unit housing development culled a big, if temporary, victory last week.

Citing concerns over traffic and flooding, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday ordered a continuance to May 16 on a zoning change request for the proposed 66-acre Gully Creek development between Slater and Williams roads.

"They had some questions they wanted us to provide more information on and we will be prepared to do so at the next meeting," said Ronald Inge, president of Inge and Associates, who represented the developers. "Many of the residents were concerned about the flooding. We cannot control what happens upstream to us."

Inge also said they would look at putting turn lanes in on Slater Road, which was another issue brought up by the commissioners.

Numerous residents spoke against the development during the public input part of the hearing. They cited traffic concerns on Slater Road, flooding caused by sheet flow from Charlotte County and destruction of the area's rural character.

David Foster, a lifelong resident, asked for a continuance, saying that not enough information had been presented in the earlier Hearing Examiner's meeting, which was the only information allowed to be presented to the BOCC.

The applicants argued that there has been significant suburban development nearby with Bayshore Elementary, soccer fields, and industrial park and mobile homes all within short distance.

They also said all traffic would not be discharged onto Slater, but onto Williams as well. They could also allow for the future expansion on Slater.

Commissioner Larry Kiker said it was difficult taking in all the concerns about flooding, especially in the aftermath of Irma and the other rain events.

"We get all the water that you send, so it matters to me what happens with flood controls. Lee County was a lake," said Kiker, whose district includes Fort Myers Beach. "When you choose to be first on the block, you choose to solve the problems for everybody. It's time to put on the brakes."

Rather than remand the case back to the hearing examiner, Commissioner John Manning motioned for a continuance, a motion with which Commissioner Frank Mann agreed.

"It will give the district commissioner a chance to participate. His input is critical to the case in what we're trying to accomplish," Mann said in reference to Brian Hamman, who was not at the meeting but in Washington.

Inge said he wasn't disappointed by the continuance and said he would make sure that the flooding issues are addressed.

"We believe we addressed the issues with the hearing examiner. We're prepared to go over the concerns with the commission," Inge said.

County commissioners were unable to comment on the case due to the continuance, per county ordinance prohibiting ex parte communications when a zoning or land use matter will be, or has been, referred to the Lee County Hearing Examiner, or for a final decision by the BOCC.



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