At their October meeting, the Local Planning Agency (LPA) approved a request for a sign variance for the Best Western Plus Resort and recognized two properties for the Historic Plaque Program.
Their first order of business however was the unanimous passage of Resolution 2016-02: Recognition of Al Durrett. The resolution noted his five years of service on the LPA and his dedication to the improvement of Fort Myers Beach.
“His work both on the LPA and in the community stands as an example of true cooperation between a business and the town for the betterment of all,” reads the resolution. “We hope to emulate his actions.”
Five members of the LPA were present: Chair Hank Zuba, Vice-Chair Joanne Shamp, Suzanne Katt, Jane Plummer and Dan Hendrickson. Bruce Butcher and new LPA member Scott Safford were not present. Zuba and Shamp were selected to continue in their roles as Chair and Vice-Chair.
Noel Davies of Roetzel Andress law firm represented the Malbon family, owners of the Best Western Plus Resort, 684 Estero Boulevard in their sign variance request. He began by sharing a bit of history of the resort, noting that the Malbon family has been at the beach since the resort was built in 1985 and have won numerous awards.
The Best Western franchise has rebranded and all franchisees are required to install new signage by December 31, 2016, according to Davies. The resort’s wall sign facing Estero Blvd. is the only sign on the property. Davies explained that a monument sign was not an option due to landscaping, some of it owned by the Town at the edge of the property.
The current sign is 78 square feet, the proposed sign 55 sq. ft., a 23 sq. ft. reduction. The LDC calls for a maximum of 32 sq. ft.
Davies told the LPA that the only place a sign is effective is on the front of the building, which is 90 feet from the road. Clear signage that can easily be seen from Estero Blvd is important, he said, to allow drivers to see the sign before they get to the main driveway, to avoid missing the turn and causing congestion along Estero Blvd.
Tim Malbon, General Partner of Best Western Plus Resort spoke, asking for approval of the variance.
“We want to run a good family business at the resort. One of us, myself or my cousin, Jeff (Malbon) are on site every day,” Tim said. “This is a logo refresh that we have to do. We just want a visible sign.”
During Public Comment, Bill Shenko spoke in support of the variance.
“I live one door, as the crow flies, from the Best Western. I’ve lived there 30 years. If you took a yellow pad and wrote down everything you would like to see in a neighbor, they would exceed that list,” Shenko said. “For 30 years they have run an absolutely first class operation.”
After a brief discussion the LPA unanimously approved the variance request. It will now go before Town Council.
Historic Preservation Board
Meeting as the Historic Preservation Board, two requests were granted for Historic Recognition for a property on Ohio Avenue and an early island condominium.
The canal-front property at 226/232 Ohio Ave. was built in 1945 by Leonard Santini and is still in use as an unaltered residential cottage.
The Privateer of Fort Myers Beach, a condominium, was built in 1967 by Arthur C. Scott Jr, a notable island builder and the father of Sheriff Mike Scott. The 2-3 story Mid-Century Modern buildings hold 48 units. The application states it was the first condo on the island.
“Authors Rolfe Shell of ‘History of Fort Myers Beach’ and Jean S. Gottlieb of ‘Coconuts & Coquinas-Island Life on Fort Myers Beach 1920-1970’ include in their books the Privateer, as the first condominium on the island.”
The LPA will meet with the Town Council at their October 24th work session to discuss floodplain regulations and the 50% rule and possibly the LPA’s 2014 survey resolution.
The next LPA meeting will be November 8, 2016 at 9:00 am.