ESTERO COMMUNITY PLANNING PANEL
Minutes of Public Meeting #138 – April 16, 2012
Estero Community Park, Estero, Florida
Lienesch, Chairman, Estero Community Association; Neal Noethlich,
Emeritus Chairman; Ned Dewhirst, Estero Development Community; Jeff
Maas, Estero Chamber of Commerce; John Goodrich, ECCL; Lena Boles,
Recording Secretary, ECCL; Roger Strelow, ECCL; Paul Roberts, Estero
Development Community, Bev
MacNellis, Treasurer; Greg Toth, Founding Member.
Also present: Kathie
Ebaugh, Division of Planning, Lee County Department of Community
Development; Dan DeLisi, DeLisi Fitzgerald, Inc.
Posted on the Estero website.
Dewhirst: Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the
March 19, 2012 meeting and accept them as written, edited and posted.
Treasurer MacNellis reported a balance of $1,564.72.
Goodrich: Motion to accept the report.
Roger Strelow: Seconded.
Bella Terra Commercial
Felix Pardo, Tony Gonzales representing Habitat LLC and
Jon Hagan ,Sam Marshall of Banks Engineering presented their proposal
for a rezoning and DRI amendment of a portion of the Bella Terra DRI
affecting the 12.35 acres adjacent to Corkscrew Road and just west of
the Bella Terra entrance.
The request is to change the zoning and DRI which was modified/approved
in 2007 (120,000 sf of commercial retail, 20,000 sf of office and 30
multi-family units) to a new project incorporating 49,000 sf of
commercial (25,000 sf of retail, 9,000 sf of office and a 15,000 sf
mini-storage facility) and 196 multi-family units in four buildings.
The master concept plan was reviewed and reasons for the change
were highlighted by the developer team.
The multi-family units will be rental apartments with their own
amenities located outside the Bella Terra gate, landscaping and
buffering would be same as prior zoning, and an additional use for the
mini-storage facility would be requested.
The following data were presented by the developer comparing
units, open space and green space for the entire DRI:
questioning by the panel, it was noted that no submission package from
the developer had been received by any member, just a two-month old
letter from the county detailing that much additional information is
required including a CPD Master Concept Plan.
Some notices had indicated that an assisted living facility was
part of the project; other notices did not show this usage.
Other panel discussed issues included:
approved vs proposed traffic
(decrease of overall traffic on Corkscrew Road indicating that the CPD
will still be less than the 7177 approved 2-way trips over 24 hours);
confirmed project access will be by an added right in-right out passage
into the CPD from Corkscrew plus the existing entrance from Bella Terra
Boulevard; height of apartment buildings are 3- story/45’max (but
maximum height to the roof peak is projected to be less than the 45 ft
allowed) with a building setback of 80’ from south property line.
Dewhirst commented a) an enhanced southern buffer could mitigate
possible multi-family height/visual issues; b) uniform architectural
standards should be required; c) major shopping services have developed
within 2 ½ miles west of project; and d) compromises by both developer
and residents could result in an acceptable/viable project.
Neal commented that the developer and residents should contact
the CRSA organization to ensure the project will be compliant with their
questioned what had changed since 2007 to reduce the commercial
component? The response was
that market conditions at this time preclude this – they stated that
CVS, Walgreens and Publix were not interested in locating a retail store
at that location.
Bella Terra residents had signed into the meeting and our assessment is
there were nearly 300 people in the room.
The panel had received over 20 emails prior to this meeting in
opposition to the rezone.
Robert King had been designated to summarize the residents’ concerns
regarding the rezone:
The community was truly shocked to hear about both the
reduction in shopping (which they desperately need at that site) and the
increase of 192 residential rental units.
Many in Bella Terra are young working families and this will add
+ 400 vehicles exiting each morning and entering each evening and no
public transportation is available or planned.
Bella Terra is nearing build out (1700 homes completed out of
2099 approved), and with no traffic light present, exiting to the west
is already difficult.
Several accidents have occurred at that location.
The elevation shows apartment buildings – visitors from
the west will see those buildings first before they have a chance to
drive into the attractive gate area to the main development.
Also the view from the Bella Terra amenities just to the
southwest of the gate will also view these buildings 80 feet from the
county noted in their comments that “reducing the commercial element and
replacing it with a residential element seems contrary to the intent of
having a CPD in proximity to a substantially large residential
community.” Robert also felt
the residents had been promised some sort of commercial amenity at that
site to service the needs of not only Bella Terra but also the
developing Cameratta property to the West and their planned development
to the East.
other residents commented regarding the rental units, issues with
college student renters, traffic concerns, lack of integrity of the
developer, and many other items.
panel recommended that a subgroup from Bella Terra and the developer
team meet on-site to discuss these issues and attempt to come to an
accommodation. The panel
also commented that we cannot move forward with our assessment without
proper documentation (a more detailed master concept plan, traffic
studies, setbacks, schedule of uses, list of deviations, etc.) that are
part of our required submission package.
The developer indicated they would comply with these requests and
return for a later ECPP meeting to address them in more detail.
Estero on the River for Sale – Andy D’Jamoos
indicated that the property is financially stable but the world has
changed since the original MCP was designed and the current zoning was
approved. Mixed use is not
working in SW Florida based on several cited examples:
Coconut Point, Mercado,
5th Avenue South among them.
The panel questioned Andy regarding potential public access to
the Estero River which runs through the site.
It was noted that in both our public workshops on updating our
community plan, the enhancement to the community of public use of this
site was mentioned several times.
Andy indicated no TIF money or other incentives are currently
available. The future of the
canoe livery was discussed as well.
The panel stated it wanted to plant a seed with this developer
that the community has hopes of future public access onto the property
for the river amenity. Greg
noted that a probable rezoning will be an opportunity to plan better a
park atmosphere and public access to the river.
Colonial Oaks added
indicated this had been done via email polling since the March meeting
and he wanted to ensure it got into the minutes.
The panel had few concerns about this addition and told Pam Houck
that we were generally in favor of the residents’ proposal.
announced there would be a meeting with the developer, the Conservancy,
and the county on April 19th to discuss how to compromise
keeping the development in the DR/GR but accommodating the additional
increased density to 800 units that is being requested.
Community Plan Update Project
Delisi updated the panel on what had transpired since our March meeting
– the Highlands Avenue community meeting was held on March 31st
at Founders Hall at the church to discuss with residents of the historic
district various ways to enhance that area consistent with our updated
community plan efforts. Dan,
Jeff, Bill and Sis attended plus about 10 residents. Lots of topics were
discussed. Their first
product is due in SE per our plan – they want to focus on the historic
district for now and open it up to architectural overlays, water access,
bike paths etc. at a later time.
David Graham Award
Maas indicated the selected recipient was unable to attend the ULI
meeting this month and we will have to wait for a different time/venue
later to present the award.
Noethlich: Motion to adjourn meeting. Lienesch: Seconded.
was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
May 21, 2012, 6:00 p.m., Estero Community Park.