October 9, 2006 Meeting
Alva Community Center
Vice president, George Berczik, welcomed the 50 plus attendees in the absence of
the president who was ill. George explained the purpose of Alva Inc. and that
the Alva Community Plan had been submitted to the County the last week in Sept.
He stressed Alva Inc.’s need for membership and more help. The remainder of the
meeting was turned over to the guest speaker, Frank Mann, county commissioner
elect for District 5 which includes Alva.
Since Mr. Mann lives in Alva, he said he was speaking as a neighbor with
experience in government. He settled in Alva 10 years ago and has a deep
appreciation for the unique character of Alva. He has had the personal
experience of a development of 26 houses going in next to him where formerly
there had been 31 acres of cows. What happened with the development was done
legally and without any density or zoning changes. The Lee County Comp Plan
allows one house per acre in most of Alva with some areas along the northern
borderrequiring 5 or 10 acres per house.
To give an idea of the degree of development that is already in the works, he
reported that Kitty Green, an officer of Bonita Bay, showed him Bonita Bay’s
plans for the 1200 - 1300 acres they recently acquired at State Rt. 31 and N.
River Rd – the Owl Creek property and all but 5 acres of the Mike Greenwall
place. Bonita Bay will be requesting Comp Plan changes to allow 2 to 3 units per
acre which, if granted, can mean up to 7200 additional cars on Alva area roads
from this one development. A projection for what Babcock City will require at
build out road wise is that Rt 31 will need to be from 8 to 14 lanes! That’s how
things are looking on the west side of Alva.
To the east in the Four Corners area, 1,000 acres of citrus, formerly owned by a
coop has been bought by two parties and development is planned. And commercial
will also be coming, such as mention of a Target at Rt. 80 and Joel Rd.
Mr. Mann said not to view land owners that sell out to developers as “evil.”
They have every legal right to do so and are under tremendous pressure. What it
takes 50 years to make farming can be made in one year by selling.
Several times in the evening Mr. Mann referred to one of his favorite quotes:
“Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom” and applied it to the effort that
will be needed by Alva residents if they are to influence how development
occurs. He stressed the need for a strong, vigilant and active community
organization and urged people to join and be involved in efforts of Alva Inc.
Facts and ideas from the question and answer segment of the meeting that
- 2 year time frame for Bonita Bay’s beginning its 31 & N. River Rd. development
- there is the requirement of concurrency meaning developers must provide
- starting a fund for legal fees to back Alva Inc.’s efforts (financial
- hiring a full time consultant to stay abreast of zoning change applications
and also monitor South Fl Water Management District for further proposed
- network with neighboring communities - East Lee County Council, Buckingham