The merger between the Lehigh Community Council and the Lehigh Acres Community Planning Panel is one step closer today in becoming one organization with the marriage of the two groups.
Rick Anglickis, a member of the board of the Community Council, made a motion that both groups form committees and go to work right away to discuss the merger and come back to the next meeting in September of the Community Council.
Community Council President Jim Kreger said he thought the merger would be a good one and agreed with Lee County commissioner Frank Mann, who attended the meeting on Monday, Aug. 19, to explain again his desire that the two groups in Lehigh come together and speak with one voice. He had spoken before the Lehigh planning group a week before asking them to realize that they as a group had finished their mission in forming a land use plan for Lehigh. He said the county hears from different groups of people in Lehigh and commissioners and staffers would rather hear a one unified voice from Lehigh.
"I think a marriage between the two agencies is the ideal way to go," Mann said to the Community Council.
There were no objections from any of the large group of members of the Community Council.
Thomas Pfuner, the interim president of the Lehigh Community Planning Panel, met with the group of members who came to the council's meeting, held at the Lee County Sheriff's Offic Lehigh substation.
Council members meet on the third Monday night each month at 6:30 p.m. and the members are from all walks of life and different organizations in Lehigh and there are representatives from various agencies of the county. All meetings are open to the public who are encouraged to speak about any issue in Lehigh.
It was suggested that the LACPP's Architectural Review Board (ARB) remain as a separate entity, but become a subcommittee like others of the Community Council. It was also suggested that the ARB take up zoning issues in Lehigh Acres.
The ARB can, as it does now for the LACPP, report to the larger gathering of the Community Council with results of meetings with potential developers and builders and those who seek zoning changes in Lehigh.
"I think a merger between us could be a great step, explained Jim Kreger, current president of the Community Council while others nodded their head in agreement.
He said there were nine current openings on the board for officers and the two committees could work out the details and come back for final approval at the next Community Council meeting.
Damon Shelor, a member of the Community Council, said he thought there was a consensus at the meeting to merge.
The Lehigh Community Council has been in existence since the 1960s and has always been made up of volunteers in the community, working together for the betterment of the community. The LACPP began its role to come up with a land use plan nine years ago.
Kreger explained that the Community Council is made up of 41 seats elected by the community and there are others appointed from representatives of various organizations in Lehigh.
"All we in county government are saying is to limit comments from the community to one group," Mann said.
Rick Anglickis added that he agreed and by coming together, it would give clout to the group when dealing with Lee County government.
Thomas Pfuner of the LACPP agreed.