ESTERO COMMUNITY PLANNING PANEL
Minutes of Public Meeting #152 - September 16, 2013
Estero Community Park, Estero, Florida
CALL TO ORDER:
The Meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by ECPP Chairman Lienesch.
Panel Members present: Jack Lienesch, Chairman; Estero Community Association, Roger Strelow, ECCL; John Goodrich, ECCL, Ned Dewhirst, Estero Development Community, Paul Roberts, Estero Development Community; Jeff Maas, Estero Chamber of Commerce, Neal Noethlich, Emeritus Chairman, Greg Toth, Founding member, Howard Levitan, Secretary, and Bev MacNellis, Treasurer.
Also present were Judy Beach from Marsh Landing and the proponents for Wal-Mart and Pollo Tropical. There were several unidentified people from the general public, including several from Marsh Landing.
Public Notice: Secretary Levitan reported that the meeting notice was posted on the ECPP website. The Agenda has been posted for over a week on the website although it has changed over time. He noted that a quorum of the ECPP was present for this meeting.
Minutes of the Prior Meeting. Chairman Lienesch noted that the minutes of the August 19, 2013 meeting were prepared by Chairman Lienesch in the absence of the Secretary, 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 August minutes as posted.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer MacNellis presented her Treasurers' Report, and reported a balance of $154.03. She has prepared a long list of those developers who have made presentations to the Panel. She noted the disbursements for the month. It was noted that Vicky Pearson is the new secretary for the EDRC (from Oakbrook Properties). Chairman Lienesch asked that Treasurer MacNellis speak with Vicky about any unpaid fees for both organizations dating back to January 2012. Motion made, seconded and unanimously passed to accept the Treasurer's Report as made.
Pollo Tropical Restaurant: Neal Montgomery, Esq. from the Pavese Law Firm made the presentation for the developer. Also present was Glen Rozansky from Pollo Tropical. They are seeking an administrative amendment with respect to the property on the West side of US 41 across from the main Coconut Point entrance. The original zoning allowed restaurants, but fast food was not allowed. The issue is what is the definition of fast food? She went on to state that the key is food primarily for off-site vs. eating on- site. This proposed restaurant is primarily for on-site consumption but also features a drive through where food is cooked to order. The County Staff wanted this to come to ECPP in the form of an administrative amendment to the CPD. The main problem with the drive-through is the use of outside speakers for the message board which are not allowed. Montgomery said that the loudspeakers would not be a significant problem for adjacent Marsh Landing. Montgomery asked that Jeffrey Straw of GeoSonics, consultant to the restaurant, review his findings with regards to the noise from the speakers. Straw stated that you would not hear the speaker back at the reverse access road, especially due to the noise coming off of US 41. Closing time would be 11:00 pm. The sound expert also stated the noise drops off at about 73 feet and the nearest residence in Marsh Landing is over 500 feet away. Montgomery also commented about the drainage system which seemed to be a problem for Marsh Landing who have hired an engineering consultant to review this site. Representatives of Marsh Landing were present and stated that they wanted their own consultant to assure them whether or not there would there would be a problem.
Chairman Lienesch noted that the Panel did not seem to have a problem with the sign board loudspeaker issue.
Greg Toth asked about green space behind the restaurant. With respect to the drive-through, ECPP in the past has tried to shield them from roads which is not present here if you consider the reverse access road. Montgomery stated that the County is requiring buffering which would minimize this. Ned Dewhirst also agreed that buffering would be key to this problem. He asked about the percentage of sales expected from take-out food, and the response was about 35% take-out vs. about 70% for fast food restaurants. Dewhirst asked if Marsh Landing had any concerns about the drive-through, and the representatives from Marsh Landing stated that they were not concerned. Toth is still concerned about the drive through on the north side of the east-west access road, and thinks that there should be adequate buffering to minimize the visual aspects of the drive-through window and the drive-through traffic lane from the access road.
The summary from the Panel is that the we see no problems with the two requests for an administrative amendment. We have no problem with this type of restaurant in this location.
2. Wal-Mart MCP Change Request. Neal Montgomery and Bill Corbett from CPH Engineers (consultants to Wal-Mart) presented this request. The first issue is a change in the access road to help screen one of the houses in the Vines community due to concerns about headlights at night entering on the Nuthatch Lane access road. They are creating a solution which helps on the headlight issues, and makes the road more driveable and safer. They have an approved amendment to the Agreement with the Vines with new exhibits. They are also going to use double gates for safer access along this secondary access road.
The second change is to add a liquor box to the building, since the State requires a completely separate area with its own door for any liquor sales. This requires a slight change to the site plan and the elevation.
The Panel had no concerns or problems with either of these changes. Wal-Mart is shooting for building completion in December of 2014.
3. Galleria at Corkscrew. This development proposal was cancelled by the Owner prior to the meeting. When Paul Roberts talked with the Owner prior to this meeting, the owner said that this was not his proposal. He found out that this was done by a group that had tried to purchase the property, and he further objected to any discussion of this proposal at the ECPP. He went on to state that they are making no zoning application at this time, especially since the County Staff was apparently not in favor of assistant living at this site. Also the proposed plan apparently was for 4 stories which would not work next to residential. From the ECPP standpoint, no public meeting was held on this project, and no action was taken other than our own internal discussion of the status of the property.
- Community Plan. The working group for further revisions to the Plan consists of Ned Dewhirst, Kathie Ebaugh, Bill Prysi and Howard Levitan. They are working on a document which would revise the last DeLisi version of the revisions. This is basically a new document. We still need to have the exhibits before we can finalize this for the Panel to review. If we get it done in October, we would still be in sync with the County's submission to Tallahassee. The ECPP will schedule a workshop on the Community Plan revisions as soon as the exhibits are created and the working group finishes its work. Ned Dewhirst asked that before the consultant on the Community Plan gets going on the second phase of the revisions regarding the LDC, we should meet with them and the EDRC to give the consultant (Prysi) some guidance.
- Commercial Development Workshop. The ECPP is planning on the week of November 4th for the public workshop on the Seth Harry marketing report. This workshop will be inviting developers as well.
- Hertz and WalMart. The EDRC Meeting for September is now scheduled for Hertz and WalMart on the 25th. This was moved from the 18th.
- Race Trac. Greg Toth raised the issue of the RaceTrac proposal that the ECPP heard at two prior meetings. We remain concerned about potential for another access road from US 41. Chairman Lienesch stated that it was clear that the ECPP was not in agreement on this proposal. Should we contact the County again stating that this should not be approved as an administrative amendment? The FDOT approval should not override our concerns. The issue is what can the Panel do at this time? Chairman Lienesch will try to contact the County Staff, including Pam Hauck, Chip Block and perhaps Mary Gibbs to find out the status and to make sure that our opinions on this project have been heard.
- Mixed Use. Greg Toth noted that he had attended a symposium at FGCU which discussed mixed use projects. He feels that this subject really needs to be addressed, since it is a part of our Community Plan. Apparently the local development community feels that the residential development element in a mixed use project like Coconut Point or Mercado is dead for the time being. We may need to look at this in the Community Plan, to determine if this is just a temporary issue based on the economic recovery. The Panel concluded that our focus on mixed use in the Community Plan is a long-term goal which is acceptable as long as it is not mandatory.
Next Meeting is on October 21, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. at Estero Community Park room 103. The Meeting was adjourned at 6:10 p.m.
Howard Levitan, Secretary