Council voted to terminate the appointment of Patty Whitehead as a member of the Design Review Board. It was stated that she had shown a lack of good judgement in posting crude and obscene comments regarding government officials on social media, which was a discredit to the Village.
Mine Studies Peer Review
Bill Spikowski, Spikowski Planning Associates and consultant to the Village, gave a report on his peer review of mine reports including the Stuart and Waldrop studies.
He first described how mining for limestone lowers the water level or wetlands in the surrounding area, as well as the negative impacts to existing neighborhoods and wildlife. He stated that mining is the highest land use, when we should have a balance of land use in the DRGR (Density Reduction Groundwater Resource) area where much of our drinking water supply comes from. Mining in the DRGR negatively impacts the downstream communities of Estero and Bonita Springs.
He pointed out that the Waldrop report was wrong in that it greatly overstates the need for limerock based on inaccurate population counts, under estimated the amount of limerock that can be produced from several current mines and didn’t include the mines located in adjacent Charlotte and Collier counties. (Presentation)
Public Comment: 10 residents spoke in support of the Village taking action by contacting county and state officials relating the information from this peer review.
Staff will draft a letter for Council to send to the county and Mayor Boesch will contact the 5 other local municipalities in an effort to work together to resolve this issue.
Design Review Board and Planning & Zoning Board Ordinance Amendment
Council reviewed two proposed changes to Ordinance 15-01 pertaining to the Planning & Zoning and Design Review Boards. The changes would allow Council to appeal decisions made by one or both Boards within 30 days of the Board’s decision and that staff reports will be prepared to assist the Design Review Board with review of development orders. (Ordinance)
Stormwater Master Plan Update
The Village’s consultants from JR Evans gave a presentation on the Stormwater Master Plan. The plan details the regional hydrology affecting Estero from water flowing from the east of I-75 into the Estero River and Halfway Creek.
Their report included recommendations for 9 site specific stormwater improvement projects: Villages at Country Creek bypass, Three Oaks Parkway drainage improvements, Villagio/Estero Parkway drainage improvements, Estero Parkway culvert, River Ranch Road drainage improvements, dry creek bed sediment removal near Bamboo Island, Estero River side banks sediment removal on Sandy Lane, Broadway Ave. main tributary, and U.S. 41, north of Williams Rd. and south of Corkscrew Road. They also pointed out that maintenance projects need to be done annually. (Presentation)
FGCU Professor Dr. Don Duke presented a report on the work that he and his students conducted regarding local water resources. They worked to identify all of the ponds within Estero, which turned out to be 432 ponds with a total of 1,370 acres, mostly in residential communities. They are continuing to model the ponds at the University, which can be useful to the Village. (Presentation)
Additional details will be available in the minutes of this meeting. Residents may also view the archived meeting by going to the Village website http://estero-fl.gov/council/watch-meetings-online/.
The next Council meeting will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2019.