study.pngPurpose of Study

In 2015, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners created the Environmental Enhancement & Preservation Communities Overlay (Overlay) for a limited area within the Southeast Lee County Density Reduction/Groundwater Recharge (DR/GR) land use category along Corkscrew Road east of the Village of Estero.  The Overlay represented a new strategy to achieve the County’s goals for southeast Lee County that have existed for more than 20 years.  The Overlay encompassed properties that were deemed critical to providing regional benefits such as  re-establishing wetlands, flowways, hydrology and wildlife corridors  within Southeast Lee County.  Most of the properties had agricultural operations or were previously mined .

corkscrew-overlay-1.JPGThe Overlay provided an opportunity to achieve the environmental objectives, by allowing for the possibility of higher residential density in exchange for developer commitments to provide regional benefits such as restoring and maintaining flowways and wildlife corridors across their properties, keeping at least 60% of their property in open space, reducing use of groundwater, and being responsible for contributing to infrastructure needs in the area based on their impacts.  To date, four developments have been approved or are in the process of being approved within the Overlay area, requiring the restoration and preservation of 3,443 acres that provide significant flowway and wildlife corridor links between properties and surrounding preservation lands.  The four developments are WildBlue, The Place/Corkscrew Farms, Pepperland Ranch, and Verdana.

The anticipated infrastructure  needs from the  developments within the Overlay led the County Commission to include a comprehensive plan policy calling for a cumulative traffic analysis of the proposed developments to understand the  overall transportation needs and costs.  This approach, known as the Corkscrew Road Study (“Study”), looks at the cumulative impacts of development within the Overlay in-lieu of an analysis on an  individual case-by-case basis.   The Study will also identify: opportunities for regional environmental enhancements in conjunction with the identified transportation improvements; costs and timing of needed improvements; and, the proportionate fair share obligations from each individual development within the Overlay.  Lee County is working to establish the proportionate share of infrastructure-improvement costs that new development within the overlay will pay. This will be an important funding source – one of many – for the infrastructure improvements for this area.