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Lee DCD to talk Bayshore changes

March 6, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Lee County Department of Community Development staff will discuss proposed changes for the Bayshore community at an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, in the Davidson House at the Lee Civic Center.

The changes come in the form of proposed amendments to the Lee Plan and Land Development Code; they are based on input from a Bayshore community meeting held last year.

Mikki Rozdolski, Planning Section Manager, Lee County Community Development, said the meeting will be in open house format so staff can get the most public input.

"People can come in with any specific language and have small group discussions or one-on-one. We want to make it comfortable for people to give their input," Rozdolski said.

At last year's session, attending residents said they didn't want to see much, if anything, regarding change.

The prior meeting - called a visioning meeting - was held for the Bayshore Community Plan area in March 2018, following the direction of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners.

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At that meeting, staff collected input from area stakeholders concerning the vision and goals for the Bayshore Community Plan area. They were asked how they want their community to look like in 2040.

At that meeting at the Bayshore Fire Station No. 131, people were most concerned about was the potential loss of the rural feel of Bayshore with the development of communities such as Gully Creek.

They also wanted flood protection and little or no development, and said they were happy to drive 10 to 15 minutes to Walmart and not have one in their backyard.

Rozdolski said this open house will address those concerns from the previous meeting.

"We broke down what the community had to say and discuss what's unique to their area. Flooding is an ongoing issue so we drafted some amendments to address that," Rozdolski said. "We're going to talk about commercial development and appropriate locations and densities for that, and residential development. They want more open space areas and rural development."

Doug Dailey, president of the North Fort Myers Civic Association, said he was concerned that the time of the meeting may result in lower turnout, as many are still at work.

"The residents want to make sure they're getting their say, but with the time it's scheduled, it's difficult for those who are working to do that," Dailey said.

Since then, Community Development staff have been working with other Lee County departments to turn the community's vision into implementable Lee Plan and Land Development Code provisions.

Dailey said that residents out there have known only one lifestyle, and they don't want it disturbed by a four-land Bayshore Road or a large shopping plaza.

"It's been their lifestyle for many years and they want to be able to maintain that. The vision plan is out and the county wants to revise it and hear what their thoughts of revision are," Dailey said. "It should be an interesting meeting no matter what the format is to see what the county and residents will come to."

Any amendments would move though the normal process required to amend the Lee Plan with opportunities for public input - one hearing with the Local Planning Agency and two hearings with the BoCC (transmittal and adoption).

The Lee Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Road.



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