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Estero Boulevard, deliveries discussed
May 16, 2018

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When a Fort Myers Beach Town Council planning session takes four hours, you know they had a lot to talk about.

The Estero Boulevard project, Tax Incremental, Financing (TIF) and noise control all got considerable discussion during the session Wednesday at Town Hall.

Doug Meurer, assistant county manager, talked with council about the progress being made on Estero Boulevard, which is scheduled to be completed in 2021, almost six years ahead of schedule.

But if the council had one critique, it was the lack of landscaping so far, which seemed to outweigh other issues such as stormwater.

"Landscaping and irrigation should be part of a whole plan and not an afterthought," said Joanne Shamp. "Why are we supposed to tell you to landscape? This is not our level of expertise."

"As projects age the legacy of that project is landscaping," said town manager Roger Hernstadt. "It would be a shame to not make it something where people say 'Wow.'"

Meanwhile, another project had Dennis Boback hot under the collar, which was the individual street waterline project. He said the project is being done in an inefficient manner and it's impacting many more residents than it needs to.

"When you build a house, you have things done in a certain order. This is the same thing. You schedule them so you know they'll be done on a certain date," Boback said. "What's happening is they'll work on one street for a few hours and leave for week, then come back for a couple days and leave again."

As far as using TIF to fund certain projects, the reaction was somewhat mixed. Bruce Butcher said he thought the money could help enhance Fort Myers Beach as a playground.

Shamp said she has a problem with picking out real estate and taking it from them to use in the rest of the community.

"We need help with lighting and dredging needs to be addressed, but we don't need TIF to do them. I want to be a safe playground," Shamp said.

Anita Cereceda and the town manager said the town needs a broader vision of what it wants to accomplish as an entire island, not just street by street.

"You need to think big in your vision. Not what we need in 2019 but five or 10 years down the road," Hernstadt said. "Things are happening and we need to anticipate them."

Also discussed was noise control, particularly commercial deliveries and complaints that too many trucks are coming in the wee hours of the morning.

The town council is looking at limiting the time deliveries can be made. Right now, the ordinance says 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but some are coming a little or a lot earlier.

One of the problems is that there are many residents who live right along Estero Boulevard and near the downtown area and it had created a situation where if one person gets helped, six others get effected negatively.

Also, restaurants need to have their fresh food delivered early to be prepped and ready for when they open.

"If we help Mr. X, it effects Mr. LMNO. There is no global solution to this," Cereceda said.

"There has to be something to help these people. The solution of 6:30 a.m. is better than 4," mayor Tracey Gore said. "We need to ask these delivery people their schedule and see if they can amend them."

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