GPICA Board Tells Lee County to Stop Dollar General Construction

The following is an open letter from the Greater Pine island Civic Association:

"To the Lee County Department of Community Development: The following is submitted by resolution of the Greater Pine Island Civic Association, Inc. Board of Directors this 16 February, 2011.

Please immediately issue a stop-work order for the Dollar General construction now underway at Pine Island Center on Stringfellow Road. The construction is not being conducted in accordance with the approved plans.

Attached is a copy of the approved elevations for this project. The approved elevations were drawn by the developer and his contractors in consultation with the Lee County DCD staff as well as GPICA and other Pine Island community members. The developer was cooperative, and after extensive discussions and revisions, the elevations

Dollar General Under Constructionwere deemed by all involved to be consistent with Pine Island Plan requirements for "Old Florida" or "cracker" commercial design standards. Note the modest sign above the front doorway, and the absence of any other approved signage. Signage was a critical element when the elevations were approved by the community. Also critical was lighting, which was supposed to be only downward facing parking lot lights hung from the eves of the building.

Also attached are numerous pictures of the building now under construction. The overall appearance bears little similarity to the approved elevations. The big problem is the humongous signs. The sign over the front door is far far bigger than approved, and the sign out by the road was not approved at all. These signs are not only enormous, but are cheap, ugly, cheesy, and downright offensive.They have no value whatsoever unless airplanes over South Florida are looking for landmarks. The light pollution from these incredibly huge and ugly signs will be bright enough to light up much of the island, and the signs themselves could be easily read from a vantage point anywhere on the island. There is no reason, commercial or otherwise, for putting such signage on Pine Island. There are numerous commercial enterprises in the vicinity of this project, and none have signage even remotely resembling that now under construction at this project.

If the developer is allowed to continue with this form of construction, the commercial project approval process will have been reduced to a mockery. The "Old Florida" design standards for Pine Island are a critical part of the Pine Island Plan, which was developed over a period of 20 years by the efforts of hundreds of Pine Islanders and the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars. We will not sit idly by and watch it be ignored.

Please take immediate and effective action to cure this problem.

Phil Buchanan 3861
Galt Island Avenue
email: "