Neal Communities faces local opposition over Alva development 

Reporter: Emma Heaton
Published: Updated:

Tuesday at noon, Neal Communities of Southwest Florida, Inc. held a public meeting at the intersection of Owl Creek Drive and N. River Road in Alva to discuss their application for the Owl Creek Community. 

The proposed development includes 380 single-family homes and other amenities like a boat dock. The development group said its plan includes increased preserve areas and a minimum lot size of 40 ft. By 100 ft.

The homes will be connected to water and sewer systems, with connection fees and sewer extension costs covered by the developer. 

The meeting was intended to inform the community and nearby landowners about these changes and to answer any questions they may have. However, it quickly became a forum for residents to express their concerns and frustrations. 

Attendees raised questions about environmental preservation, particularly regarding endangered sawfish and gopher tortoises and the size of the homes. They also questioned why decision maker and Commissioner Mike Greenwell was not at the meeting, accusing commissioners of not acting in the community’s best interest. 

Many residents voiced worries over increased traffic and already long ambulance wait times, pointing to the fact that Alva is a Rural community. 

Frustration was evident as residents criticized the timing and purpose of the meeting, suggesting all developers wanted to do was check a box to get their plan going. 

The meeting follows a contentious decision in January, where Lee County commissioners unanimously approved a sewer extension for Neal Communities’ planned subdivision. This extension, crossing under the Caloosahatchee River, allows the development of homes but angers those concerned over rural preservation. 

Residents left the meeting feeling unheard and concerned about the future of Alva’s character. 

Many believe Neal Communities is attempting to increase the number of homes beyond what was originally planned, further adding to tensions between developers and local residents. 

The next step for Neal Communities regarding the Owl Creek community is the application submission. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, people asked why decision maker and commissioner Mike Greenwell was not present. His office said it is part of the land development code that the commissioner cannot participate in. 

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