Estero Development Report
Volume 5, Number 7
Issued November 2005
Edited by ECCL--the Estero Council of Community Leaders
December Opportunities for Citizen
In Protecting Estero's Quality of Life
Roadway Landscape Advisory Committee Meeting
Community Development Building, 1550 Monroe Street, 3rd
Floor Conference Room
Wednesday, December 7th
Metropolitan Planning Organization approval of the 2030 Long
Range Transportation Plan
Conference Room, 1926 Victoria Avenue, Ft. Myers
Civic Association Panel Discussion of Health Care in Estero
Riverwoods Plantation on West Broadway
Community Planning Panel Review of the Latest Estero Land
Development Code Changes and Available Funding for Updating
the Community Plan
Fire Rescue District Board Meeting
United Methodist Church -- Founder's Hall
County Commissioners Final Hearing on the Estero Land
Development Code Changes …The ECPP Invites Your Supporting
Floor, 2120 Main Street, Ft. Myers
Wednesday, December 14th
Design Review Committee review of Estero Commons in front of
The Vines; Coconut Point Update; ABC Wine and Spirits at
Paradise Shoppes; CVS Pharmacy at Plaza del Sol
Community Center at Rapallo
Thursday, December 15th
Examiner Hearing on the Cypress View CPD Case (This
commercial development is on the north side of Estero
Parkway just north of Rookery Pointe)
Floor Hearing Room, 1500 Monroe Street, FM
of the South County Regional Library Luncheon featuring
Naval Historian Robert Macomber
Grandezza Clubhouse off of Ben Hill Griffin Parkway
Council of Community Leaders Meeting …open to the public,
see the agenda at
The River Club at Pelican Sound
Saturday, December 17th
of the South County Regional Library presentation of Holiday
Music Suncoast Brass
County Regional Library on Three Oaks Parkway
Thursday, December 22nd
Examiner Hearing on the Argonaut Chevrolet Dealership Case
(This auto dealership is in the southwest sector of the
I-75/Corkscrew Road Interchange)
Floor Hearing Room, 1500 Monroe Street, FM
To learn more about Estero and its growth management efforts
view the new website of:
Estero Community Planning Panel (ECPP);
Estero Civic Association (ECA);
Estero Design Review Committee (EDRC), and
Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL)
The site is still in formation.…
your suggestions for improvement are most welcome.
Until 1998 Estero was no more than a wide spot in the road on US 41 between
Fort Myers and Naples. Its property tax base was just under $600 million…this
year it is over $4.2 billion, 7 times greater.
In 2000 the Census Bureau counted 9,503 full time Estero residents with 37.3%
of all housing units being vacant…that is owned by “snowbirds”. The estimated
total population at that time is about 15,000. Since then over 11,000 housing
units have been permitted by Lee County in Estero. Consequently Estero’s total
population today is estimated to approach 38,000, with about 14,000 of them
being “snowbirds”. That’s an increase of nearly 23,000, or 150%, in less than
Thus, almost everything is new in Estero. Over 60% of all Estero homes are
less than 5 years old. Commercial development tends to follow residential
development...stores go where the rooftops are located. Estero is now zoned for
about 10 million square foot of commercial development. Of that about 1.5
million has been construction and another million is now under construction.
During 1999 the residents of Estero could see that this development boom was
coming and that it needed to be managed if it was not to overwhelm the
community. With Estero’s strategic location midway between Ft. Myers and Naples,
the community leaders knew they could not stop this train, it was moving too
fast, but needed to manage it.
At the suggestion of Lee County Development staff the community set about to
develop a Community Plan.
With the help of a professional planner, numerous public meetings, workshops and
surveys were used to involve all the residents of Estero in the development of
the Community Plan. It took about 18 months for t the plan to be developed,
reviewed by county staff and approved by the County Board.
The primary goal of the Community Plan is to make Estero’s commercial
corridors as attractive as all the residential communities that surround them.
The Plan contains much more than that but its primary focus is on the commercial
development of the community. Most of Estero’s residential communities use
Mediterranean designs so that style has been given preference by the plan for
Estero’s commercial development as well.
In addition to architecture, beautiful landscaping is a major part of what
makes our residential communities attractive. Our commercial corridors would not
compliment our residential communities without
attractive landscaping in the
roadway medians and along the sides of the road where utilities do not
prevent planting. As Estero’s roads are constructed and widened all of them will
be landscaped. During the last two years Corkscrew Road, Ben Hill Griffin and
Three Oaks Parkway between Williams Road and Corkscrew have been landscaped.
Trees are now being planted along Estero Boulevard between Three Oaks and US 41.
The landscape design for US 41 between Corkscrew and Old 41 is being revised to
work around State highway restrictions and to add plantings financed by an
increase in County funding for this segment. The designs for all of the other
segments are underway and will be implemented when the roads are widened or
Parks and open space are important elements of any desirable community.
Estero was always blessed to have the
Koreshan State Historic Site in the center
of the community. The recent acquisition of the
100 acre Boomer property by the
County and State, located immediately across the Estero River from the Historic
Site, will nearly double the size of this facility. About a mile to the east on
the south side of Corkscrew Road the County is completing construction of the 65
acre Estero Community Park.
The Park will include a 42,000 square foot community and recreation center and
numerous amenities including an outdoor stage for concerts and other
presentations to thousands on its Central Lawn. Finally, Estero’s development
standards encourage commercial developers to provide areas for shoppers to relax
and just enjoy their surroundings as well as nice pedestrian walkways and biking
Governmental services have to expand quickly if they are to keep up with
population growth like Estero has had these last six years. In the last three
years the Estero Fire Rescue
district has constructed four new fire stations to more effectively serve the
community. Recently the Lee County School Board has acquired two new sites for
schools in Estero, a 10 acre site for an elementary school just north of Estero
High School and a 70 acres site for a high school and a middle school on the
east side of Three Oaks Parkway just north of Corkscrew Road. In addition the
School Board has agreed to provide 5 acres for a new
Post Office on the 70 acre
site if there is sufficient room after satisfying the environmental needs of the
site. The regional US Post Office has designated Estero No. 1 on their priority
list for new Post Offices.
Of course none of this means anything if traffic is constantly snarled and
people cannot get where they are going in a reasonable amount of time,
especially during the season. Road
construction, like commercial development, always lags residential and
population growth, but clearly nobody, including our road planners, could
foresee the speed of Estero’s development, thus the road network is even further
behind than usual.
Thus Estero’s community leaders are constantly encouraging the County and
State Departments of Transportation and the Metropolitan Planning Organization,
the entity that makes the long range road plans for the area, and our major
developers to recognize our traffic problems and solve them as quickly as
possible. During the last couple of years two critical north-south road segments
have been completed in Estero. They are Three Oaks Parkway from Williams Road to
Corkscrew Road and US 41 from Old 41 to Corkscrew Road. Presently, a new four
lane north-south corridor, called Sandy
Lane, extending about 3 miles from Corkscrew Road to Pelican Colony
Boulevard, is under construction for completion next year. Sandy Lane is located
between US 41 and the railroad tracks and eventually will be extended to connect
with Old 41 after it has been 4-laned by the City of Bonita Springs. Four vital
road segments are supposed to begin construction in 2006. They are three
segments of Three Oaks Parkway designed to complete the third north-south
corridor from Ft. Myers to Naples and the extension of Estero Parkway over I-75
from Three Oaks to Ben Hill Griffin. The Estero Parkway segment is designed to
take some pressure off the very congested I-75 Corkscrew Interchange.
Traffic congestions will still be a problem in three areas over the next
several years. In addition to ensuring that the above projects are completed on
schedule, Estero’s community leaders continue to focus on road improvements at
those tree locations: US 41 between Corkscrew Road and San Carlos Park; the
Corkscrew I-75 interchange area between Three Oaks Parkway and Ben Hill Griffin
and US 41 between Coconut Road and Old 41 in Bonita Springs.
On December 7th the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the
County’s Transportation Agency that includes representatives of Lee County and
all five of its municipalities, will meet on December 7th to adopt a new long
range, 2030, transportation plan.
In anticipation of this meeting the Estero Council of
Community Leaders (ECCL) has adopted the following long-term vision and set
of priorities for presentation to the MPO.
The Problem Areas: The Estero area has three bottleneck areas that are
not adequately addressed by the current transportation plans and funding. They
• US 41 between Corkscrew Road and San Carlos Park
• The I-75 Corkscrew Road Interchange and the area that surrounds it, and
• The segment of US 41 that is parallel to the planned future gap in Sandy
Lane between Pelican Colony Road and Old 41 in Bonita Springs.
The solution to these problems requires two broad strategies…one for the
north-south corridors west of I-75 and one for the corridors including I-75 and
east of I-75.
The Western Corridor Strategy: The elements of this strategy include:
- Funding the six laning of US 41 between Corkscrew Road and San Carlos
Park so that construction can begin when the ROW and permitting are complete
next year. In any event the Metro Parkway extension to Alico Road should not
be completed prior to the opening of this segment thus compressing 12 lanes
into 4 lanes in this segment,
- Completing the three Three Oaks segments on schedule and, if possible on
an accelerated schedule, so that they are complete before the six-laning of
I-75 gets underway in early 2007. The three segments include the
construction of the Imperial Street section between Bonita Beach Road and
East Terry Street; construction of the Three Oaks segment between East Terry
Street and Coconut Road and the four laning of the existing Three Oaks
segment between Corkscrew Road and Alico Road.
- Funding and construction of Sandy Lane between its southern terminus in
the Coconut Point property to Old 41 using the route agreed to by the County
and the City of Bonita Springs earlier this year.
Implementing this strategy would provide south Lee County travelers, those
shopping in this emerging major commercial area and those passing through the
area with three continuous corridors containing 14 north-south lanes west of
I-75 instead of the six north-south lanes that now serve the area.
The I-75 and East Corridor Strategy: The elements of this strategy
- Completing the Estero Parkway flyover on schedule and before the end of
- Amend the 2030 Plan, the FDOT Works Plan and accelerate the construction
of the ”ultimate” I-75/Corkscrew Interchange and the six laning of Corkscrew
Road between Three Oaks Parkway and Ben Hill Griffin Parkway,
- Complete the six (6) laning of I-75 on the accelerated schedule recently
announced by FDOT (starting in early 2007) and move expeditiously ahead with
the Tollway Authority and the ten (10) laning of I-75 so that it can be
completed by 2011, six years from now.
- Postpone consideration, and inclusion in the 2030 Plan, of the
I-75/Coconut Road Interchange and the new and expanded roads adjacent to it
until the three improvements just listed have been completed, and
- Postpone consideration and inclusion in the 2030 Plan, of the extension
of CR-951 until the three improvements listed above have been completed.
This strategy places a premium on improving existing roads and expanding
others within rights-of-way already owned by the public thus obtaining more road
capacity per dollar than the creation of new roads and interchanges requiring
substantial acquisition of property, much of it in environmentally sensitive
The strategy addresses the Corkscrew Road bottleneck by adding 6 east-west
lanes to the existing four lanes far sooner than any alternative. This will soon
be further supplemented by the City of Bonita Spring’s plans to widen the East
Terry Street flyover to add two more east-west lanes within the next few years,
bringing the total to eight new east-west lanes.
The strategy creates a plan that directs funding to critical needs rather
than letting questionable funding opportunities misdirect improvement activities
to less critical areas and to the financial advantage of large, influential
landowners. Just as in the recent Alaskan “bridges to nowhere” case, those funds
should be redirected to FDOT for use on more critical needs such as the
The Proposed 2030 Plan
The four projects in the proposed 2030 Plan for the I-75/Coconut Road area
- A I-75/Coconut Road Interchange
- Expanding the planned two lane Coconut Road between Three Oaks Parkway
and I-75 to four lanes (We are told this may be deleted in the final plan)
- Constructing a two lane road from I-75 to CR 951, and
- Constructing a new interchange at Coconut Road and CR 951
From our perspective the proposed 2030 Plan:
- is an assault on the ecology of this environmentally sensitive area;
- will be devastating to the wetlands of the area;
- threatens habitat of many animal species that inhabit the lands east of
- begins the assault on the Density Reduction Recharge Area which is the
source of our much of our present and future water supply;
- is a great waste of public funds because of the enormous mitigation
costs that are required; and
- will lead to more and more development thus exacerbating the existing
transportation problems of south Lee County.
In our opinion the emergence of the 10 lane I-75 option greatly reduces the
necessity to move forward with CR-951 at this time. If necessary, we would urge
the funding effort contemplated for CR-951 be allocated to the early 10-laning
Houston’s poor experience with too many Interstate entrances during Hurricane
Rita and the Estero area’s difficulties accessing I-75 during Hurricane Wilma
raises serious public safety questions about the advisability of another I-75
Interchange at Coconut Road.
Inasmuch as funding is available for only one-third of the 2030 Plan,
removing expensive projects like CR 951 and the I-75/Coconut Interchange and the
roads surrounding it makes good fiscal sense.
When these issues are thoroughly revisited again in five years the following
projects will have been completed:
- the Livingston…Imperial…Three Oaks corridor;
- the six laning of I-75;
- the Estero Parkway flyover, and
- the Tollway Authority studies and plans for 10 laning I-75.
- the six laning of US 41 from top to bottom is complete, and
- Corkscrew Road and the Corkscrew I-75 Interchange will have been
That’s the proper time to re-evaluate the need for a CR 951 extension and a
Coconut Road/I-75 Interchange.
On November 2nd the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced
that they were accelerating the widening of I-75 between Daniels Parkway and
Immokalee Road so that construction of this segment could begin in early 2007
and be completed by the end of 2009. In order to accelerate this important
project the State is advancing $106 million in order to fully fund this $484
million project. FDOT believes that the size of the project will attract more
road contractor and workers to southwest Florida in order to complete the
project on schedule and are planning on offering incentives to ensure that it is
completed by the end of 2009.
This change will put more pressure on Lee County DOT to complete the
Livingston/Imperial/Three Oaks corridor on schedule before the 2007-08 “snowbird
During the spring legislative session the Florida legislature approved and
the Governor signed legislation designed to improve the ability of state and
local governments to get the infrastructure up with growth and development. One
of the major programs included in this legislation is called Transportation
Regional Incentive Program (TRIP). On November 28th the FDOT announced that
$10.2 million has been awarded to Lee County to assist in the financing of Three
Oaks Parkway between E. Terry Street and Coconut Road.
These funds should ensure that this project will be able to proceed in early
2006 as scheduled even if the bids are greater than the amount currently
budgeted for the project. If the costs do not increase by this amount it will
free County and City of Bonita Springs road funds allocated to the project for
The construction of Sandy Lane from
Corkscrew Road to Pelican Colony Boulevard is well under way, especially the
segment between Williams Road and Coconut Road. The project is approximately
three miles in length and will cost an estimated $15 million. The developer will
receive impact fee credits for the first two lanes (they get some of their money
back) but will not be reimbursed for the cost of the additional two lanes of
this four lane project.
This segment of Sandy Lane is located along the railroad tracks just east of
US 41, it starts east of the tracks at Corkscrew and crosses the tracks just
north of Williams and will continue along the west side of the tracks until it
reaches the southern end of Coconut
Point near the Sanibel Steakhouse. Since the connection to Old 41 in Bonita
Springs will not be constructed for some time, a four lane connector will be
constructed between Sandy Lane and US 41 forming an intersection with the
existing Pelican Colony Boulevard on the west side of US 41, between the WCI
This three mile roadway will be a four lane road with a landscaped median,
sidewalks and a bike path. It is being constructed in three parts. The northern
segment from Corkscrew Road to Williams Road is expected to be completed in
September 2006. The central segment from Williams Road to Coconut Road is
planned to open in April 2006 in order to better serve the large Coconut Point
Town Center stores that will open for business about that time. The southern
segment from Coconut Road to Pelican Colony Boulevard and west to US 41 will be
completed in September 2006.
Sandy Lane will include two attractively landscaped roundabouts. One will be
located at its intersection with Williams Road and the other at the Sandy
Lane/Pelican Colony Boulevard intersection. When the County and the City of
Bonita Springs complete the road south to Old 41, as is now planned after the
City of Bonita Springs widens Old 41 to four lanes from Terry Street north to US
41, the area between Corkscrew Road and Terry will be served by a fourth
north-south corridor west of I-75, a distance of less than three miles. Upon
completion of this roadway and the six-laning of I-75, a total of 20 lanes will
be available for north-south traffic instead of the 8 north-south lanes we had
The City of Bonita Springs road system greatly affects the ability of Estero
residents to travel to Bonita Springs, Naples and other southern destinations.
The recently adopted City of Bonita Springs Five Year Capital Improvement
Program contains several improvements that should be helpful to all south Lee
County travelers in the years to come. They are:
- The four-laning of Old 41 between US 41 and Rosemary Road. This
$17,125,000 project is budgeted for 2006 and 2007.
- The four-laning of East Terry Street between Old 41 and Imperial Street.
This $6.7 million project is also budgeted through 2007.
- The four-laning of East Terry Street between Imperial Street and Bonita
Grand Drive. This $12.5 million project is for the 2006 through 2009 period.
The budget also includes another $3.2 million to pay the City’s share of the
increased cost of constructing the Imperial/Three Oaks corridor through the
City. Lee County will pay the remainder of the increased cost of these new
roadways. Finally the City’s budget contains $3.2 million for West Terry Street
improvements during the period ending 2008.
Earlier this year the ECCL
Transportation Committee urged Lee County Chief Traffic Engineer Harry
Campbell to study the visibility problems created by the fence on the northwest
corner of this intersection. Mr. Campbell recently responded to this request by
email as follows:
“The Fence at Three Oaks & Williams was one of the items that your
Transportation Committee raised. Could you please pass along the good
news that the County Lands Department, County Attorney and Lee County
Department of Transportation (LCDOT) staffs have successfully worked
together and acquired the dedication of a corner clip at Three Oaks
Parkway & Williams Road and DOT Operations has just relocated the fence
that is on the corner. The representative for the new owner of the
property was very cooperative. Bryan Miller, Clay Simmons and Don
Chamblee are just some of the staff that made this come together. We
want to thank your group for pointing the situation out and appreciate
the opportunity to be of service. By copy of this email to staff, I am
passing along your group's thanks for getting this done and asking that
they pass along this email to the remaining staff who were involved.”
The Committee and the ECCL thank Harry Campbell and all the County staff who
assisted in this project along with Dennis Lynch of Pawlett Associates, LLC, the
owners of the property, for making this improvement possible so expeditiously.
During October Lee County issued building permits for another 288 housing
units in Estero worth $75,616,482 excluding the increased value of the land
under those units. The record for monthly residential permit value was set last
month at nearly $92 million. The major contributors to this month’s total were
Bella terra with 92 units and the West Bay Club with its second 2005 High Rise
Tower, this one containing 109 units.
The following table shows how the first ten months of 2005 compares with the
same period during the prior five years:
Total January- October Housing Units
Building Value of Units
Average Building Value Per Unit
Percentage of Single Family Units
The 2,561 housing units permitted during the first ten months of 2005 exceeds
the total units permitted in any prior year by almost 700 housing units, or 37.5
percent. This year’s permitting is up 84% from last year.
The total permitted value of these units, excluding land, exceeds the prior
record set last year by over $265 million, an 86% increase, and is more than the
total for the last two years combined.
The average building value during 2004 and 2005 of about $220,000 (excluding
land) is 44% higher than the average for the prior four years. This increase is
due to the rapid increase in the cost of construction materials, the changing
mix in the type of housing units being constructed (more single family and high
rise units) along with many other factors.
The total value of permitted commercial buildings, exclusive of land, during
the first 9 months of 2005 equals $71 million. Only calendar year 2000, when the
Hyatt Coconut Point Resort was permitted, exceeds this amount. It is expected
that the value of commercial permits will continue to grow in Estero over the
next several years.
The City of Bonita Spring’s housing development has been growing more rapidly
during the last two years but has slowed in recent months and trails Estero on a
year to date basis by 77% in housing unit value and 69% in the total value of
permitted development during 2005.
REMINDER: The residential building value understates the cost of each
residence because it excludes the value of the underlying land.
During November, Bill Prysi of
Conceptus Land Architectural Technologies, Inc. completed the plan for
landscaping the perimeter of Estero High School in order to improve the
appearance of the school and hide the 3/4th mile long chain link fence that
surrounds the school. In addition Conceptus provided the ECCL Finance Committee
with cost estimates for each of the three phases involved in the project. The
estimated total cost of the project is $127,200. The ECCL would like to publicly
thank Mr. Prysi and Conceptus for donating their professional services to
further this project.
The Committee, led by Dan Dronkers of Marsh Landing, met with High School
Principal George Clover to review the plans and to discuss long term irrigation
and maintenance issues. They plan to meet again in early December to finalize
High School approval of the plan.
In the meantime the ECCL has established a 501©3 entity, called the Estero
Community Improvement Foundation, that can accept contributions, in cash or
in-kind, that are tax-exempt to the donor. Several ECCL member attorneys and
accountants are preparing a draft of the IRS tax-exemption application to be
reviewed by expert counsel prior to submission.
As reported in earlier editions
South Lee County needs a broader base of physicians in order for the community
to be served by a Freestanding Emergency Department or a full service hospital.
Considerable progress has been made this year and 2006 should accelerate this
progress. Recently the Estero Urgent Care facility opened it doors and was soon
followed by two additional medical providers in the Estero Park Commons
In October construction began on the 45,000 square foot
Estero Medical Center
at Plaza del Sol. This facility, when completed next summer, will house 19
doctors, a full service lab, diagnostic testing and a seven day per week urgent
At their presentation to the November EDRC meeting Tom Schneider of the Simon
Property Group indicated that they were considering an amendment to their zoning
in order to substitute medical offices for general office use already approved
for the project. This property is just north of the 22 acres recently acquired
by Lee Memorial Healthcare System for a possible future hospital.
The ECCL Emergency Health Care Committee has been working with Jim Nathan,
President of Lee Memorial, to end the legislative moratorium on Freestanding
Emergency Departments so that such a facility could be developed in Estero as a
precursor of a full service hospital. On November 17th Mr. Nathan, Fire Chief
Dennis Merrifield and the ECCL testified before the local legislative delegation
at their annual pre-legislative session hearing about the need for a
Freestanding Emergency Department in Estero in the near future in order to
prevent loss of life or serious injury due to the length of time it takes to
transport patients to the nearest hospital.
November 28th the County’s Local Planning Agency unanimously approved a large
package of changes in the Estero section of Lee County’s Land Development Code,
the enforceable standards that guide what developers can and cannot build in
Estero. This package of changes reorganizes all the existing provisions,
consolidating all of them into one location so that developers and their design
and engineering professionals can work with them more efficiently. The package
of changes includes provisions covering “big box” standards, signage standards,
a new Overlay District for US 41 along with the existing standards for gas
stations and convenience stores, the Corkscrew Road Overlay and buffering
standards between residential and commercial projects. During November the Board
of County Commissioners also held their first public hearing on the package.
Their second public hearing and vote on approval of the changes is scheduled for
5:05 p.m. on December 13th in the Board Chambers, second floor, 2120 First
Street in Ft. Myers. Followers of Estero’s planning process are invited to
attend and lend their support to the ECPP’s efforts these last four years.
Until 2005 over 90% of
Estero's development has been housing. In the late 1990's Estero's commercial
development was launched by the Miromar Factory Outlets Mall and
Germaine) Arena and the much smaller
Corkscrew Village Shopping Center. In 2001
the Hyatt Corporation opened the
Hyatt Coconut Point Resort and Spa. These have
been Estero's commercial anchors until now.
As the following table indicates in 2004 and 2005 twenty commercial projects
began construction in Estero. Of that total five projects are major undertakings
-- The first two phases of the Coconut Point Town Center Shopping, the South
Village at Coconut Point, the first phase of the
Miromar International Design
Center and the seven-story Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center. Several
others are substantial undertakings that in many communities would be considered
In addition there are several major projects that will soon be getting
underway and will be completed in 2006 or 2007. They are:
- Phase Five of the Miromar Outlets Mall
will begin construction after the
first of the year and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2006,
- Estero Town Commons, a major shopping center on the southeast corner of Three
Oaks and Corkscrew Road, will begin site preparation next month. When that is
complete construction will begin on the 25,000 square foot small store buildings
along Three Oaks Parkway and the 168,000 square foot Lowe’s store at the rear of
the property. The Lowe’s store is expected to open for business in October 2006,
- News reports indicate that
Coconut Crossings, formerly Coconut Road CPD,
located on the northwest corner of US 41 and Coconut Road, has sold or leased
many of its ten parcels of property. The rear 12 acres has been sold to The Hine
Group for development of 142 multi-family residential units. Also five of the
eight out-parcels have been sold or are under contract. Two, maybe three, banks
will be located on this corner along with one pharmacy.
On November 9th the Simon Property Group updated the
EDRC on the projects approved by the Simon Development Review Authority (DRA)
and Development Order (DO) submissions and approvals by Lee County. Both the DRA
and the County have reviewed and approved the Market area shops that constitute
the northern section of the development. Recently the DRA has approved the
design of the 185,000 square foot Dillard’s store after considerable haggling
In addition the DRA has approved the design of the
Residences of Coconut
Point to be constructed by Kosene and Kosene.
Elements that have not yet been completed or presented and approved by the
DRA include the following:
• Hardscape and landscape
Other parts of the development that are undergoing change or are being
negotiated with possible tenants include:
• The 2.3 acre site in the southeast corner of the property just north and
west of the lake by Coconut Road and the railroad tracks may become an office
building or another residential project,
• An amendment to the development’s Development of Regional Impact (DRI) may be
necessary in order to replace some of the 90,000 square feet of office space
with 24,000 square feet of medical office. This change would accommodate a
two-level medical building on an outlot along US41 just north of Coconut Road.
• The developer announced the Board of County Commissioners would soon vote upon
the developers proposal to change the name of Sandy Lane to Via Coconut Point.
If the lighting and signage plans are complete by the EDRC’s December meeting,
Tom Schneider, Simon’s Director of Development, will present them at that time,
otherwise, it will be the January meeting.
A question was raised as to when the landscaping and berm would be completed
along US 41. Mr. Schneider replied that they were waiting for the utilities and
irrigation to be installed and that they would also like this to be completed as
soon as possible. They expect the needed utilities by January.
On November 17th Simon Property Group announced that the following
restaurants would also be located in Coconut Point:
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Doc Green’s Gourmet Salads, and
Shane’s Rib Shack.
View an Exciting Video of Simon’s Plans for the Coconut Point Town Center on
the web at www.coconutpointretail.com
This site is on the south side of Corkscrew Road
east of I-75 between Stoneybrook Golf Drive and Firehouse Lane. A communications
tower is under construction on the east side of the site. The requested
Development Order is for site infrastructure including roads and utilities. The
property consists of 21 acres with a large conservation area at the south end of
The developers plan to replat the site into two separate parcels which can be
sold separately. When the replatted sites are sold and ready for development, the
owners will return to present their plans to the EDRC. The landscape plan
contains a Type D buffer on the east, west and north sides. The general tree
requirement is met by the conservation area.
The committee recommended that there should be a common set of appearance
standards that would apply to the two parcels so that the design of the two
projects would be compatible with one another. The developer’s representative
indicated he would bring this to the attention of US Homes, the owner of the
property. The appearance standards should contain architecture, landscaping,
lighting and signage standards etc. This request is most important because of
the property’s long, 1,800 foot frontage along Corkscrew Road. There is no
signage included in the current development order. The developer’s
representative agreed to submit the appearance guidelines to EDRC for review.
On November 9th representatives of the
developers of Paradise Shoppes and
ABC Fine Wines and Spirits met with the EDRC
and the community to discuss their Development Order plans for a store on Parcel
2B of this 22 acre development on the northwest corner of Williams Road and US
41. Paradise Shoppes had previously presented Parcel 2A to the EDRC. The ABC
store would be connected to the multi use building on Parcel 2A and be
compatible in appearance with it. The Paradise Shoppes development has a set of
design standards that apply to all the projects in the development. This is the
fourth Paradise Shoppes project that has been presented to the EDRC in recent
months. The others are a Walgreens drug store, a
Steak n Shake restaurant and
the building on Parcel 2A.
The ABC representative said their projects were unique and this was not like
the store design of its store at US 41 and Gladiolus Boulevard in South Fort
Myers. The applicant indicated the color scheme would be the same as other
Paradise Shoppes buildings although his rendering showed somewhat different
colors. The corbels will be the same as those on the Paradise Shoppes.
The Committee suggested that the building needed more vertical and horizontal
articulation in its roof lines. The rear of the building will be visible to
residents of the Meadows and therefore also needs more articulation and
landscaping. The applicant indicated that all the landscaping was approved under
prior Paradise Shoppes approvals except for foundation plantings around the
building itself which ABC is providing.
The entrance to the store is on the corner of the building. Thus the
Committee suggested the developer add some tall trees to break up the adjacent
wall. More plant height is required to add vertical articulation and detail. The
Committee further recommended that the roof elements should be consistent with
the rest of Paradise Shoppes buildings. Applicant responded that this is a
single user, but the Committee showed the applicant a rendering of the Lowe’s
store that will be built at Estero Town Commons with a design that makes it
appear like it is many smaller shops. The rear of the building should contain
some design elements and perhaps two groups of palms surrounding it. The
developer agreed to return next month before a DO letter is issued by EDRC.
On October 12th Empire Builders appeared before the EDRC
to present their plans for constructing
40,000 square feet of office space in
four buildings on the eastern four acres of the Galleria property along the
north side of Corkscrew Road just across from the entrance to the new
On November 9th the developer’s representatives returned with the following
design changes in responses to the Committee’s suggestions:
• The monument sign now is 17 foot wide and 12 foot high
• Corbels have been added and the colors changed to match the rest of the
• Four parking spaces were removed at the western front of the property and some
palms were added in this area in order to shield the parking lots. In return for
this change the Committee gave its full support to a deviation allowing parking
to begin slightly less than 75 feet from the Corkscrew Road ROW.
• The Committee indicated that they were still not supportive of the pastel
colors presented at this meeting and were much more in favor of the colors shown
on the full-size rendering. This request would be passed on to the
• The developer’s representative agreed to add five shade trees to the west
island side along the internal roadway
On October 14th representatives of CVS
Pharmacy presented their plans to the ECPP for a proposed 12,900 square-foot CVS
Pharmacy within the Plaza Del Sol commercial development at the northeast corner
of Corkscrew Road and Three Oaks Parkway. CVS plans to build this store on the
Corkscrew Road parcel that is located just east of the corner parcel. The
developer is seeking a change in the existing zoning that would provide a
deviation from the setback requirement for parking lots located in the Corkscrew
Road Overlay of the Estero Land Development Code provisions.
On November 9th the CVS representatives returned to the ECPP with revised
plans for the project. The major revision was placement of the building’s
drive-through facility on the west side of the property, allowing the building
to be moved closer to the south property line, a reduction in the previously
requested 80-foot setback to approximately 65 feet. The Panel’s Fire District
representative noted that the height of the drive-through canopy and the width
of the drive-through lane surrounding the building must accommodate the height,
width and turning radius necessary for large emergency vehicles. The Developer
concurred in this requirement.
The Panel asked for a reduction of five feet in the building’s 20 foot, (Type
D), landscaping buffer between the storm water drainage easement and the
facility’s drive-through lane. This change would further reduce the building’s
distance from Corkscrew Road to 60 feet. The Panel also asked that the requested
deviation in setback distance be tied to the storm water management easement
area to prevent this deviation, if granted, from being cited as a precedent for
other development proposals requesting such deviations.
The Panel also suggested that a six-foot wall, as a continuance of the wall
on the property to the west of this site, could also be used to reduce the
setback. The Panel indicated that such a wall, if it is included in the plan,
should be landscaped and contain some of the same architectural elements and a
similar design as is used on the property to the west. Finally, the Panel
complimented the developer on the design’s improvements and said that if the
property’s buffering is installed within the storm water easement, the Corkscrew
Overlay’s distance requirements could be even better satisfied.
Another panelist asked if a sidewalk would be constructed on the south side
of the building to allow pedestrian access from Corkscrew Road, one of the
original intents of the Overlay district. The developer agreed that a five foot
wide sidewalk could be added within the buffer area. The Panel also indicated
that pedestrian access to CVS from Corkscrew Road with an extension of the
sidewalk would be desirable and that a discussion by the developer with county
staff would be appropriate.
On November 9th the
developer’s representative of Estero Park Commons returned to the ECPP to
discuss a revision in the proposal for this site which is located on the
southwest corner of Corkscrew Road and Corkscrew Palms Boulevard, the future
entry road to the Estero Community Park. The proposed revision would consolidate
two single story office and retail buildings on the southeast corner of the site
into one, two-story building for the same use totaling the same 24,300 square
The revision already had been reviewed by county staff without objection. The
developer indicated that the building design would be compatible to the adjacent
buildings within Estero Park Commons and would not appear unsightly from the
Community Park at the rear of the property. The Panel asked that the parking
area be more intensively landscaped since the parking area was increased from 81
to 115 spaces. The developers representative responded that landscaping would be
consistent if not exceed those desired in Estero.