Lee County commissioners have approved rezoning the Alva farmland owned by Commissioner Mike Greenwell for the development of a major shopping and apartment complex—but there’s a catch.
Greenwell gets the rezoning, but instead of building a 60-foot apartment building, it will be capped at 45 feet.
Commissioner Ray Sandelli was the only one who voted against the rezoning. The height reduction came after whispered conversations first between the current and future county managers and then one of Greenwell’s representatives.
The 400-square-foot shopping center and 122-apartment complex are planned for 76 acres of land off State Road 31, just over the Wilson Pigott Bridge.
Alva locals who were at the meeting said the height reduction does not make the planned project any better to live with.
“I feel they just gave us an appeasement, that’s all,” said Denise Eberly. “It’s disheartening. It’s destructive; it just destroys the rural community. You can pretty much say goodbye to our rural community.”
Eberly and others said they settled in Alva because it is rural and they want it to stay that way. They fear development in Alva will destroy their country living forever.
“With this commission, it’s going to be almost impossible to protect,” Eberly said. “The 400,000 square feet of commercial is insane. It’s insane.”
Alva neighbors said they wish their feelings about the proposed development had been taken into account because none of them want the development or the apartments. Greenwell’s representative said it could take months if not years to actually get the development started.