County Attorney thanks Eagle for telling the whole story


County Attorney thanks Eagle for telling the whole story
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C ounty Attorney thanks
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I a m lo o k ing f o r :
Ma y 13, 2015
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Pine Island Eagle
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To the editor:
My thanks to you and to the staff of the Eagle for acting as a
clearinghouse for information regarding the contemplated changes
to the Pine Island Plan, as well as for providing another forum for
questions and concerns of Pine Islanders and for individuals
throughout Lee County. Your work connecting citizens directly with
their government is an essential part of keeping Lee County
responsive to the individuals it serves.
I especially appreciate your April 29 printing of my letter to Ron
Lueth because it helps tell the whole story. As you might imagine,
the county has received numerous inquiries from concerned
citizens; and we've tried to be diligent in responding to each
request in detail, with facts.
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But a recent letter to the editor from Phil Buchanan, actually the
latest in a string of letters from Mr. Buchanan, not only misstates
facts, but aims to needlessly upset Pine Islanders. The county has
stated throughout this discussion that it is our goal to preserve
Pine Island's unique character while lessening the liabilities for the
county as a whole. In fact, I've personally had a meeting with Mr.
Buchanan during which I have plainly stated that no one in county
government is desirous of "scrapping the Pine Island Plan" or
subjecting Pine Island to densities of "one unit per acre." Mr.
Buchanan likewise knows that I have not been authorized to "do
whatever I want," nor have I assembled "a team of people all
hostile to any restrictions on development to rewrite the Pine
Island Plan." Indeed, Bill Spikowski, lead consultant to the Greater
Pine Island Civic Association, was invited to provide input
regarding the proposed revisions.
Our primary goal is to ensure that the ultimate Pine Island Plan is
supported by research, is consistent with state law, and has a
rational nexus to protecting the public health, safety and welfare.
Taking these steps now will better permit the Pine Island Plan to
stand up to legal challenges.
The facts about the Pine Island Plan are available to anyone who
asks and cares to listen to the answer; but Lee County
understands that trust is built not on transparency alone
informational accountability is only half the picture -- relational
accountability is required as well: Facts are important, but the
opportunity for meaningful input is important, too.
In that regard, I anticipate sharing a robust draft of proposed
changes to the Pine Island Plan in fairly short order. Further, as
mandated by the Board of County Commissioners, Pine Islanders
will have an opportunity to meet, discuss, provide input and
recommend changes before the draft is sent to the board to
consider whether to start the adoption process.
Once the adoption process is under way, there will be additional
time (months) for the public to review the proposed language and
present additional changes during Local Planning Agency and
County Commission meetings.
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Again, thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight. I
am confident your careful readers will see that the county is on
the same side of the issue as are they -- working toward our
common goal of implementing defensible regulations that preserve
Pine Island's unique character.
Richard Wm. Wesch
County Attorney
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