New TPI Plan Revealed Monday

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Town Council Meets

Tom Torgerson plans to reveal his new TPI downtown project concept at a special work session of the Fort Myers Beach Town Council at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2016.

Town Council has scheduled two work sessions (10 am and 3 pm) and a regular council meeting (4 pm) on November 7th. The first work session at 10am will include a Florida Department of Transportation (FL DOT) presentation regarding roundabouts, congested areas and overpasses. This presentation is in response to a request by council to the FL DOT for information on traffic mitigation options.

Also in the 10 am work session will be a presentation on Phase 2 of the Estero Boulevard Waterline Replacement Project by CellaMolnar & Associates, Town sign options and Tourist Development Council funding requests for 2017-2018.

Changes to the parking ordinance requested by Public Works staff, now that parking is handled in-house, will have it’s third public hearing on November 21. During the 10 am work session Monday, council will have the opportunity to discuss the changes. No official action is taken at work sessions, which are generally informational meetings.

The 10 am work session will include Public Comment. The 3 pm work session will not. That 3 pm session has only one agenda item – a presentation designed to give council members a first look at the new downtown redevelopment concept TPI plans to submit to the Town, tentatively deemed Times Square Resorts.

If any special exceptions or variances are requested for the project, public hearings will be required before the Local Planning Agency and Town Council, all of which will provide opportunity for public comment.

Those that wish to avoid what is sure to be a crowded council chamber, will be able to watch the presentation at home on Comcast channel 98.

Torgerson initially presented a much larger downtown project about a year ago called Grand Resorts Fort Myers Beach. About six months after initially presenting the concept and holding four public sessions seeking input from residents, he made the decision amid vocal opposition, to revise the concept. Shortly afterward a second proposal began to take shape with the help of several focus groups that included both supporters and opponents of the original project.

Early this summer, the outline of the new project began to emerge in those focus groups. Gone were the most contentious aspects of the Grand Resorts plan. The new plan would not include Crescent Beach Family Park, a public parking structure, a conference center, pedestrian mall, boardwalk or coastal protection system. There would be no rerouting of Estero Blvd.

At that time John Gucciardo, former Deputy Town Manager of Fort Myers Beach (1996-2006) and retired Assistant City Manager of Bonita Springs began serving as a consultant for TPI for the downtown Fort Myers Beach project. He’s emphasized that the purpose of the focus groups was to gather input that could be utilized to create a concept that works and that people are comfortable with.

Torgerson has indicated that those efforts have been successful. The plan presented Monday will be updated, even from what focus groups saw, as it will contain changes their comments and concerns triggered.

Monday’s 4 pm Council Meeting agenda includes a Public Hearing on a sign variance for Best Western Plus Resort, Historic Structure Recognition, a Pink Shell Settlement, the sidewalk in front of Beached Whale and the creation of a Crescent Beach Family Park Ad Hoc Committee. Full agendas and supporting documentation is available on the Town’s website, fortmyersbeachfl.gov.

 

Missy Layfield