Oh, Lee County … ye barely know us

November 15, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:
It may be time to take a hard look at our community’s relationship with Lee County’s government.
After years of knowing the need for a new dog park when The Inn property would no longer be avilable, the County finally held a public meeting to update the residents on the progress, or lack therof, of a replacement. The 60 or so residents in attendance were shown two sketches, and unbelievably the preferred choice on Wheeler Road would not be ready for four years (assuming funding could be found).
Was there then a discussion of the many issues involving a new park? I, for one, as a dog owner favoring a new park, wanted to hear the neighborhood concerns to see if they could be addressed. But there was no discussion. We were told there would be no question-and-answer period. And there wasn’t. Jesse Lavender, the Lee County representative, then departed, leaving without significant community input.
Last summer, when many residents were in cooler climates, a Lee County hit squad, posing as code enforcers, descended on Boca Grande and handed out a multiple number of summons for code violations. Few local businesses escaped the onslaught of citations for their innocuous actions and conduct. They were cited for replacing worn pavers, outside lunch tables, a window for take-out food, items on sidewalks causing visitors walking three abreast to go in single file, etc. Complete nonsense. This is not to say that code enforcement is not necessary; serious issues should always be addressed, but finding reasonable solutions working with our community businesses should also be a primary objective. To the extent we allow a high-handed governing body to act cavalierly, we will lose the very essence of what makes Boca Grande a very special place for all of us.
These two examples seem to indicate than an improvement in the county/town relationship is needed.
Tom Margetts
Boca Grande