Estero Community Planning Panel
New Chapter 33 Provisions
third round of LDC Provisions, which moves all Estero related
regulations into Chapter 33, were presented at Public Hearings on
Tuesday, November 22, 2005 and Tuesday, December 13, 2005. The Board of
County Commissioners approved them without change.
You can read the ordinance as adopted in this 66 page PDF
On December 13th, 2005 the BOCC unanimously approved Estero’s
most comprehensive set of Land Development Code (LDC) changes. These
LDC provisions govern the layout, quality, compatibility and
appearance of development in Estero.
These legal requirements, along with the
Community Plan, will guide the
Estero Community Planning
Panel (ECPP) and the
Estero Design Review Committee (EDRC) in their advisory review
of requested zoning and project development (DO) applications from
Recently, County staff decided to create a new chapter of the
Land Development Code, Chapter 33, exclusively for “Planning
Community Regulations”. As a result all of Estero’s unique Land
Development Code provisions will be found in one place, not
scattered around the County’s voluminous Land Development Code.
Earlier rounds of Estero LDC changes accomplished the following:
Increased buffering requirements for all
commercial projects but especially between commercial and
residential projects so that residents would not be negatively
impacted by noise, odors and other forms of pollution,
- Special provisions for automobile service
stations and convenience food and beverage stores to reduce the
intensity of their canopy lighting, upgrade their appearance and
limit their numbers by establishing a minimum separation
- Created the Corkscrew Main Street Overlay
District and established Design Standards and Property
Development Regulations that impact all developments located
along Corkscrew Road,
- Created General Signage Guidelines
applicable throughout the Estero community.
When it comes to managing development the “devil is in the
details”. As a result this consolidated Land Development Code
amendment contains eighty sections; forty five pages of detailed
provisions affected every aspect of any commercial project that want
to locate in the Estero Planning Community and twenty-two pages of
graphics that help to explain what the provisions are seeking.
In addition to consolidating and reorganizing all Estero’s
existing provisions, the amendment makes the following major
- Creates extensive standards for the
development of “Big Boxes”, buildings with at least 50,000
square feet of retail space for a single user or 100,000 square
feet for more than one user,
- Creates new Overlay Districts for Sandy
Lane and US 41 applying most of the design standards that have
been applicable along Corkscrew Road these last three years
along with some new ones.
The Land Development Code organizes the thirty-three sections of
the Estero Design Guidelines into five categories: Basic elements,
Architectural, Landscaping, Transportation and Signs. The following
are some examples of how each of these categories is raising the
quality of development in Estero’s Overlay Districts that now
contain all of the community’s commercial corridors.
Among the “basic elements” of the Design Guidelines are
- “all utility lines must be located underground except when
located within a public street or road with-of-way”,
- “Places of public interest/open space are intended to
provide for areas of public interest within commercial
developments and must be provided where possible. These areas
must be equipped with amenities such as seating areas,
structures that provide shade, drinking fountains and other
- “Lighting must be given a distinct architectural theme that
complements the building’s exterior. Light fixtures must
complement the overall building development…. Provide lighting
throughout all parking areas utilizing decorative light
Some key Architectural Design Guidelines are:
- “The preferred architectural style in the
Estero Planning Community is Mediterranean, with Old Florida
where appropriate, and other styles of architecture that are
deemed compatible with these styles”.
- “Buildings of less than 5,000 square feet
of gross floor area must be designed with roofs having a minimum
pitch of 30 degrees”.
- “…all proposed commercial, industrial,
public and mixed use buildings must blend with and complement
existing architectural features of adjacent structures
constructed under these standards”.
- “Buildings must be designed to be visually
appealing from all directions”.
- “Exterior facades of out-parcel buildings
must be treated as primary facades and must employ
architectural, site, and landscaping design elements that are
common to the theme used on the main development on site
including colors and materials associated with the main
A few of the important Landscaping Design Guidelines are:
- “All landscape buffer designs should complement adjacent
project buffers to help aid in establishing a continuous
landscape theme within the Estero Planning Community”.
- “Developments must provide separation between pedestrian and
vehicular movement by using plantings as space defining
- “All required trees must be a minimum 45 gallon container,
12-14 foot planted height, 6 foot spread and 31/2 inch caliper,
or field grown equivalent, at the time of planting”. These are
much larger trees than is required elsewhere in Lee County.
The transportation sections focus primarily on making
Estero pedestrian and bicycle friendly. Some key provisions are:
- “Pedestrian walkways must be provided for
each public vehicular entrance to a project…”
- “Sidewalks or bikeways must be installed
along all project frontage roads, and whenever possible must be
separated from the edge of pavement by a minimum 4’ planting
- “Bicycle racks are required for all retail
and office developments within overlay districts’.
- “Developments must provide street
furniture and other pedestrian amenities in their design”.
The Signage Design Guidelines include the following
- Prohibit animated, emitting electronic changing message,
figure structure, poll, pylon and off-site directional signs as
well as the use of balloons, banners, pennants and other flying
- Limits the use of temporary signs
- Extensively regulates all signage in all commercial and
industrial areas so that all identification signs are monument
signs that are wider than they are tall; may be no more than 17
feet in height; must use at least 25% of the sign for
architectural design; must be lighted attractively; must match
the architectural style of the building or development.
Originally published in the
December 2005 Estero Development Report