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Forum Notes

May 5, 2010

East County Regional Library

Lehigh Acres



Community Vision
Land Use/
Transportation Public


Future Community Vision:

  • Quality of Life
    • Holistic – parks, economy, everything
    • Maintain diversity –  employment, demographics, and land use patterns
    • Hot and sticky
    • Family friendly
  • Community Character
    • Economic Development
      • Diversify the economy and expand the base into new areas
      • Concerned with the current three-legged stool of economy – agriculture, construction, tourism
      • Need green solutions to improving the economic base
      • Out of the box thinking is needed to turn around the economy
      • Need flexibility in system to retain/attract business
      • Expand higher education opportunities
    • Cultural/Social Development and Resources
      • Need to foster a unique community identity and character
        • Particularly in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres
      • Socio economic blends in communities
      • Golf
      • Beaches
      • Entertainment facilities needed in Lehigh Acres
    • Land/Community Development
      • More options than gated residential communities
      • Cohesive redevelopment
      • Not locked into a exact development patter
      • Don’t want to grow up to be Cape Coral (Lehigh Acres)
      • Pedestrian friendly
      • Lehigh Acres – used as HUD dumping ground
      • Better planning coordination between county departments

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Land Use/Development:

  • Development Pattern/Style
    • Redevelopment focus on major corridors
    • Increase density where we have infrastructure
  • Prominent features
    • Establish mixed use commercial nodes
    • Establish a green belt and growth boundaries
    • Street features, benches, public space to enjoy
  • Design characteristics
    • Establish architectural review standards
      • Commercial areas
      • Signage
      • Mixed use
      • Residential
    • Design / architecture should be unique to different communities
      • No homogeneous look across the county
    • Diversity in design with an attractive mix of architecture
    • Lacking in landscape architecture code
      • Want something more than palms
  • Development practices
    • Improve communication to public on plans that involve Lehigh Acres
    • Protect from sprawl
    • Stop car-oriented development
    • Acquire land for water retention
    • Assemble platted lots into cohesive areas and then transfer rights off those outside the core areas
    • Put utilities underground
  • Urban form / rural character

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  • Parks and public spaces
    • Use canals for recreation
      • Bike-ped trails
      • Neighborhood parks
      • Seating areas
    • Establish a community art program
      • Allow public art to be visible and unite community
    • Neighborhood nodes with community park and open space
    • Neighborhood farmers markets for local service and green space
    • Developers need to donate more park space and park lands
    • Want linear park on Sunshine Canal in Lehigh Acres
    • Multi use of park facilities, maximize our recreational assets
    • Bike paths, multimodal access to park facilities
  • Conservation areas
    • More passive use of 20/20 lands
    • Multiple use of conservation areas
    • Need large water recharge areas
  • Access and location
    • Open space should create a sense of place
      • Feature open space areas within mixed-use nodes (i.e.: Central Park in NYC)
    • Need more mini/neighborhood parks
      • Something similar to Aventura Park
    • Neighborhood schools with local use of facilities
      • Note huge regional facilities
    • Park facilities at schools are underutilized because of school operations and fences
    • Use of parks is too restrictive

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  • Roadways
    • Lee County should take back the responsibility for the bridges
    • The roadway system in Lehigh lacks any connectivity
      • Streets dead- end at the canals
    • Do not spend the 40 mill on Colonial
    • HOV lanes
      • Run HOV lane down middle of I-75
  • Multimodal
    • Utilize park-and-ride to help people utilize multiple transportation services
    • Consolidate land use / personal activities / activity centers around major transit hubs
    • Establish a multi-modal node around the rail corridor
    • Use the money from Colonial on a good multi-modal transportation system.
  • Sidewalks / trails
    • All main corridors should have sidewalks
    • The canal should have a walkway system along it
    • Design town center so they are pedestrian-oriented.
      • Not like Gulf Coast Town Center, which is auto-oriented
    • Sidewalks for FGCU students
      • More accessibility between the university and local resource
  • Transit
    • Increase investment in public transit
    • Lee Tran  most routes have few riders
    • Lee Tran – use hub and spoke model with large buses on long runs and smaller buses on local run
      • Maximum of 10-15 minute connections in local area
    • Bus schedule needs to be more flexible to fit local needs better
    • Fort Myers Beach trolley is a good example of what local transit is

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Public Services:

  • Utilities
    • County needs to purchase FGUA
    • Establish an MSBU/MSTU to provide utilities
    • Start saving money now so the community does not take a big one-time hit
      • Many people in Lehigh are on fixed incomes, and so a big hit at once would hurt
    • Phase the utilities in over time
    • Put utility lines underground
  • Development Services
    • Improve development services communication with the Lehigh Acres Community Planning Council
    • Keep impact fees in the area they come from
    • Establish realistic permitting time frames
    • Create expedited process for most-desirable developments
  • Schools
    • Do not spend money on busing students
      • Build neighborhood schools
      • Improve the classroom
    • Use schools as community centers
  • Emergency services
    • Consolidate/coordinate fire districts
    • Create central, state-of-the-art training center for fire staff
    • Utilize volunteer fire fighters to fight brush fires

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