Lee school district doesn’t own part of Bonita High site

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BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. Another problem has emerged with the land where Bonita Springs High School is being built.

The Lee County school district doesn’t own a 150-foot strip of land it planned to use as an entrance to the school property at Imperial Parkway and Shangri-La Road. It’s instead owned by the Hawthorne Community Association.

When the district’s engineering team went out to start permitting, they discovered it was still owned by Hawthorne, district planning director Greg Blurton said.

The district signed a permit in February. Groundbreaking on the school was in March. But a school district spokeswoman said the district didn’t find out about the property ownership discrepancy until April, during a different permitting process for a road improvement project.

“I really don’t anticipate this being a big issue,” Superintendent Dr. Gregory Adkins said, “because we also have other alternatives that we can explore if we are not able to come to an agreement with the community. But I think we will at this point.”

The district could build an entrance along another part of its property that fronts Imperial Parkway if the community association refuses to give up the land. A meeting between district and community association representatives is set for Monday to see if they can work out a deal.

But resolving the issue will be a lengthy process, community association vice president Debra Fosselman said.

“I was unaware and blindsided and need to get legal advice first as to what our options are,” Fosselman said. “We have 463 homeowners, and they need to be noticed and vote on whatever decision we come to.”

The property fight is the latest in a string of setbacks for school construction, which is over budget and was delayed amid concerns about possible asbestos contamination at the site.

“In my opinion, this is another example of the school board not doing its due diligence,” Hawthorne resident Charles J. Yanni said.


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