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Punta Gorda City Council approves city's comprehensive plan despite some opposition

The motion passed in a 4-1 vote
Posted at 7:07 PM, Feb 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-07 19:07:09-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — On Wednesday, the Punta Gorda City Council voted to approve an amended version of it's comprehensive plan, detailing future growth and development expectations.

Required for all cities in Florida these plans must be approved by state officials.

On Dec. 18, 2023 - the city received objections, comments and recommendations, from the Bureau of Planning and Growth on its draft of the plan. Once that document was received by the city, it started a 180 day timer for the council to vote an an amended version.

At Wednesday's council meeting, all council members except District 3 councilwoman Deborah Lux voted to approve the new version of the plan.

Prior to the vote, approximately a dozen residents spoke against the comprehensive plan, many saying the potential for dense development the plan allows for could ruin the city's small town allure.

"I have seen it change a lot, I'm not against development but i do not agree with the redefinition of our city and what it looks like," said Jeannine Polk.

"If we wanted density we would have gone to Sarasota, Fort Myers, or Naples, but we chose Punta Gorda because of its small town charm," said Arne Carlson, former Governor of Minnesota and Punta Gorda resident. "This comprehensive plan opens the door to enormous density changes."

"We want to work with you to make it better," said Kay Ebbs. "Why cant we work together and get this right?"

Lux stated that there were errors in the plan, including inaccurate maps and motioned to table the vote as the council had 129 more days to discuss the plan and gain public input. She suggested a town hall meeting could help the city and its residents to revise the plan, but the motion did not carry.

The comprehensive plan will be reviewed by state officials before it is adopted.