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A public information meeting for a development order of a 4.2-acre site called Estero 4.2 was held at the Estero’s Planning, Zoning and Design board meeting Wednesday. The site is at 19950 S. Tamiami Trail, across U.S. 41 from Walmart and north of Cayo de Estero Shoppes. 

The project consists of two nonresidential buildings, including a 4,000-square-foot Heartland Dental office and an 18,000-square-foot commercial shell building, which has no confirmed tenants. 

The property, owned by Todd Eichelberger, is zoned for commercial-planned development and is approved for 41,000 square feet of retail use. 

The commercial building is allowed to be two stories, but the applicant is only proposing a single-story building as part of a master concept plan. 

While the zoning allows an extensive number of uses, Community Development Director Mary Gibbs said she’s happy to see this proposal is intended for office and retail. “Some of the uses that people have come in and asked us about [are] gas stations and things,” she said. “We have had some uses that we had told them, ‘Please keep going elsewhere.’ So, this is a good improvement.” 

Considering the site’s frontage on U.S. 41, project architect Ramon Acevedo said enhancing the frontage is a main goal. Acevedo said GMA Architects & Planners is proposing the creation of three different towers on the dental office building as an effort to enhance the frontage. “You’re going to see this nice elevation … for recognition and a strong presentation toward 41,” he said. 

Architects are still working on the projection of the perimeter of both buildings, including the commercial space. Creating articulation, breaking up the line of the roof, creating a pattern with stucco and colors and using trim elements are also still being worked on, Acevedo said. 

Prioritizing accents and beautification on the entire perimeter of the building proved to be important, considering the project’s proximity to the Breckenridge community. The north and west elevations of the proposed development would be part of Breckenridge residents’ views, causing some to vocalize concerns Wednesday. 

Former Estero Mayor and Breckenridge resident Katy Errington doesn’t oppose developing the parcel, but said residents have concerns regarding traffic congestion and the ingress and egress of the site. 

Another issue causing concern for residents is the aesthetics of the building, with some facing the back of the development. They sought assurances that architectural and beautification components are implemented properly. 

Errington referenced the design of Sprouts Farmers Market in front of the Estero Parc apartments. “It’s beautiful,” she said. “Please mirror that when you think about this. Looking down on that, we don’t want to look at dumpsters. We want something beautiful, something that’s pleasing.” 

Gibbs suggested the applicant meet with the Breckenridge community to discuss residents’ concerns, considering the village received about 230 emails from residents. 

Board members sought more architectural accents or components to liven up the building, as well as a desire for foundation planting.  

The applicant has zoning in place for the proposed uses, but has not yet filed for a development order, which would include the supporting infrastructure for the project, including access from U.S. 41, parking, utilities, perimeter buffers and a stormwater management system. 

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