Last Saturday morning, Tom Torgerson offered to donate over $250,000 worth of planning and design work to both the Town of Fort Myers Beach and Lee County.
In an email sent directly to all members of the Town Council and County Board of Commissioners as well as Town and County Managers, Torgerson said he and his team are now working on a new redevelopment proposal for downtown Fort Myers Beach, called Times Square Resorts, that will not require the Coastal Protection System as it will have all habitable space elevated above the flood zone.
He went on to offer to both entities the donation of the CPS plans that his team had already invested over $250,000 to develop. Reiterating that the CPS offers value to maintain the Comp Plan, he urged consideration of the donation.
“We would like to donate them for the jurisdictions consideration as a vision as to how the Town could maintain their Comprehensive Plans desired pedestrian corridor interface ‘in this specific zone of the Town/island,’ for current and future generations enjoyment. We all know that it is only a matter of time before 1) businesses in front of the VE Zone will have to rebuild up at the flood plain and 2) FEMA imposes more restrictions making the pedestrian corridor vision of the Comp Plan more and more difficult to ever achieve.”
The CPS plans are complete and include buildable architectural and engineering plans, including the consent of private property owners within the CPS area to make application for the CPS.
“We offer this donation with no strings attached. Meaning, we are moving ahead independent of any consideration you may or may not have for the CPS. We also offer up the expertise of our consultants, to assist in any manner you may request, to help vet out your possible consideration of the CPS for the Town. Hans Wilson and Ron Flick have agreed to make themselves available to you should you desire their assistance. Hans and Ron, along with Dick Tomasello would also be available to assist with applications processes with DEP and FEMA; they possess tremendous experience in these matters.”
Torgerson acknowledges that the Town and County’s consideration of the CPS is out of his team’s hands, yet they remain proud of the “incredibly creative piece of work and something we believe would be the envy of other coastal communities.”
His offer included details on how the County or Town might obtain the complete CPS package.
Response from either the Town or County appeared tepid at best this week when we contacted them for comment.
Town Manager Don Stilwell told us that he had not heard any feedback from council members yet on the offer. The offer has not been placed on any council meeting agenda and Stilwell planned to see what members of Town Council thought of the offer before doing so.
Mayor Dennis Boback was under the impression that the plans had been attached to the email offer, but admitted he had not looked closely at it. He doubted the offer would appear on a council agenda.
“At this point, I see no reason to deal with it.”
Council member Rexann Hosafros didn’t see any downside to accepting the donation and planned to attend Monday’s council meeting with an open mind.
Lee County spokesperson Betsy Clayton told us that there was no response yet from the county.
Last month Torgerson announced that the Grand Resorts FMB plan announced in November 2015, was being sent back to the drawing board. As for an alternative proposal, Torgerson told the Sand Paper that his team is still working on the new proposal’s feasibility. Currently called Times Square Resorts, Torgerson expects the plan to include two boutique-type resorts, one on each side of Estero Blvd. Beyond that, no details were available.