ESTERO COMMUNITY PLANNING PANEL
Minutes of Public Meeting #147 - April 15, 2013
Estero Community Park, Estero, Florida
CALL TO ORDER:
The Meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by Panel Member John Goodrich as acting Chair in the absence of Chairman Lienesch.
Panel Members present: Paul Roberts, Estero Development Community; Roger Strelow, ECCL; John Goodrich, ECCL, Ned Dewhirst, Estero Development Community, Greg Toth, Founding member, Howard Levitan, Secretary, and Bev MacNellis, Treasurer. Absent: Jack Lienesch, Chairman, Neal Noethlich, Emeritus Chairman, and Jeff Maas, Estero Chamber of Commerce.
Also present: Kathie Ebaugh from Lee County Community Development, Jeremy Franz from the SW Florida Conservancy, and members of the public Steve Crane and Jeff Kleeger.
Public Notice: Secretary Levitan reported that the meeting notice was posted on the ECPP website. He noted that a quorum of the ECPP was present for this meeting.
Minutes of the prior meeting. Acting Chairman Goodrich noted that the minutes of the March 18, 2013 meeting had been vetted by the Panel, and the updated version is posted on our ECPP website. Motion made, seconded and unanimously passed to accept the minutes as written.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer MacNellis presented her Treasurers Report, which noted a balance of $252.68 in the checking account. She detailed the disbursements for the month and the deposits/credits. Motion made, seconded and unanimously passed to accept the Treasurers Report.
PRESENTATIONS: No Developer presentations were on the agenda.
Community Planning Workshop. ECCL sponsored the Seth Henry workshop to learn from a recognized expert in the area of commercial zoning matters. ECCL spent two days of meetings reviewing the commercially zoned but un-built space in Estero. They have yet to receive the recommendations from the consultant. The next ECCL Board Meeting at the end of April will have a recommendation to provide the summary and background information to all of the ECPP Panel Members. Goodrich stated that hopefully, the takeaway will be to have ECCL make recommendations to ECPP for purposes of the revisions to the Community Plan. There were questions about why the whole panel was not invited. Goodrich stated that ECCL did not want to have some developers who were on the panel present but not invite all of the developers.
Bylaws: Secretary Levitan described the changes that he is drafting to the Bylaw revision presented at the March Meeting. This will be finalized and sent to the Panel by email over the next month, and brought for a vote at the May Meeting.
Directors and Officers Insurance. Secretary Levitan reported that the D&O Insurance policy is now in effect for ECPP and EDRC. The cost of this policy will be advanced by ECCL subject to reimbursement by ECPP when the Panel has the funds.
Gonzalez Fence Issue. There was some discussion about whether this has been noticed to the abutters and the HOA. We have some notice that Chairman Lienesch did send a note of approval for this to Pam Hauck.
WalMart Sidewalk Issue. This Administrative Amendment appeared acceptable to the Panel except for one note by Ned Dewhirst who had responded directly to Chairman Lienesch. Ned had suggested some additional sidewalk connections to US 41 and Estero Blvd if possible. A question arose as to whether the Panel could or should handle such issues by email. Kathy Ebaugh stated that items regarding zoning matters are not under Sunshine and therefore we could handle this issue by email. John Goodrich stated that he had talked to Staff Counsel Donna Marie Collins as to informational meetings such as those dealing with Community Plan.
There followed a general discussion about how and when to handle email approvals for the panel between meetings. Kathie Ebaugh stated that she will provide a discussion about this at the next meeting. Only planning issues are subject to the Sunshine via the Contract between ECPP and the County for the Community Plan. It was noted that the development community expects that we will handle certain small matters that arise between meetings as expeditiously as possible. If ECPP is going to have such discussions by email we have to be able to use “reply to all.” Most of the comments from the Panel focused on the need to have a stated policy as to when and how we would make decisions between meetings by email. This subject of the use of email in decision making was deferred to the next meeting when Chairman Lienesch could be present.
History Presentation. The Staff Intern presentation on the history of Estero is being delayed until June or July Meeting.
Land Use Element. Kathie Ebaugh gave a lengthy presentation regarding New Horizon 2035 updates to the Lee County Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Code. All of this is specified in the new draft Land Use Element. They will be doing this presentation throughout the County. In the interim after they adopt the new Plan they will then have to process amendments to the LDC.
The four premises of New Horizons 2035 are Livable Places, Quality of Life, Sense of Place, and Mixed Use Communities. Strong connections and transit systems are critical to making this work. Community character is very important to the County, with especially vibrant communities. They have moved all of the provisions with respect to the communities to the Community Element.
Central Themes: diversified, mixed use places in both an urban and suburban framework. They want to promote urban development as long as the suburban neighborhoods are protected and the rural communities are maintained for the future with a strong agricultural base. One key is to simplify the approval process to accomplish this.
Urban development is promoted by higher densities up to 40 units per acre. Mixed use centers are also promoted with multimodal transportation and urban service levels which are more complicated and have a much higher use. Therefore infrastructure needs to be greater. To accomplish this goal, there is incentive density based on providing infrastructure and higher urban service levels in addition to TDRs and other bonus density methods. County Capital Improvements (“CIP”) will also provide incentives for this type of development. Urban Core, Urban Place and Urban Neighborhood are the three types of urban development, each with a base, standard and bonus density specified. The types of the activities that generate bonus density will not be specified in the Comp Plan, but will wait for the LDC changes.
Suburban areas reflect existing densities with four different categories. The same concept of base, standard and bonus densities will be applicable. Rural areas have lowest densities with no category changes. No changes to the DR/GR concepts have been planned. In the urban categories, the concept of gated communities would no longer be favored, as these categories focus on mixed use developments. These mixed use centers are also applicable to the other urban categories to promote town center development. County Staff is developing mixed use centers in the Urban Core in very specific communities like Tice, North Fort Myers, and Lehigh Acres, and this is done on an administrative order basis allowing developers to go straight to DOs if developers design to the Compact Communities codes. In other words, they have already developed the “MCP” for these areas. The County has funded these Master Concept Plans for the communities in their Planning cycles and have paid for this planning. They now have a mixed use overlay map for the County as a whole. Within the mixed use concept, they are still looking at single family or multi-family uses along with retail and office. Older mixed use designs feature having the residential behind the shopping centers etc. Staff now is going to favor the concept of connectivity and having more public spaces within these mixed use centers.
Kathie Ebaugh went on to describe the current FLUM and the proposed draft FLUM focusing on the Estero portion of both maps. One major change is in the proposed Hideaway Cove which would be a special exception area. Our map is really only changing designations and colors, not lines. Our overlay areas should not have changed.
The next steps for the Land Use Element are workshops within the communities for the next few months. If the ECCL or any of the various chambers of commerce wants a presentation, the Staff would be happy to do this. They are currently doing these workshops, and presenting the Land Use Element to the LPA on April 25th. They will also go to the Sustainability Committee, and the Horizon Council. The entire Plan Revisions will be at LPA in the August to September time period, and then on to the BOCC in October or November. After BOCC approval, the Plan must be reviewed by the state agencies (DCA is now the Department of Economic Opportunities) for approval. Hopefully, finally adoption will be in Early 2014. The County is collecting electronic comments on the Lee County Town Hall webpage, and comments can also be made directly to the planning staff. Any written comments should be sent to the LPA as well. The County Staff are not concerned with the timing for the Estero Community Plan revisions. It will be better to go through our decision process than try to get it into their timing.
Member Issues: No Member issues were discussed.
PEG Proposal. Jeremy Franz from Conservancy discussed the fact that the current owners of the Ginn Property which is located north of Corkscrew Road to Alico Road alongside of FGCU is bringing a proposed letter of intent to FGCU. This may be a very serious DR/GR Issue. This will be discussed at the Board of Governors Meeting at FGCU. Nicole Johnson from the Conservancy will be attending.
Community Plan. Kathie Ebaugh noted that she will be taking over the drafting of the revisions to the Community Plan from the DeLisi Contract. This was news to the Panel members present, and will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting.
The next meeting is on May 20, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. at Estero Community Park. The Meeting was adjourned at 6:35 p.m.
Howard Levitan, Secretary