ESTERO COMMUNITY PLANNING PANEL
Minutes of Public Workshop – June 17, 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, standing in for ECPP Chairman Jack Lienesch.
Panel Members Present: John Goodrich, ECCL; Jeff Maas, Estero Chamber of Commerce; Paul Roberts, Estero development community; Neal Noethlich, Emeritus Chairman ECPP; Ned Dewhirst, Estero development community; Greg Toth, Founding member; and Bev MacNellis, Treasurer.
Also present: Nick Batos, Chairman ECCL; Don Eslick, Emeritus Chairman, ECCL; Marilyn Edwards, ECCL; and Chip Block, Sr. Planner for Lee County. There were approximately 25 people in attendance.
Goodrich said there was not a quorum for the published agenda (Mr. Dewhirst recused himself from Panel comment on the Hertz presentation); Goodrich noted that proper notification had been published and this meeting would be considered a public workshop. He said the May 24, 2013 minutes were posted on the ECPP website and would be considered for approval at the next public meeting.
Bev MacNellis reported a balance of $5,637.00. She noted an outstanding invoice for Dan DeLisi. Approval will be considered at the next public meeting.
Goodrich noted we have one subject on the agenda for this meeting, namely an update from Hertz Corporation. Attorney Matt Uhle introduced Dan Wisk, Hertz VP of Facilities and Construction. Wisk said Hertz is designing the site’s buildings from the inside/out, working on the interior design needs for all the departments; allocation of space to support all of the people in the building; the amenities that they will have in the building e.g. cafeteria, auditorium, stage; and all the facilities they would have to support their employees. The plan is for Hertz to be at the SE corner of Williams Road and US-41, on approximately 34 acres (Tract 1B within Coconut Point Area 1) with 450,000 square foot of office for the entire tract. A base office building of 300,000 sq. ft., three floors high, approximately 55ft, in the NE corner of the tract and with 150,000 sq. ft. on the east side of the tract for future development of additional office space. 1000 parking spots for approximately 750 people will be to the East along Williams Rd and to the South along US-41. Further to the south in the tract are plans for a 5000 square foot building to be constructed for car rental / sales with spaces for 50 cars max. The rest of the area will be relatively undeveloped, but landscaped. Hertz is looking at an access road off a US-41 connector road and Via Villagio for the drives into and out of the rental car sales lot. Wisk said some people might be concerned with the parking and car rental / sales facility but Hertz’s core business is car rental / sales and they want this to be a showcase for Hertz, a model for across the country. It will look architecturally like the rest of the Coconut Point development and you will find it attractive. Wisk said there was not a lot of detail on the configuration at this point. Hertz believes the campus approach with smaller buildings tend to limit what you can do. Landscaping will be consistent with Coconut Point guidelines.
Questions from the panel: Jeff Maas questioned the green space around the 5,000 sq. ft., single story building. Wisk said it would comply with the Coconut Point landscaping requirements, etc. Paul Roberts asked if there were plans to have parking under the base building. Wisk said it was to be surface parking. Also, Paul inquired if 50 spaces were enough for car sales. Wisk said that it was a good size for Hertz and that there would be a good representation of cars, mid-level and up. Neal Noethlich questioned the entrances to the facility. Wisk said currently access is planned for a manned gate on Williams during the normal business hours with traffic improvements (turn lanes at a minimum); perhaps a key card access at the 2nd entrance and the 3rd access for office deliveries; food deliveries for the employee cafeteria; trash removal, etc. All entries will be controlled access, gated. The landscape buffer around the property is satisfactory but will be enhanced here and there, driveways with appropriate stacking so that traffic does not back up down Williams Rd. Neal said traffic is already bad on Williams due to Estero High School traffic. Wisk said they are working with Civil engineers with three scenarios for improvements to Williams Rd. Greg Toth asked about the building itself. Again Dan said it is to be in the NW corner of the tract with the first floor being a showcase for Hertz with vintage cars acquired by Hertz in the 1920’s and other vehicles in the lobby. “It is to be a model of what we do across the country.” Wisk added that there was a 200’ minimum set back from the adjacent residential tract. Hertz wants to be good neighbors. Bev MacNellis asked how many people would be at this facility daily. Wisk said approximately 745 employees that they currently have in NJ with 1000 parking spaces to allow for vendors and visitors. Wisk said that not all the employees from NJ will come to Estero; therefore, they will hire people here. MacNellis also questioned that with people coming for training, etc. would they be having more rental cars to add to the parking or would they be shuttling to hotels, etc. Wisk said arrangements will be made with Hyatt Place at Coconut Point and assume they will use a shuttle most of the time. Residents of Rapallo questioned traffic flow and landscaping of the property with suggestions of using native plants. Wisk said they will use the same landscaping standards as with Coconut Point. Goodrich stated his understanding that the Williams Rd entrance would be lighted, but not traffic signal lights. Don Eslick said that Miromar International Design Center did a great job landscaping the parking lot and suggests Hertz look at it. Hertz will do so and noted theirs will be as pedestrian friendly as possible. They are also looking at putting in solar panels on the building and within the parking areas (covered). Another Rapallo resident was concerned with traffic flow on Via Villagio and how it impacts their back entrance. Residents of Rapallo were also concerned with the speed limit at their back entrance and suggested moving that entrance of Hertz’s further from their access or back gate. At this point Hertz cannot say which direction the people will come from but would encourage use of the main gate. Another audience member noted no sign of retention ponds. Hertz will be in compliance with all standards and will be looking at landscaping, water management and dry detention areas as well. A question was raised re: helipad and Hertz said there are no plans for a helipad. Jeff Maas questioned the Solar Field. Wisk said it is our corporate office and we want it to look great! Noethlich questioned the parking lot appearance. Wisk said it is designed for shade and layering.
Sis Newberry asked why Hertz picked Estero for re-location. Wisk said it was a combination of things; availability of the lot, infrastructure, quality of life and a tax-friendly State for their employees.
Goodrich informed the audience if they want to testify before the County Commissioners on August 5th they will need to appear and testify at The Hearing Examiners meeting on June 27th. Goodrich said we are excited to have Hertz in Estero. He thanked them for being so responsive to the Panel and to inquiries from other interested parties. Wisk responded that Hertz wants to be an integral part of our community of Estero.
Meeting adjourned at 5:35PM.
Respectfully submitted by Barbara Goodrich.