Neighbors in Pine Lakes Country Club protest during meeting with community owner

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
pine lakes protest
pine lakes protest Credit: WINK News

One community’s residents are upset with the possibility of more homes being brought to an already crowded area.

Neighbors in Pine Lakes Country Club in North Fort Myers say there are already enough people there and that adding more could deteriorate conditions.

Residents say they’re used to specific amenities and a particular lifestyle. They just don’t want anyone to come in and disrupt the place they love so much.

On Friday, they decided to go out and voice those concerns.

In a sea of green shirts and golf carts, it is evident that these residents love their community.

Ray Dunlap lives in Pine Lakes. “We fell in love with this place right away,” said Dunlap.

Frank Tivan lives in Pine Lakes too. “We’re a self-sustaining community. We have all athletic facilities, a clubhouse, a restaurant, we don’t have to leave the property too often,” Tivan said.

Ron Thoreson says he likes Pine Lakes the way it already is. “This is a neighborhood that has cul-de-sacs, manufactured homes and cul-de-sacs. It’s paradise,” said Thoreson.

But now there’s trouble in paradise, according to these neighbors.

Equity Lifestyle Properties, the company that owns this community, wants to build a new in the lot right next to Pine Lakes. the company also plans to create three, what they are calling “interconnections.”

One of these residents asked the question everyone wants the answer to, “What are the interconnections for?”

A representative for the company responded, “to go through the french property.”

That’s the name of the empty lot where Equity Lifestyle Properties plans to build hundreds of new homes. So on Friday, these residents got ask the company a few questions regarding their new project.

“What about the homes being built there?” The company didn’t seem ready to answer that, saying, “we won’t be answering those questions today.”

The neighbors say it isn’t even about the actual homes being built. They are much more concerned with the traffic and how it will impact safety. They also worry if they’ll be able to enjoy their community’s amenities with even more overcrowding.

“They’re trying to shoehorn too many people into a small space and it’s all for a big picture profit and we understand that they’re a company that’s made for profit. But at some point, you have to think about the people who already live here and I don’t think they’re doing a very good job of that,” said Dunlap.

In December, a Lee County Hearing Examiner heard arguments from both sides. But the examiner has not yet made recommendations about whether to community should grow or stay where it is.

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