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Forum Notes

April 15, 2010

Kickoff Meeting

Lee County Community Development/

Public Works Building


Community Vision
Land Use/
Transportation Public


Future Community Vision:

  • Quality of Life
    • Lee County needs to become something other than a retirement community – provide services, resources, and attractions for people of all ages
    • Continue to support a diversity of community types and forms
    • Maintain small town feel
  • Community Character
    • County has great local community areas, but there is needs be a single regional community focus that unites all areas together
    • County is made up of many different areas – each with their own feel and character
    • Foster character and community identity
    • Return to “Old Florida”
    • Like character of downtown Ft Myers
  • Community Features
    • Economic Development
      • Need new economic development generators
      • Business is like “wild west” – needs to be better diversified
      • Promote a diversified economy
      • Libraries are economic development asset and often used in job searches
      • Need jobs that will keep the younger generations here
      • Attract new, non polluting industries
      • Promote the development of brownfields and greyfields
    • Cultural/Social Development and Resources
      • Each community is distinct based on local interests
      • North Ft Myers has a better library than other areas of the county
      • Improve Lehigh Acres library so people do not have to travel to North Ft Myers
      • Lee County parks are great
    • Environmental
      • Expand park and open spaces with more resources for Conservation 2020
    • Land/Community Development
      • Establish a delineation between urban and rural areas – and stick to it
      • Promote mixed use development nodes and town centers
      • Prevent sprawl
      • Preserve and support farming areas
      • Preserve the integrity of rural communities
      • Better management of conservation lands
  • Lifestyles
    • Reconnect live-work relationship
    • Support arts, cultural activities, and entertainment

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Land Use/Development:

  • Development Pattern/Style
    • Utilize “Smart Growth” practices
    • Retrofit 1st ring of suburban development – promote redevelopment of such areas
  • Prominent features
    • Future development should be in urban nodes (mass transit), suburban nodes (in between urban nodes), and village nodes
    • Concentrate development density and intensity in urbanized nodes
    • Community plans are strong
    • Pedestrian friendly
  • Design characteristics
    • Focus on distinct and unique community features
    • Support shared parking
    • Allow for more use of pervious surfaces
    • Promote “Old Florida” architectural style
    • Define what “Old Florida” design is
    • Expand and support native landscape
    • Prominent features should be based on the architectural design style of the surrounding areas.
      • River district
      • North river district
      • McGregor and Daniels
      • Edison
      • FGCU
  • Urban form / Rural Character
    • Ensure compatibility of land uses – urban/rural areas
    • Examine density constraints – rural should be rural, urban should be urban
    • Need to alter the current development pattern which is made up of town and business centers
    • Need to promote mixed use
    • Rural areas allowed to stay put and remain economically viable by utilizing TDRs, conservation easements, and other such tools
    • Don’t force farms out – they do urban areas a favor by providing natural space and food
    • Need to preserve, support, protect farming

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  • Parks and public spaces
    • Park Resources
      • Diversify park types to include all forms and functions including: urban parks, neighborhood playgrounds, and local community parks
      • Increase number of pocket parks
      • Increase number of pet friendly parks
      • There are good parks in North Ft Myers
      • Lehigh Acres has lots of challenges with parks and quality of life – left over park parcels
      • Build an amphitheater
      • Bayshore -- Civic center good possibility for further development
    • Neighborhood Parks
      • Place parks within walking distance from residences
      • Increase number of local neighborhood/community parks
      • Neighborhood parks like to have, even though they are costly
      • Community vegetable gardens
    • Shared Resources/Partnerships
      • Utilize interlocal agreements with the school district to increase park/community resources (IE: playgrounds, fields, and libraries)
      • Utilize private/public partnerships to increase number and maintenance of park and open space areas
      • County and school district should collaborate and share park resources
      • Better non-school use of facilities at schools, even though it is tough and the schools are looking for money for use of schools
  • Conservation areas
    • Continue to support 2020 – maybe expand to 2030
    • Increase 2020 funding
    • Conservation partnerships for rural areas
    • Foster water quality
    • Utilize TDR and comparable preservation programs
    • Explore expansion of mitigation banks
    • The county does a great jobs with nature based parks and conservation areas
  • Open space areas
    • Support urban agriculture and community gardens
    • Reduce or combine open space requirements in urban areas to allow higher density/intensity
    • Reestablish natural areas
  • Access and location
    • Transit connection to park facilities
    • Utilize greenways and blueways to connect parks and open spaces
    • It is hard to get to the larger parks and natural areas – better transit access is needed

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  • Roadways
    • Dedicated transit / HOV lanes
    • Utilize “Smart Road” technology on roads – or ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems)
    • Improve road design
    • Reserve future lanes, esp in rural areas
    • Major corridors should include residential developments walkable to commercial
    • Need to address transportation impacts from Babcock Development
    • Need to improve evacuation plans and routes
  • Multimodal
    • Promote multimodal facilities
    • Provide transportation options – walking, cycling, transit – not just cars
    • Allow for a variety of construction standards – bike-ped facilities
  • Sidewalks/trails
    • More walkable the area is, the better the community
    • Establish dedicated pedestrian ways that are separate from the street
    • Decrease the walking distance between areas
    • Need more walkability – health benefits
    • Support the creation of off street bike/hike trails
  • Bikeways
    • Bike lanes
    • Establish dedicated bike lanes that are separate from the right of way
    • Increase areas for cycling
  • Transit
    • Public transit to airport
    • Park structures – TOD
    • Promote transit and light rail / bus rapid transit
    • Improve public transit opportunities / options
    • Identify and connect urban nodes with mass transit (FGCU, hospitals, Edison, etc…)
    • Don’t forget connectors to surrounding counties (Charlotte, Collier)
    • Establish commuter transit to Charlotte and Collier

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Public Services:

  • Utilities
    • Place utility and infrastructure resources under ground
    • No visible utilities
    • Recycling – trash should be serious
  • Schools
    • Schools – technically advanced schools – to attract diverse business
    • Coordinate and share government and school facilities and services
    • Increase technical education opportunities in schools
  • Government services
    • Develop and execute new strategies for financing public services – move away from property taxes
    • Maximize private-public partnerships
  • Land development services
    • Community planning focus on development services
    • Increase opportunities for community involvement in planning
  • Emergency services
    • Consolidate fire services / police
    • Centralize / regionalize emergency services
    • We are short on storm shelters for hurricanes
    • Work with civic buildings and places of assembly to create storm shelters
  • Other
    • Need to improve cultural amenities for the arts, music, and theatre
    • We need a civic center than has a capacity over 50,000 people
    • Push public buildings to use xeriscaping, reclaimed water, and any other landscape tool that reduces water
    • Solar paneled municipal buildings
    • Utilize white roofs for energy conservation – green building (LEED certified)
    • More green buildings
    • Establish and implement standards for energy conservation
    • Improve community lighting

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