Developers have the green light to move forward with a controversial waterfront project that could change the face and future of San Carlos Island. It involves building a high-rise, a hotel and shops along Main Street.
Lee County Commissioners voted unanimously to allow the zoning change involving the Ebtide Project that would eventually tear down the Ebb Tide and Oyster Bay R.V communities and replace them with a 450 unit hotel, convention center, condos, retail and office space.
"We're obviously pleased. We thought it was consistent with the lee plan and the board did what they needed to do with the compliance of this project with the existing regulations," said Matt Uhly, Attorney for the property owners. The 36 acres of land could now be home to a multi-million dollar development and most of the island residents are not on board.
"When and if it happens, it will change the nature of the island, it's way taller, way more intense than anything there now," said island resident Charlie Whitehead. We're told the project could take years, but right now, residents and Fort Myers Beach town officials are concerned with the traffic the resort could bring to both land and water.
"This is the channel, it's the only way boats can go through and other way is Oyster Bay and the water is too shallow," said Beverly Wolfe.
The area around the Mantanzas Pass Bridge is notorious for traffic during season, but they say traffic would be a problem 365 days a year if and when this project is finished.
"Of course we are going to get increased traffic, they say no, but if course there is," said Wolfe.
Commissioners did say there will be a traffic plan prepared as part of the resort's development. Plans for a water taxi are also on the table. During the meeting, the property owner's attorney said they are still looking for a buyer.