Nearly 100 community members were joined by local government leaders at the town center of Pelican Preserve on Wednesday night to voice concern over a proposed residential development on the northeast corner of Treeline Avenue and Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers.
The 64-acres is an agenda item for the city of Fort Myers on Monday, requesting it be changed from Lee County tradeport to the city’s traditional community future land-use designation.
The developer, The Davis Group, is responsible for the 45-acre residential portion of the land, expected to be 800 apartment units that are four-story, garden-style apartments with surface parking at market rate rental pricing.
“We’re here to be good developers and good neighbors and hear concerns and do everything that we can to address those,” said Grey Reed, vice president of development for the Davis Group.
Residents from neighboring communities expressed concerns over infrastructure issues their communities already are facing, without the added stress and demand of 800 more rooftops.
One issue that some residents of Fort Myers are very familiar with is the water supply. Karin Hagen, who lives in Somerset on the street with the cul-de-sac that butts up to the new proposed development, anticipates more water supply issues for her and her neighbors.
“I know that the community here in Pelican Preserve has condominiums that are four stories high,” she said. “Sometimes they have a PSI of eight from what I heard from previous meetings that I have been to, which is barely water trickling out of your faucet. I can’t say that I have that issue, but I have seen a dip in water pressure.”
The developers clarified they are not proposing to connect to Lee County utilities, as the project can only connect to water from the city, following a letter from Lee County Commissioner and Chairman Cecil Pendergrass stating the county will not be providing water to the site, as it is the sole responsibility of the city.
The developers also can’t receive building permits from the city until the water issue is resolved, an issue the city is well aware of as it is trying to add more wells.
“We’re dually concerned about this issue,” Reed said. “Given that if our project is approved, we’d have a multimillion-dollar project that would be a complete failure without sufficient water supply.”
Shortage of water is not the only cause of concern for residents. Increased traffic in the already congested area has citizens worrying about accessibility and safety.
“My immediate concern is that we already have a lot of traffic on our roadway,” Hagen said. “We have commercial traffic coming down the road and then we also have all these new residential areas that are in the current process of being built, and we haven’t even seen that traffic yet.”
Alexis Crespo, vice president of planning at RVI and part of the project team, acknowledged the traffic issues, pointing toward major roadway projects already underway that may alleviate some concern.
“You see the units and the traffic before you see the roads,” she said.
Somerset resident Doug Seaver said all the projects along the Treeline corridor, including more residential communities and new schools, will create a real problem. “By the time all these projects have been developed and the doors are open, the number of cars riding around the Plantation perimeter will be over 10,000,” he said. “Every time we discuss traveling issues it’s all by the unique project and not the totality of all the projects going on.”
If the Fort Myers council members move the item forward Monday night, The Davis Group would go back to city council on Sept. 9.