Guest Commentary: Eden Oak: Conservation 20/20 nomination update
In the midst of the request by the owner to change the zoning to build 55 units in the mangroves near the Shell Point Retirement Community, the Eden Oak property was also nominated earlier this year to Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 land acquisition program.
It’s the second time this property has been nominated to Conservation 20/20. The first nomination was made in 2007 by a previous owner and the property was not purchased due to price.
The process to evaluate and order appraisals for the most recent nomination of the property was moving swiftly until COVID-19 struck. The Conservation Lands Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee (CLASAC), which recommends purchases to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners for final approval, had no quorum in March, did not meet in April or May due to the pandemic, and now the planned June 17 meeting has been canceled.
There is a tentatively-scheduled CLASAC meeting on July 15 that we believe will contain an update on the property negotiations. Should the county and the property owner agree on a price, the property may be recommended for purchase and would then need to proceed to the county commissioners for a final vote.
Unlike the prohibitive rules to contact the commissioners in the zoning process, any member of the public can email or call the county commissioners to support the purchase of the property for conservation. For contact information for the Lee County commissioners, visit www.leegov.com/Staff and click the “County Commissioners” tab on the left side of the page.
Ryan Orgera is the chief executive officer of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Founded in 1967, the SCCF is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed.