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  Minutes of Alva Inc. November 13, 2006 Meeting

Alva Community Center - 7:15 PM

Attendance: Sign-in was incomplete; 55-60 was the maximum number of people present.

In the absence of the president and vice-president, Ruby Daniels, treasurer, called the meeting to order.  As the first order of business, she turned the meeting over to guest presenters: Alex Hall and David A. Graeber of Inwood Consultant Engineering; Sarah Clarke of Lee County DOT and Kris Cella, Cella Molar & Associates.  The presentation concerned possible routes of the Luckett Rd. and Sunshine Blvd. extensions in order to meet the growing traffic demand in the area east of Rt. 75 between Colonial Blvd. and Rt. 80.  The Luckett Rd. extension would continue the road from where it now stops east of Rt. 75 to Joel Blvd.  The Sunshine Blvd. extension would continue the road from Lehigh Acres to Rt. 80.   Since part of this extension will be in Alva the meeting focused on it.   (The Luckett Rd. extension will probably be south of the old Lehigh Airport and outside of Alva. 

Mr. Hall presented the guiding principles, status and procedure to be followed as the studies progress.   Highlights of his presentation and response to questions follow.

1. The studies of proposed alignments look at minimizing human and social impact as well as physical and environmental impact.  Mitigation is required if there is environmental impact.

2.  Cost of the road including right of way acquisitions (# of property owners directly or partially involved) as well as construction costs is also considered.   Property owners are compensated at fair market value & have the right to go to court if dissatisfied. 

3.  Three alignments are being studied for the Sunshine Blvd. extension: one to the east of the current end of Sunshine and joining in to Bateman Rd.  ( this one would cross  a corner of Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park and require an overpass); the second one continues Sunshine almost straight north and connects to Zeligro Rd.; the third one goes west ,south of the Hickey Creek development, and connects to Carter Lane. There was a huge map showing these alignments as well as smaller maps available for taking.

4. The consultants are meeting with communities affected by the proposed extensions for their input and choice of alignment.   The Alva community voted in favor of the western alignment for Sunshine Blvd. that joints up with Carter Lane.

5.  The study is just starting to look at traffic projections to determined the number of lanes.  The extensions will probably initially be 2- lane with provision for widening to 4-lane.

6.  In Feb. 2007 the consultants will present their data (called a matrix) to a large workshop for input from all the communities; these comments will be evaluated and another workshop held in  Summer 2007.  The study phase should be completed in about a year.  The firm then makes recommendations to county staff and from there it goes to the Board of County Commissioners.

Sarah Clarke answered questions about road funding and future widening of Rt. 31 and 78.   Roads are funded by impact fees and gasoline taxes, not property taxes.    Currently there is nothing in the county for widening either of these routes or for another bridge across the Caloosahatchee.   The State, however, is asking Kitson to look at the impact of Babcock City on these roads.

A short break followed the presentation and the remaining business was conducted.

I.  Ruby Daniels introduced Luke Kosar, Aide to Senator Aronberg, who was present at the meeting.  Luke had good news to report on two items affecting Alva.  These items  had been brought up at a Nov. 19 meeting with Senator Aronberg, his aides, Frank Mann, and Alva Inc. board members, Ruby Daniels and Patty Walker.

A.  Traffic lights on Rt. 80.   The traffic studies are done.   There will be a permanent light at Joel Blvd. and a part-time light at Broadway - part time means functioning at certain times, such as school hours or during the day and then going to blinking.

B. Scenic Highway designation for Rt. 78 from Rt. 31 to downtown LaBelle.   Luke had located where the application submitted several years ago by Alva. Inc. has been stalled and will keep monitoring it.   Even though a scenic designation doesn’t prevent its becoming 4 lanes, it can help preserve the rural ambience of the road and prohibits billboards along it..

II.  Brief treasurer’s report ($4,426 31 balance) and secretary’s report of Oct.  meeting when county commissioner-elect and Alva resident, Frank Mann, spoke at the monthly meeting.  He emphasized the need for the community to organize and become an effective voice for preserving the uniqueness of Alva as development encroaches from all directions.  (For full account, read the minutes under “Minutes/Archives” on the website:  www.alvafl.org.)

III.  President’s Report

A.  Ruby reported that the board, after holding two community workshops,  submitted the Alva Community Plan to the County the end of Sept. and will continue to monitor its progress. 

B. She also reported on two board meetings concerning a request by Bonita Bay to meet with Alva Inc.  The first one was to prepare for the board’s subsequent  meeting with Kitty Green, regional vice president for Bonita Bay, and Dan Delici, planning and permitting for BB, at which they presented  preliminary plans for developing the 1276 acres BB has acquired north of the river including most of the Mike Greenwell property (Rts. 31 and 78 intersection), Owl Creek property and other adjoining land along the river.  Highlights of Ruby’s report were:

- BB has applied to the country for a comp plan amendment to change the current density from 1 unit /acre to 2.7

- the planned development would capitalize on its river frontage; have a golf course and marina;  target mostly part time residents; consist of single and multiple family units and commercial

- concerns the board raised with BB: that the roadside appearance should preserve Alva’s rural character, water, green quality, preservation of the river frontage, fire and police protection.

- this is just the beginning;  there will definitely be opportunities for the Alva community to hear BB presentations and give input as the planning proceeds and more details are worked out.

In the discussion following Ruby’s report it was noted that Bonita Bay is one of the more cooperative and community and environmentally sensitive developers.  Veranda, their development along Rt. 80, was the first development in the State to be certified as “green” by the Florida Green Building Coalition.  Rather than just saying “no” to a developer, it can be better to be a smart negotiator.  To this end it would behoove the Alva community to become well versed in smart growth principles as well as knowing when to give input to the county planning and permitting process.

C. Part of the effort for Alva residents to become a strong voice for the community is through increased Alva Inc. membership and participation as well as effective communication to the members via emails and phone calls.  There were sign ups sheets available to volunteer for the following committees: newsletter, social, membership, marketing, fund raising, developing commerical standards for Rt. 80; meeting with developers as requests arise; and attending county hearings on issues affecting Alva.

D.  Patty Walker reported on the Alva Newsletter:  an edition is at the printer and should be out this week; copies have been increased to 500 and will be available at the post office, Handy, Alva Diner, Village Market and Riverdale Library; it will also be posted on the website and hopefully future editions can be emailed to residents requesting it..  Patty needs stories for future issues.

E. Social chairperson, Barbara Watts announced that the December 11 meeting will be a Christmas gathering --  Alva Inc. isn’t all work; it’s fun too.   Bring a friend, and some food to share.    There will be a Christmas tree (inside this year), music and a good time with your neighbors.   Alva Community Center, regular meeting time, 7: 15 PM

IV.  Ad Hoc Committee Report
Lynn Fensterer reported on a meeting she, Kim Walker and Jim Mathisen had with Hal Arkin of D’Alessandro & Woodyard, per Arkin’s request to meet with Alva Inc. representatives.          D’Allessandro & Woodyard are commercial developers and have plans for Alva.  This meeting pertained to the former Dyess grove property. 26 acres along Rt. 80 have been purchased in cash by an architect from Madrid, Spain with an option to buy the 24 acres behind it.  He is willing to pay for water and sewage to be brought in and then resell.  Test borings show that the land will support 3-story buildings.  The “commercial” category includes box stores, hotels, office condos, townhouses.   An application to change the comp plan to allow for commercial is being submitted.

 V. Adjournment - On this “happy” note a motion to adjourn was made and seconded.