Estero Council of Community Leaders
Minutes of the Regular Monthly Meeting
February 18, 2005
Chairman Eslick called the 28th meeting to order in the River Club of Pelican Sound at 2:00 p.m. A quorum was present.
Three new attendees were acknowledged and introduced:
Judge David Craig from the Villages of Country Creek
Al Meyers from Grandezza
Jane McNew representing Belle Lago
Minutes of the January 14, 2005, meeting, distributed before the meeting, were approved.
The Treasurer reported that invoices were mailed to 30 communities for yearly dues of $100.00 and 17 have responded, 13, as of yet, have not. Individual contributions have amounted to $975.00. With expenses of $245 the balance in the bank is $2440.56. The Treasurer’s report was accepted.
Barb Akins announced some representative changes. Corkscrew Woodlands’ MEMBER will be Shirley Woody with ALTERNATE Chris Carlson. The Estero Fire Rescue District MEMBER is Dennis Merrifield; ALTERNATE is Jim Clarke. Barb noted that the library representatives should be listed as "Friends of the South County Regional Library, Inc.", not the South Regional Library. All new members were approved unanimously.
Chairman Eslick encouraged members to volunteer and to seek volunteers within their communities for the following activities:
- To recruit new members from communities not yet represented.
- People to run and manage an action program for roads.
- Corridor monitors who will look for code violations.
- A county code enforcement liaison.
- Editors who will assist on the Estero Development Report. One or two people who are capable writers would be very helpful.
- Action program to obtain a stop light at Estero Parkway and U.S. 41
- Estero Community Park Programs...need a representative to interact with the County Parks and Recreation Department.
- Liaison with all environmental organizations.
Jim Fraser reported the results of a second bid for insurance covering the liability of Officers and Directors. $1 million of coverage would cost an annual fee of $1,254. The insurance would be purchased through Markel Insurance Company, a AAA rated company. The purchase of this $1 million policy was voted upon and accepted.
Bob Perry reported he has a committee together to kick off this project. The school principal is enthusiastic about the landscaping proposal. The plan is to landscape 7/10 of a mile along the school’s chain link fence. Al O’Donnell will draw up some plans and cost them out. Funds will then need to be solicited.
This project was one of the reasons for the ECCL to become a 501©4 corporation. Sandy Lane will be a four lane county road built by the
Coconut Point developers. Therefore, there has been no county money designated for landscaping. County grant programs have been investigated. The grant will ask the County to pay for trees and grass for the complete three miles. (Called intensified core landscaping). The developers want more shrubbery south of the railroad tracks, so they will pay for these items and for the perpetual care of that length of the road (south). The County will maintain the trees and grass north of the railroad tracks. Developers will add $200,000 in additional landscaping and pay for that maintenance (south of RR). The county grant could be about $300,000 for the trees and grass.
Jim Merritt reported on a meeting of about 7 people from the ECCL and the city officials of Bonita Springs; Mayor, city manager and city attorney. They indicated it would take about 12 months to implement an annexation proposal. The area to be annexed must be studied first for adequacy of municipal services. No formal action has been taken by the city yet. Financial benefits are the City’s priority…ECCL view was the quality of life…Even though we are unincorporated, we have some of the highest and stringent rules concerning architecture, landscaping, signage etc., ECCL left the meeting taking the “high road”, not disparaging toward them, but being realistic and practical. Bonita Springs expressed concerns about the Village with a Vision program.
Several of the members attended a meeting of the Bonita Chamber of Commerce where city manager Price made a presentation of what he plans to recommend to the City Council. He made it very clear that it was the dollars, tax revenues to the City that were driving the effort. His map and comments smacked of empire building. Environmentalists at the meeting questioned the planned use of the vacant areas on the map. The City now has 6 Commission districts and Price indicated that he did not favor any increase in representation.
Gordon Lyons reported that Bonita Springs has no set of appearance standards such as Estero has with the EDRC. Examples of Hummer dealer, YMCA, neon palm trees, etc. Not consistent with the vision included in the Estero Community Plan.
John Ruehl resented Mr. Price’s question asking “What is Estero?” According to manager Price it is nothing more than a “fire district”. Mr. Ruehl does not agree with Mr. Price’s statement that Estero is not a community. Arnie Rosenthal stated that, in his opinion, Bonita is basically money oriented while Estero focuses on quality of life, compatibility, neighborhoods working together.
Annexation Review Committee will soon be meeting with Attorney Tom Hart to discuss where we go from here and report back to the ECCL at the March meeting.
Neal Noethlich reported about the impact of County Road 951 from the Collier county line to Alico Road as a north south corridor road. The Alignment Study is in its 2nd year of a 3 year study. The County staff preferred road alignment infringes on the neighborhoods of Grandezza, Stoneybrook and Wildcat Run. Ray Judah is open to and is considering positioning himself to push for the route to go much further east than has been considered by this study. Neal stated a huge effort is needed by the Estero community to prevent this staff recommended route from being selected.
John Ruehl stated 6 communities with 12,000 people are resisting this with an attorney and an engineering firm. There are alternatives that DO make sense. The proposed route raises serious concerns if a disaster requiring evacuation were to occur. Chairman suggested a Transportation Committee be formed to organize and build upon what Neal and John are doing so far and to make recommendations to the ECCL.
Barb Akins announced that the Civic Association will have a meeting on March 14 at
Stoneybrook about CR 951.
Ron Dillon of Oakbrook Properties is moving on to another job and will not be reporting to the ECCL after today. North Pointe has thus far not entered into any land sales. Regarding Coconut Point, he reported that Jim Wallace, the developer of
Rapallo has sold 540 condo units. They will all be completed in 2 ½ years …in 2007. The Estero Fire Rescue station is nearing completion in front of Rapallo. Landscaping has been installed in front of Rapallo. Simon Town Center, due to permit delays the opening originally scheduled for this fall has been delayed to next spring. From Sanibel Steakhouse, wrapping around the Brooks Health center--Lee Memorial has purchased 21 acres from Oakbrook Properties for the future— it will be 08-09 or later. A housing developer has purchased land in the South Village for 224 units for either rental or for sale housing. Also an adult living community of 210 units with no health care services is planned for the area near Lee Memorials property.
Mr. Dillon was presented a plaque for his “contributions in making Estero a special place” from the ECCL, the EDRC, ECCO and the Civic Association..
Dennis Merrifield reported on a Healthcare Visioning Session sponsored by Lee Memorial. He reported that Lee Memorial is not quite sure what they will do with the property at
Coconut Point at this time. State hospital location standards must be met first. Some of these are being changed and may present an opportunity for a new type of facility in the not too distant future.
John Ruehl reported that the
Stoneybrook community has been successful in getting a commitment for sound barrier protection after a meeting with FDOT. . Sam Levy reported that the
Brooks would not receive any sound barriers because the existing 22 foot barrier satisfies state standards.
Corkscrew Woodlands will also be getting a sound barrier when the road is widened.
Chairman Eslick reported about 3 areas of recently announced road delays; US 41 in Bonita by the bridge, the Estero Parkway Flyover and Treeline Drive. The first two are state roads while Treeline is a project of the Lee County Port Authority. We have had poor communication with FDOT since Sara Clarke has been gone. We need an action group with roadways, particularly state, whether it be petitions, letters, lobbying politicians, etc. The Transportation Committee needs to decide and set up a plan of action and bring it back to the ECCL. Please volunteer for this committee. Bonnie Brandt reported no cooperation from FDOT regarding the design of the US 41 widening adjacent to her community of
Sunny Grove Park. It was suggested that we do not forget Lee DOT also.
Volunteers are need for monitoring corridors. Gordon Lyons reported about the excess number of newspaper boxes in the area.
Jim Ramsburg reported on a successful schedule for the Village with a Vision presentation. Plans are under way with
Coconut Point Hyatt for a Friday evening and a Saturday morning showing. Jim was wearing a Village with a Vision logo golf shirt.
Chairman Eslick reported that 2 developers, Paradise Shoppes (Including Walgreen’s) plus West Bay have cooperated in developing a plan to solve the traffic problem at this intersection. They met with the county and the road will be widened to include 2 eastbound left turning lanes. West Bay has contributed property toward this project. The changes will all be a result of community action. The developers are to be commended.
On Feb 19, Representative Connie Mack and Chairman Young of the House Transportation Committee will be at FGCU in the Student Union to speak about transportation needs, problems, etc.
On April 1, a meeting will be held entitled “Will Nature Survive Our Growth” at FGCU from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone interested is invited to attend.
A web site that may be of interest to some members is “Solutions to Avoid Red Tide”. Look at www.start1.com
One of our guests reported that he attended a meeting of this private sector group who are working on projects to enhance our water supply and quality.
The meeting was closed at 4:15 by Chairman Eslick.
Next meeting will be Friday, March 18th at Pelican Sound River Club at 2:00 p.m.
Faie Saunders, Secretary