Opposition for Estero development despite recommendations

ESTERO, Fla. – The village council received recommendations about a contested development that is one of many properties approved by Lee County before Estero was incorporated.

The proposed Estero Crossing project, located off Interstate-75 and Corkscrew Road, would include multiple condo buildings, shops and a hotel. But the project was not approved by village council members according to Council Member Jim Wilson.

“There were projects that were approved as far back at 2004 and 2005 that didn’t get built when the market collapsed,” he said.

Those projects are now being handed down to Estero’s leadership, which is made up of a small staff.

“The challenge is not to become Bonita Springs,” Wilson said. “As much as I respect what they’ve done, I understand that they have over 60 full-time employees. We have about five or six full time employees.”

Deciding on projects is a huge task, Wilson said. He believes many of the county’s decade-old projects do not account for the current conditions in Estero.

Traffic is a huge concern for many. When a traffic consultant for Estero Crossings suggested on Tuesday that the large project would not create any additional traffic, residents sneered, laughed and boo’d.

Only one person spoke in favor of the development: Josh Evans, the president of a construction company located across the street from the proposed site. He said without attractive housing, he cannot bring in more business.

Evans also believes Estero residents want the area to remain unchanged.

“I feel like this is one of those situations where they just don’t want a development in that location at all,” he said.

Residents also spoke out against the height of proposed condo buildings.

Estero village leaders decided to continue discussions on the project. Developers will return to their plans to make changes.