President's Letter 
June 2003




Position Papers and Letters



Responsible Growth Management Coalition

PO Box 1826

Fort Myers, Florida 33902

November 2003


Dear RGMC Member:

George Washington Carver once said that, "no individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it." If the definition of a good life is in leaving the world at least a little bit better off the Gene Boyd lived an exceptionally good life. Currently we mourn the loss of this wonderful human being who devoted his life to the well being of all of us. Those who knew Gene for many years will miss his presence, his commitment and his selfless devotion. Those of us who didn’t know him quite so long will miss the opportunity to learn all that we could have from him.

But the fruit of every good life is a meaningful legacy. The RGMC is a part of Gene Boyd’s legacy. As a founding member and president of the RGMC Gene helped set the standard for contending with responsible growth issues in our community. He knew that environmental degradation leads to the degradation of our quality of life. Our health as individuals, as families, as a society and as an economy is based on the health of our environment. The environment, if left in the hands of those motivated solely by profit, becomes nothing more than object for exploitation and ruin. Only a motivated and dedicated group of individuals can counterbalance greed. Those who realize that the environment is not just a resource to be bought and sold, but rather a home for our families, are best suited to make responsible decisions regarding growth. Such are the members of RGMC and such was Gene’s vision.

The Responsible Growth Management Coalition is currently involved in two major legal battles. The RGMC is an intervener in the Pine Island dispute over their community plan. Eagle’s Landing, a profit-motivated developer, has decided that a democratically developed community plan does not serve its purposes and, therefore, must go. Eagle’s Landing is pressuring the county to submit to its demands to amend the community plan in their favor. The RGMC feels that the people who call Pine Island home should have the final say in how their community is developed and maintained. The people of the Pine Island community have demonstrated their willingness and desire to make responsible decisions regarding the environmental integrity of their home. This should be lauded and supported, not challenged.

The RGMC is also a party with Florida Power and Light, which is defending itself from a lawsuit brought by the Collier family. Florida Power and Light went through a public process to determine where to extend additional and necessary power lines into Collier County. They chose to make the responsible decision, at extra cost, to skirt environmentally sensitive lands rather than plow through them. Once again, decisions that should be commended are the subject of legal posturing and intimidation. Why should businesses make responsible decisions if they will only result in lawsuits from the greedy?

The RGMC is continuing its participation in the CR 951 extension project. The RGMC opposes the extension of CR 951 through sensitive environmental lands when alternatives are at hand. Such alternative include widening I 75, creating an access road that hugs I 75 or opening up corridors to the west of the interstate. A CR 951 extension would only serve as a major artery for development and increased sprawl.

When a developer was attempting to open the Estero 60 to development, the RGMC opposed development in that area. Though the developer was successful in his bid to amend the comp plan to develop in the Estero 60, the pressure put on by environmental groups like the RGMC ensured that this would be done in a responsible manner, preserving the wetlands, creating a conservation easement and clustering the project on only half of the land.

Despite the sheer volume of challenges to the health of our environment by those who would rather drain the wetlands and set up a golf course or condo complex, the RGMC remains committed to responsible growth. Our presence is often a determining factor in preserving our ecological heritage. Gene Boyd’s legacy is assured. The rest of us must now pick up where Gene left off, to build on Gene’s vision and to create our own legacy.

Of course, all of our thoughts and prayers go out to Ellie Boyd and their family. May they find comfort in each other as well as the wide community of friends that Gene and Ellie have gathered around them and inspired over the years. Our annual meeting, which will be held on January 12, 2004 will include a retrospective of the last fifteen years of the RGMC provided by Bill Hammond.




Michael Andoscia

President, RGMC