by Clara Cain
Thousands of homes are ready to be built in Gateway and Lehigh, and along Tree Line and Daniels Parkway. Trees have been, and are being cut down, and our already congested traffic will only increase. You have no say in this. Soon there will be few trees left along our corridor. Just take note the next time you drive along Daniels how many new houses and signs, signs, and more signs you see.
It is important that all residents of The Corridor and those that drive Daniels be informed and get involved. You have a vested interest in expressing your views. These changes can set precedent and can endanger the Slough, your quality of life, and even your life. Even at the current density, emergency services are unable to meet response times.
You can have a say in a request that is currently before the County Commissioners. A Comprehensive Plan Amendment change is being proposed for 137 acres between Palomino and Appaloosa Roads. The request is to change the present land use from Outlying Suburban to Central Urban. This area is in the Slough watershed area. When Lee County preserved the Slough, it was noted that the Slough was critical to water quality in Lee County and the health of Lee County residents.
If this is approved it will allow light industrial, commercial, and 15 to 20 dwellings per acre. One to three houses per acre is the allowance now. In this small area the build out population would increase from the now allowed 190 units to 1,267 units which would result in an increase of 1,077 dwelling units. Based on 2.2 persons per household that would be an increase from 418 persons to 2,788 persons. These people must exit onto Daniels.
All roads between I-75 and Six Mile Cypress are dead end roads. They all empty onto Daniels Parkway. The 2016 DOT Report analysis states that Daniels Parkway is a constrained roadway that cannot be widened. There are no north-south roads. If there is funding, Three Oaks Extension might be constructed starting in 2020. What kind of help is that? Are you going to drive near the Interstate to drive south to Alico Road to get to 41?
Daniels Parkway is rated an F road. Palomino is over capacity. There is only one way out for all the ranchettes, and the communities of Fiddlesticks, Renaissance, Paseo, Danforth Lakes, Reflection Isles, Cross Creek, etc. and that is Daniels Parkway – a failed road!
The Lee County Planning staff did an in depth report for this request and it can be viewed in its entirety at www.leegov.com/dcd/documents/agendas/LPA/2016/07/Jul252016.pdf.
The paid professional Lee County Planners recommended that this request be denied. Briefly this is what they said:
Central Urban uses are not compatible with the rural area and residences.
The present Outlying Suburban classification limits negative impacts on the Six Mile Cypress Watershed.
The subject property and surrounding properties are not fully developed under the existing land use classification—so there is no immediate need to increase the density/intensity at this time.
Allowing more density/intensity of development in this area will further exacerbate the existing traffic conditions.
The Lee County Staff Report said while the County is exploring the possibility of creating more urban nodes, with higher densities in unincorporated Lee County to promote use of transit and walkability, the character of this specific location does not make it appropriate for such treatment. In conclusion, it said, “The current Outlying Suburban Future Land Use Map category remains appropriate for the subject property.” We agree with this. Do you?
Those that are for the increase in density/intensity are represented by professional land planners, attorneys, and realtors. It seems that they expect to make a significant return on their efforts.
At the first hearing on this proposed land use, the vote was two to two. It was sent back by the County Commissioners for a re-hearing and another vote was to take place on August 22, but was cancelled because an even number were present to vote and the board wants an odd number to vote. At the time of submitting this editorial, the date of the next hearing has yet to be set.
The time to speak up is now. I encourage you to call the Lee County Community Development office at 239-533-8585 to inquire about the date of the next hearing so you can attend and voice your opinion and concerns. Additionally, there would be great benefit in emailing the county commissioners to say “Please DO NOT increase the density/intensity to Central Urban for the CPA2015-00010.” Send this e-mail to SJenkins-Owen@leegov.com, you must give your name and address in the email, and ask that she please forward your opinion on to all five of the county commissioners.
We the people that live and work in The Corridor need to keep the slough safe, preserve our way of life, and the quality of our life. This is your opportunity to speak up, you have a choice.
Clara Cain is a Corridor resident living on a ranchette near the affected area. You may contact her to discuss your support by calling firstname.lastname@example.org.