ESTERO COMMUNITY PLANNING PANEL
Minutes of Public Meeting #127– March 21, 2011
Park, Estero, Florida
Panel Members Present:
Jack Lienesch, Civic Association, Chairman; John Goodrich, ECCL; Ned
Dewhirst, Estero development community; Erik Dickens, ECCL; Jeff Maas,
Estero Chamber of Commerce; Greg Toth, Founding Member; Dan DeLisi,
Estero development community; and Bill Brown, Recording Secretary, ECCL.
Absent: Neal Noethlich, Emeritus Chairman and Treasurer, Bev
Brown reported that the meeting notice appeared in the Naples Daily News
online calendars, the Century- Link Estero Events Calendar and Esterofl.org websites. The notice was posted at the South County
Regional Library, Realty World of Estero, and the BB&T and the Fifth
Approval of Minutes:
Brown distributed minutes of the February 21st meeting.
Goodrich: Motion to accept the minutes: Dickens
In the absence of Treasurer MacNellis, Toth reported a balance of
$1,298.72 as of February 28, 2011. Report accepted.
Robert Charles Brooks, Park Manager for the
Estero Bay Preserve
presented a request for a change in zoning from RPD to EC
(Environmentally Critical) for the Estero Bay Scrub at the end of West
Broadway. This will permit
construction of a 10 space ADA accessible parking facility with self
composting toilet, interpretive kiosks and picnic shelter.
Parking now is on FPL rather than
State property. Dewhirst asked
why the Master Plan hasn’t been updated before now. Brooks explained
that the property had come from the Estero Bay Preserve whose Unit
Management Plan (UMP) dealt mainly with aquatic and not public usages.
Toth asked about Panel and public
participation in development of the UMP.
He was assured that there will be public meetings and that the
Panel will be kept informed. DeLisi suggested that Lienesch be sent a
timeline when these meetings occur. A
nearby resident, Bob Morris, strongly objected to construction of a
pavilion fearing it would be a site for noisy party making. DeLisi who
also lives nearby disagreed. Overflow parking, when it occurs, ends up
on the FPL property. Brooks
noted that the park will close at dusk with the gates locked.
He also will investigate no parking signs to discourage overflow
parking along Broadway.
Lienesch stated that the minutes will reflect Panel support for the
requested rezoning and the proposed project.
Uptown Larry’s request for a special exception
Board Certified Real Estate Lawyer, Cheffy
Passidomo, P.A. Naples. Uptown
Larry’s is a sports-themed Group III restaurant that occupies
approximately 4,721 square feet of space in the Estero Ridge commercial
center at the intersection of US-41 and Estero Parkway.
The restaurant does not include outdoor dining.
The nearest residential use is 890 feet away (and across US-41),
and next-nearest residential project is almost 1,100 feet to the East.
The restaurant is located at the intersection of 2 major
thoroughfares (Estero Parkway and US-41), and within a corridor that is
appropriate for relatively intense commercial development.
A State audit of a six week period based on purchases
rather than sales, concluded that
Uptown Larry’s no longer qualifies for a 4COP-SRX license (>50% food)
and must instead secure a 4COP-Quota license (free-standing bar).
Uptown Larry’s has agreed to voluntarily limit its operating
hours to 11 a.m. until Midnight daily (i.e., eliminate Midnight to 2
a.m. operating hours) in connection with this request.
Lienesch distributed an email
from Noethlich, who could not be present, noting that the Panel should
not be questioning the appropriateness of Purchase Methodology vis-à-vis Sales Methodology.
It would be helpful, however, to
gain understanding of how and when either/both is applied in real
business situations. Neal also
questioned how the earlier closing time would be monitored. Finally he
felt that precedent is a strong consideration and we should not allow
for standalone bar rules busting, even though the viability of a real
business is at stake. If there is a way to accomplish this which is a
win-win situation, that should be explored but no decision should be
taken without county DCD offering their views in writing.
Dewhirst said the applicant, as a
starting point, should prepare their own baseline audit for County review so that it would document the current/past average food
sales. Goodrich said he has been
to Uptown Larry’s and has heard of no problems.
Maas said as a representative of
the Estero Chamber he wanted to see Uptown Larry’s stay in business,
but understood that there are rules that must be abided by.
Toth expressed concern that this type of State License, which permits a
stand-alone-bar, could be sold and the new owner might not be so willing
to comply with the Estero residents’ strong opposition to
stand-alone-bars. Several members
of the audience supported Uptown Larry’s.
DeLisi emphasized that the Lee County Code would override the
State license that would permit a stand-alone-bar and sales of at least
51% food would still be required based on the Lee Plan Chapter 19
restrictions. He suggested that
in granting the special exception the county should require periodic audits at the owner’s expense. Lienesch
concluded that it was the Panel’s and audience’s desire to keep Uptown
Larry’s operating as a family restaurant and that the attorneys and the
County should come up with language that will provide for audits at the
owner’s expense or other
mechanisms to reach that
DeLisi submitted an updated Work Plan.
Ebaugh commented that this was a much improved version and suggested
that she and Paul O’Connor review it and give the Panel their feedback.
announced that the David Graham Award will be presented to
Space Storage at Coconut Point at the Urban Land Institute Spring
meeting scheduled for April 7th at 8:30 AM at the Holiday Inn at Gulf
Coast Town Center.
announced that a meeting among Panel members, the County, Coconut Point
mall management and several restaurant operators was held at the mall
specifically to address noise concerns.
Dickens reported that the legal representative for the mall is
going to draft a procedure for self-monitoring which they will ask the
county to endorse. Pam Houck
indicated at the meeting that she will ensure we are in the loop on this
Panel was adjourned at 7:45 PM
NEXT REGULAR MEETING: April
18, 6:00 PM, Estero Community Park