Frustrated residents discuss 800 potential new apartments in Fort Myers

Published: August 10, 2022 10:15 PM EDT

The city of Fort Myers is growing quickly, but there are new concerns that the infrastructure can’t keep up with the growth.

Neighbors and Lee County Commissioner, Cecil Pendergrass, voiced their concerns Wednesday about a new proposed development at Daniels Parkway and Treeline Avenue.

Dozens of frustrated neighbors spoke up Wednesday during a town hall style meeting with the developer looking to build up to 800 apartment homes at the northeast corner of Daniels Pkwy. and Treeline Ave.

Fort Myers
Fort Myers residents attending a meeting voicing frustration about a potentially new development. (CREDIT: WINK News)

They’re the same neighbors who struggled to take a shower or wash their dishes last season because of low water pressure in the area. They’re also fearful that roadways like Daniels Pkwy. won’t be able to keep up with the growth.

Davis Group is the developer hoping to use 45 acres of undeveloped land to build up to 800 apartment homes. However, before they can get the permits, the city of Fort Myers has to prove they have the infrastructure to support that kind of growth.

“It’s not just about getting back to a net-zero of providing the water for the residents we have; we have to continue to plan for the future,” said Darla Bonk, city councilmember of ward 6.

Bonk said the infrastructure will be vastly improved before anyone potentially lives in the new area. “We also, with the Southwest Florida Management District, have the permit to be able to do 20 wells in total,” said Bonk. “So, we’re working towards those. I believe we’re at 10 or 11 of those wells… on the way to 20.”

The city bought millions of gallons of water from the county earlier this year after multiple communities experienced low water pressure. Those same neighbors again worry more growth will lead to the same problems.

Fort Myers
Town hall style meeting to discuss potential new Fort Myers development. (CREDIT: WINK News)

“Last year about July, the water pressure definitely went down,” said Mike Lamphere, a Fort Myers resident.

“We noticed issues as you would fill your wash machine to do your laundry,” said Barb Lamphere, also a Fort Myers resident.

They want to make sure infrastructure is growing faster than the population, and that includes roadways.

“It’s just a constant flow of people constantly, all day long, especially around rush-hour,” said Eric Ketterer, a Fort Myers resident. “And I don’t see this being a help at this point.”

Among those concerned is Cecil Pendergrass, who sent a letter to city council opposing the development proposed at the Daniels Parkway and Treeline Avenue location.

“So, you add another 800 units there, plus the growth that’s going on in Lehigh Acres and in Cape Coral, people are crossing across the county for jobs now and for services, that’s going to impact us,” said Pendergrass.

The developer will speak with city council at their next meeting on Monday. They’ll be addressing some of the concerns people shared at the meeting on Wednesday. The group also plans on conducting a traffic study to look at how the project could impact traffic on Daniels Pkwy. and Treeline Ave.