By Lenny Guckenheimer, Charlotte County Dems
What brought you here to Charlotte County to live? Was it the warm sun and the beaches and the Gulf? The fabulous fishing in Charlotte Harbor? Or maybe that Charlotte County is much less developed and congested than Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, and also less expensive?
Whatever the treasures that attracted you to Charlotte County, you may have noticed that you aren’t the only one to have noticed these gems. A lot of people are moving here and they are building homes.
Have you had the chance to drive around Charlotte County recently? Maybe you have noticed the amount of new residential and commercial construction going up in your neighborhood. In some areas, the construction is one lot at a time. In other areas, hundreds of acres are bulldozed and clear-cut. Vegetation is scraped, piled, and burned. The smoke rises and can be seen for miles. Environmentalists complain about burning rainforests in Brazil, but that is what is happening here in Charlotte County. Because of flooding concerns, new construction has to be elevated six feet. Fill dirt is stripped-mined and trucked to the construction sites.
Traffic congestion presently is moderate. But that will change soon enough. Because of the way Charlotte County is platted, every lot can be developed. Very little land has been set aside for green space. Imagine the traffic pouring onto Tamiami Trail, Kings Hwy, State Route 776, or Sandhill Blvd from all of those lots that are now vegetation.
And it’s not only on land that there are construction projects, but also in the water. Right now, there are proposals to cut paths through mangrove islands to improve boating access. How these projects will affect water quality in Charlotte Harbor is open to debate.
What is not open to debate is that the final decision whether to proceed with this project and many other projects will be made by our Charlotte County Commissioners. How Charlotte County is developed and will look like in the future depends on decisions the commissioners make today. To help ensure that Charlotte County develops in a sustainable way, we all need to be actively involved with the entire planning process.
How do we do that?
First and foremost, learn about what is happening in our community and county. Subscribe to our local newspaper, The Daily Sun. The Sun is the only regional news source that covers our area. The Sun regularly covers commissioner and county government topics. Public meetings are also posted in the newspaper. To be effective in dealing with government affairs, we need to be informed and the Sun is the easiest way to get community-wide information.
Second, learn what is happening in Charlotte County government. Visit and become familiar with the Charlotte County website. There you will find all county agencies and departments. You will also find advisory groups that provide input to the county commissioners. Also posted are meeting agenda and minutes. Some meetings, such as the county commissioners are videoed. Meeting videos are archived and can be viewed.
Third, be an advocate. Join the Charlotte County Dems working group on county affairs. This working group is focusing on being an advocate for the community based on our Democratic values and principles. Our goal is to develop working relationships with county commissioners and agencies so that together we can create a Charlotte County that we can proudly pass down to our future generations.