February 2017 Development Review Summary
The Village of Estero Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) and Design Review Board (DRB) considered several development proposals and zoning amendments during the month of February, including the proposed Estero Crossing mixed use development near the Interstate 75 interchange. Many residents voiced concerns about traffic from the proposed gas station, convenience store and apartment buildings.
The next Planning and Zoning Board meeting will be Tuesday, March 21, at 1 p.m. The next Design Review Board meeting will be March 22 at 5:30 p.m.
Representatives from the ECCL spoke about traffic and safety concerns regarding Estero Crossing’s proposal to build a mixed use development including a gas station, convenience store and apartments near the Interstate 75 interchange with Corkscrew Road. Estero Crossing is currently zoned for commercial uses only on the 43-acre property located south of Corkscrew Road about 1,000 feet west of the interchange. The developer is requesting approval for a maximum of 350 apartments, 60,000 square feet of commercial use, a convenience food and beverage store and an 18-pump gas station.
Twelve residents from Corkscrew Woodlands and Island Club also spoke out during the Feb. 21 Design Review Board meeting. In their presentation to the DRB, Estero Crossing representatives outlined the project’s history and plans for architecture, landscaping and signage. The developer has held several meetings with Island Club, Corkscrew Woodlands and Villa Palmeras residents since 2015 and has addressed concerns with height and visual appeal of the apartment buildings. Residents also are opposed to the gas station and convenience store being open 24 hours, but there has been no agreement on hours of operation.
The developer has committed to working with the Village and Lee County to get a traffic signal installed at Lowe’s to improve safety for vehicles turning left onto Corkscrew Road. The developer also is including a public pocket park along a frontage road off Corkscrew. The developer’s presentations may be found on the Village of Estero website. The DRB voted to continue this item to its March 21 meeting.
The Reef II
This Design Review Board approved a development order for The Reef II, which is the second phase of The Reef apartment complex at the northeast corner of Estero Parkway and Three Oaks Parkway. Phase Two will add 60 units of student housing. The plans include three building designs and interconnectivity with Florida Gulf Coast University and local shopping. Amenities include a pool, fire pit and water fountain. The board stipulated a gate be added to the west portion of the property. The developer’s presentation may be viewed on the Village of Estero website.
Estero United Methodist Church
A new building and landscaping improvements are planned for Estero United Methodist Church. The church is located at 8188 Lords Way near the intersection of Broadway Avenue and U.S. 41.
The DRB approved the church’s development order for phase one of the planned enhancements. This will include landscape buffers along U.S. 41, a monument sign and additional parking. A new building will be constructed adjacent to the current sanctuary. Public sitting areas will be added to the southern end of the property and along Highlands Avenue. The DRB asked the church to contact LeeTran about moving its bus stop closer to the new public seating area along U.S. 41.
Highland Oaks Drive at University Highlands
The DRB approved minor changes to landscape buffers on the property along Ben Hill Griffin Drive north of Miromar Outlets Drive. The developer is adding tree plantings and temporary seating areas to three out-parcels to give a parklike appearance along the sidewalk. The need for perimeter landscaping along parcels awaiting development is an issue the ECCL’s Speakers Panel has been actively addressing in order to improve the appearance of our community.
Members of the Grandezza community joined the ECCL in asking for landscaping buffers along Ben Hill Griffin Drive. Often, vacant land remains undeveloped for years, and owners should bear the responsibility of screening such land from travelers along Estero’s major arterial roadways. An ECCL presentation on “The Good, Bad and Ugly” of perimeter plantings may be viewed here. The ECCL continues to lobby for perimeter landscaping of undeveloped land at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Coconut Road, as well as other properties in Estero which could use visual improvements.
McDonald’s at Grande Oaks Shoppes
The McDonald’s on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway at near Corkscrew Road will soon add an outdoor patio on the south side of the building. The DRB also approved McDonald’s request to upgrade its landscaping and replace grass with native ground cover, shrubs and palm trees.
Total Wine and More
The PZB approved a resolution allowing Total Wine and More to offer educational seminars and tasting events at the new store, which is scheduled to open at Coconut Point Mall in the fall of 2017 in the former Sports Authority location.