Battle Brewing Over Development on Pine Island

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pine island sign

pine island sign

A battle is brewing between local government officials, developers, landowners and preservationists over the direction of Pine Island. A proposal put on the table, called the Pine Island Plan, would allow large-scale property owners to sue local government for lost income if there is restrictions put in place preventing them from selling to developers. The Pine Island Plan restricts future development. The fight between private property rights versus preservation might be decided by October, after public hearings by Lee County’s Commissioners. The question is, has tight restrictions by local government to protect Pine Island reduced the value of properties?

Pine Island—west of Cape Coral—is the biggest island in Florida located on the Gulf of Mexico. The Intracoastal Waterway passes through Pine Island South. Matlacha Pass runs between Pine Island and the mainland. Pine Island doesn’t have any large beaches, and is made from coral rock. In fact, Pine Island is surrounded by mangroves and includes three aquatic preserves, and is beloved for its fishing and boating. Pine Island Road is the only road that leads to the mainland. The Randall Research Center is located near several shell mounds, which are the remains of a Calusa Indian village. The Center is dedicated to learning about the archaeology of Southwest Florida and the culture of the Calusa people. The island stretches 17 miles, and is inhabited by 7,000 residents. The new plan, if approved, would change the density requirements of Pine Island from one unit per 17 acres to one unit per 2.7 acres and require any development to preserve at least half of its land.

The preservationists, led by the Greater Pine Island Civic Association, would impose limits on height of buildings up to 38 feet; allow commercial fishing equipment to be kept at home; mandate that commercial buildings would have to meet old Florida design, and more. Pine Island residents worry that more development would bring more traffic to the island. The only access to and from the island by car is a two-lane road over a two-lane bridge through Matlacha. Currently, there are about 6,300 residences on Pine Island, including single-family, multi-family, hotel and motel rooms, and other housing options. However, there are approximately 6,00 platted sites that could legally translate into house building permits. Residents support the plan that restricts future development. They say they want to live in a place that’s not congested, and with a good island lifestyle. Residents don’t want high-rises and big developments in their future.

Here is a resource to explore Pine Island real estate opportunities.

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