Matlacha residents fear development, Cape Coral expansion plans

MATLACHA, Fla. – Cape Coral’s plans to annex and rezone five acres of land along Pine Island Road is stirring up resentment among Matlacha residents.

Even though the city has not detailed its plans for the site, which the city already owns, people living in Matlacha said they fear the rezoning will create congestion and environmental issues.

Chris Collins, an island resident, said he fears the rise of development is ruining Florida’s natural landscape.

“Who knows what they’re going to do with it, but it can’t be good,” he said. “They don’t want a single piece of undeveloped land to go to waste, by their definition, because they can’t make any money off of it.”

Others residents, like Christine Birdie Smock, said Matlacha’s leaders are not prioritizing the island population.

“We’re not being taken care of,” Smock said. “Our officials are not taking care of us. They are betraying us.”

Cape Coral will vote Dec. 12 on whether to annex the plot.

Smock and other Matlacha residents plan to protest the land annexation from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 17 on the Matclacha Bridge.

Reporter:Taylor Bisacky