The proposed huge redevelopment by Grand Resorts should be categorically refused by both Lee County and our Town Council.
More than 4 years ago, after Lee County had purchased Seafarers Mall and later proposed turning this into a parking lot, some 70 or 80 good people from our island community (including important business people) signed a petition vigorously opposing the idea. Fortunately, it was turned down and the site remained empty!
Before that time, Larry Kiker, our County Commissioner, wrote me an E-mail on 12th Feb. 2011 saying that “the real reason” for the purchase of Seafarers Mall was “to relieve traffic congestion”. If that was so, then why was Seafarers Mall later sold to Tom Torgerson and Grand Resorts? Did Lee County know that their plan was to use Seafarers and the surrounding areas to build a huge parking garage and many large hotels, quite contrary to the provisions of our Comprehensive Plan?
I spoke to Tom Torgerson after the meeting at Chapel by the Sea on December 20th. I pointed out that the existing approvals on San Carlos Island for new massive high rise buildings, coupled with a possible redevelopment of the Compass Rose marina would inevitably mean far more traffic coming via San Carlos Boulevard towards our island. He apparently knew nothing about these existing approvals!
If the Grand Resorts projects are approved, traffic onto our island will be far worse than it is now for residents. As for hotel guests in these massive new hotels, many are likely to turn away and go elsewhere simply because of the terrible traffic. Very possibly, these hotels would not do so well as Grand Resorts imagine, and may well go out of business.
Their whole idea is absurd, quite contrary to our Comprehensive Plan for our island, and must be turned down!
Fort Myers Beach
Ed note: Lee County still owns Seafarers Mall.