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Council discusses mask mandate and future meeting options

By MELISSA BILL - | Jun 18, 2021

news@breezenewspapers.com

The Lehigh Acres Community Council held its first in-person meeting since the onset of the pandemic with Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann on-hand to address questions and give updates on county projects and help address a touchy issue — Florida’s lifting of the mask mandate.

In the wake of Gov. Ron DeSantis lifting COVID-related restrictions, Community Council members were split at the June 7 session as to how to proceed in regards to the mandatory, in-person council meetings.

A few members asked for a mandatory mask requirement for the public and board members to protect those who are unvaccinated, individuals with compromised immune systems or underlying health issues. Other options discussed were the ability for certain members of the board to remain in virtual attendance.

Commissioner Mann pointed out that the council does not have the authority to impose a mask requirement.

“The council cannot mandate masks, but they can say it’s highly recommended,” Mann said.

Council President Chuck Edwards and the council will hold an executive board meeting later in the month to discuss a solution — such as Zoom — for those who want to donate their time and participate on the council, but are uncomfortable with in-person meetings.

In other business:

• The council’s Second VP Mohamed Yasin reported on the Lehigh Street Lighting District, FDOT road repairs and Lehigh Acres Architectural Zoning and Review Board.

“For some reason all the orders for LCEC work have been cancelled. When I questioned why, they said they are reviewing the work that was done in the past and examining some issues they encountered.We are way behind budget and the work being completed. I asked them to please send out some literature and give an update on the progress of street lighting to residents through the local papers. They said they will work on that,” Yasin said.

“The ARB had no meeting last month but they do have one project scheduled for review during our next meeting, the 5-lot rezoning from residential to commercial. Also Lee County recently approved a walking-trail — a five-mile path that will loop around the Abel Canal near Joel Boulevard. This is going to be a really nice attraction for us here in Lehigh. Great thing for the area,” Yasin said.

Yasin also reported on the county’s roadway budget for Lehigh road repairs.

“The roadway improvements are coming along very well. If you look around, I don’t think you’ll find many roads that have not been resurfaced or filled in. If any resident sees a road that needs repair or needs to be repaved, they can call the FDOT and they will send crews to fix the issue.” Yasin said.

• New Member recruitment was also brought up for discussion.

“The council is looking for vibrant, voluntarily, energetic people who can help serve the council,” Yasin said.

“This is a 50-year old grassroots organization,” Edwards added.

• Outreach

Under the agenda item on outreach to local charities and nonprofits, Council member/Secretary Vanessa Ouimette suggested creating a local initiative with the schools that would provide fresh fruits for kids during the school year and on summer breaks.

“It’s amazing to think just how many children go hungry everyday. I think we could take a step towards helping the kids in our community and begin an initiative to start planting fruit trees at our local schools. This would provide ongoing healthy snack options for these kids,” Ouimette said.

For more information on becoming a board member on the Lehigh Acres Community Council reach out by Facebook Lehigh Acres Community Council or the LACC website: http://www.lehighacrescommunitycouncil.com/