We’ve been trying to narrow down Estero’s borders for months now and it may have gotten a little easier.
But before you throw your hands up in the air, El Dorado Acres asked not to be included in Estero’s redrawn borders. But whether it decides to join Bonita Springs or Estero in the future remains uncertain and only time will tell.
Kimberly MacLaren, the current president of El Dorado’s voluntary homeowners association, is backing the changes.
“We got to our goal,” she said.
And besides, all along El Dorado community residents have said their neighborhood would be out of place among the Mediterranean-style gated communities that want to call themselves the village of Estero.
In El Dorado, the homes sit on oversized lots, some of them still off of dirt roads—not surrounded by the typical brick streets and towering villas. And it’s not uncommon for an all-terrain vehicle to buzz by on its way into what’s left of the nearby woods, MacLaren and other residents have said.
ECCL On Board with Changes, Too
Nick Batos, chairman of the Estero Council of Community leaders, the group spearheading the move toward incorporation, is also comfortable with the new borders.
“We really couldn’t make (El Dorado) an enclave, so we had to come up with a way of tying them with another entity so we didn’t surround them, and that’s what we did,” said Batos.
No Enclave for El Dorado
They couldn’t make the community an enclave—a portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct—because Florida statute discourages the creation of them.
It says they can create significant problems in planning, growth management and service delivery.
Originally, El Dorado would have been an unincorporated community under Lee County’s direct care and jurisdiction within a village of Estero with independent rules and authority. It was only after Estero cut El Dorado out of the map that state lawmakers realized an enclave had never been created through a legislative act, said Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero.
El Dorado On Way to Goal
What is certain is that rallying to stay out of Estero right now motivated El Dorado residents to become more involved politically, MaCLaren said.
“We’ve been a very private, quiet community and not much involved in politics, but we definitely know what we want, and it’s not more government,” MacLaren said. “We need to be able to protect ourselves and our properties politically so we are not looked on as the community that doesn’t know what it’s doing.”