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P.O.  Box 2022, Alva, FL 33920

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A Living Vision of Alva, Inc.   Notices, Minutes from meeting, January 20, 2005

Present and signed in: Rob Andrys, John Payne, Mary Ann Chodorewski, May Redi, Pat Coleman, Irene Orr, Jean Gaffney, Mildred Spidel, Pauline Bailey, Clarice A. Hull, Charles Lindsey, James D. English, Jr., Jack Brenzi, Lucille Shaw, Ruby Daniels, Frank Nusselhauf, Marian Nesselhauf, Donna Carter Daniels, Patty Walker, Colette Corwin, Lynn Fensterer, Tom Del Nay, Bette Larson, Carles Evans, Larry Lason, Gene Thornburg, Paul Bennett, Joe Root, Linda Root, Debra White.

NOTE: Next meeting of Alva, Inc., Thursday,  February 17, Oak Park Community Center, 7:30 p.m.
  Dues for 2005 are being received. $5, individual, $ 15, family, $20 supporter.  Please send your check made out to ALVA, Inc. to P. O. Box 2022, Alva, FL 33920.  Thank you. 

Minutes of November meeting (No meeting in December, Holiday tree lighting and picnic) were approved.

Treasurer's report. Lynn Fensterer thanked Donna and her committee for the Yard Sale (see below).  Dues year begins now; please join.
Motion to approve contract with Robert Powers Accountants for tax and other accounting services: $500.  Motion approved.
Officers' year ends May 30th.  Lynn urged others to step forward and volunteer to serve.

Parks and Trails Committee: Lee Planning Commission to meet February 7 and Alva will be represented.  Some of our recommendations are connecting bike and pedestrian paths to connect Alva schools to the parks as well as connections between parks.  Sidewalks are needed throughout the community, especially on Pearl Street.  Help is needed to help promote family involvement in and usage of the parks.

Civic Concerns: Sarah Gillim represented Alva at a hearing on the rezoning application for property on Highway 80 near Lippincott.  Request is the change all of that property (now only the front portion) to "Neighborhood Commercial" designation.  This would allow more, but better, commercial development of the area.  Residents of River Oaks oppose because primary access to any business on that property would likely be through their residential sub-division.  A letter written by Rob Andrys, Alva president, was read at the hearing by Sarah Gillim.  SEE TEXT AT THE END OF THE MINUTES.  Alva, Inc. requests that high standards be set for landscaping and any commercial development along the highway 80 corridor.  Such an approach will set a precedent for better commercial development.  This is essential to prevent strip development with poor architectural results.

Rob Andrys declared that it is essential to complete a plan for the highway 80 corridor completed before September 1, 2005 to upgrade commercial development standards (along Palm Beach Blvd and Joel) in our area to at least match the standards being developed on each side of Alva by other planning entities.  Land planning firms will be contacted to submit proposals to our group in order to help create the plan.  This will be a major agenda item at our February meeting.
It is hoped that we can receive financial help from Lee County in developing the plan.  However, Alva, Inc. will need to invest money to initiate the first part of the planner’s work.

Old Business:
Honorary Mayor Election deadline in February 1.  So far, Dick Spence and Tom Super have agreed to "run."  Votes are $1 each.  All contributions benefit Alva, Inc.  We ask you all to get out there and VOTE for your favorite candidate.  You can also mail you vote in to our P.O. Box 2022 Alva Fl 33920.
Thanks to Alva Church of God who contributed so much for the benefit on the Yard Sale which netted $155.
100 new Alva, Inc t-shirts will be ordered and sold to interested persons.
In the spring Alva Inc will encourage oak tree planting in Alva.
Name for the "Wayside" Park discussed.  Some do not want the name changed.  It was explained that the name "Wayside" is imply a Florida highway designation for all parks along highways that were set aside before the Interstate system.  Wayside parks are all over the nation and the name is a generic designation for all such parks.  People encouraged to submit names to our website-  Some name offered: Countryside Park, Admiral Nelson Park (for the founder of Alva), Cracker Park, Alva Heritage Park, Alva Wayside Park.

Oak Park has submitted a letter to the DOT for a traffic light at Broadway and Highway 80.  This will be filed with the DOT which will make a new study when the construction is completed.  They will be urged to make the study when traffic is at a high density.

Bonita Bay Group has purchased the Wheeler property.  They have a good reputation for their development programs.

The proposal to change the zoning for 3500 acres to two home an acre (this would mean over 7000 people and cars in this development) at the County line along CR 78 has been challenged by the Florida DOT and Lee County Planning Staff as it would seriously impact the roads in Alva and possibly require a new bridge over the river to accommodate the traffic density generated by the development.

Report on Babcock Ranch purchase program.  Colette Corwin and Ruby Daniels journeyed to Tallahassie with 85 others to encourage the state to maintain the ‘A-top’ priority for purchase of the Babcock Ranch to be maintained as a wilderness/park/public use area.  They offered a detailed report on the many outstanding comments made by persons in both Lee and Charlotte county government.  New information was presented, the most significant of which is that the Babcock property owners are willing to accept payment over a twenty year period which will help facilitate funding from various entities.
Everyone is encouraged to send donations (no matter how small), as it is as important to have many donors as it is to raise significant funds.  A brochure describing how to contribute is available and a website gives details:     

A concern was raised concerning the Oak Park request for rezoning a portion of their property.  Some neighbors are opposed as they believe it would impact negatively on their property.  A question was raised over the scope of the rezoning proposal.  The official proposal states that the whole of the property in question would be rezoned.  The Oak Park representative stated that only the rear 200 feet would be rezoned.  Rob Andrys recommended that this be corrected in the official documents as this is unclear in the official rezoning request submitted to the public for review.  Alva Inc. has offered to help with facilitating discussions with the neighbors and Oak Park in order to clarify this rezoning prior to there being a contentious meeting at the rezoning meeting.            

The letter from Rob Andrys on behalf of Alva, Inc. to Lee County planning commission follows:


January 7, 2005

Dear Sir or Madam:

     In the spring of 2001 the citizens of Alva met at the firehouse to discuss the direction of our community’s future.  At the request of those citizens, ALVA, Inc. was formed to facilitate the hiring of a professional planner, scheduling town hall meetings and conduct workshops to write a community plan which was ultimately presented to Lee County in September of 2003.

That plan outlined what Alva is today and its vision for the future.  Alva is a historic river village with small-town charm and character, where people socialize on their front porches and walk to school.  It has, as planners call it, a definable town center, an edge, and rural areas beyond. 

Visualizing Alva’s future is a work in progress.  When the planner asked the residents to describe what Alva and the surrounding rural areas should like in the future, many residents said it was easier to describe what they didn’t want:

No long strip malls, fast food joints, or non-descript stucco buildings with plastic signs.
They also didn’t want huge malls with big box stores, or used car lots.   

People did say that future growth should:

Preserve the historical nature of Alva by encouraging preservation of historic structures and blending new construction into the established character of the area.  It asked that new businesses do this by using styles such as Victorian, Florida Cracker, Arts and Crafts, and other designs similar in nature.  The community did not want to see Mediterranean.
Keep high-traffic retail in a centralized location to encourage pedestrian walkability and reduce the number of parking lots.
Link the commercial areas and parks together with sidewalks and bike paths.
Ask that new commercial development respect residential areas by using lower intensity lighting, more landscaping, and construct with higher-quality materials.
The residents requested repeatedly to preserve the native trees especially the oak trees.  

ALVA, Inc. is not a civic group that calls for no growth, but it does demand quality development.  We understand that quality commercial buildings reflect heavily on how the community is perceived, and encourages higher property values.  Conforming to Alva’s vision allows for businesses to be viewed as integral parts of the community, and thereby thrive.  We ask that you incorporate the above points into your development for the benefit of all the residents here.


Robert Andrys, President, ALVA, Inc.

Cc –Lee County Board of County Commissioners and Lee County Planning Department