In the case of Midbrook v Martin County (13-3397GM; 14-0135GM; ACC-15-002), the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Florida Administration Commission, ruled that Martin County’s comprehensive plan amendments regarding the combination of the Eastern and Indiantown Urban Service Districts, were rendered “not in compliance” due to the methodology used to calculate residential capacity, and the failure to consider the separate and distinct real estate markets in the eastern and western portions of the County. Additionally, the Administration Commission ruled that the Martin County Board of Commissioners, “…amends certain elements (or portions thereof) in its Comprehensive Plan by categorizing these elements as “critical issues” and then applying a different voting standard. Section 163.3177(1)(b), Florida Statutes, provides in relevant part, “[All] mandatory and optional elements of the comprehensive plan and plan amendments shall be based upon relevant and appropriate data and an analysis…” Therefore, the Board was required to consider appropriate data and analysis prior to creating a sub-category of “critical issues” and applying a different “voting standard.” The Administration Commission then found that the supermajority voting requirement as written was not “in compliance.” David Depew, PhD, AICP, LEED® AP, provided litigation assistance, testimony, and research efforts on behalf of Midbrook. Midbrook’s counsel, Greg Munson and Brian Seymour of the Gunster Law Firm, directed the successful challenge. Hank Fishkind (Fishkind and Associates) also assisted with economic analysis and testimony on behalf of Midbrook.
On March 18, 2016, the Lee County Conservation Land Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee (CLASAC) unanimously approved a motion to forward the nomination of the Bentley Crossings property to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) for approval to purchase the property in order to supplement the 20/20 lands currently held by the County. On June 21, 2016, the unanimous approval of the CLASAC was supported by Commissioner Pendergrass, members of the Calusa Saddle Club, and the Conservancy. The BOCC reviewed and approved possible acquisition of the property by the 20/20 program, and directed Staff to obtain the necessary appraisal data for preparation of an offer to purchase the site. Morris-Depew Associates provided survey data along with highest and best use information essential for the appraisal to be done by the county. Further action by the County is pending until the completion of the appraisal. If the owners and the County can reach an agreement on price, the property will become preservation lands rather than the Mixed Use Planned Development proposed for the site.
The prior approval, granted in November, 2015 by the Lee County Commission, granted authority to proceed for the Bentley Crossings development. The permitting efforts included significant community input, one element of which was an agreement to put forward the property for potential acquisition by the Lee County 2020 program. The approval of the request was for 283 units and 110,000 SF of commercial uses. Attorney Charles J. Basinait of the Henderson, Franklin, Starnes and Holt, PA law firm served as land use counsel (and is coordinating with the County in its acquisition efforts), while Tina M. Ekblad, MPA, AICP, LEED ®AP provided planning expertise. Michael Ekblad, PLA, assisted with site planning efforts and landscape architecture elements of the design, and Bill Morris, PE, LEED ®AP, engaged in stormwater management analysis for the site. The hard work done by interested residents, constructive efforts by Lee County Staff, and the genuine interest of the property owners to create a development consistent with the County requirements compatible with surrounding uses represents a balance among the various competing interests found in modern Lee County development programs. The potential for County acquisition of the site also represents a possible public/private partnership in extending the County’s efforts at resource preservation.
Morris- Depew Associates welcomes Ken Gallander, MP, AICP, to the team! Ken is the former Community Development Director for the city of Destin, Florida where he was involved in providing leadership and management direction in the development and implementation of comprehensive growth management and transportation plans, Comp Plan/Land Development Code Amendments, code enforcement, and building/permitting administration. During his time at the city, he was also appointed interim City Manager in 2011 and regularly appointed as acting during the manager’s absence. Mr. Gallander began his planning experience at the City of Destin in 1999 as a Planner and was promoted to Current Planning Manager of the City of Destin in 2002 where he managed all short-range planning/development services and functions, lead the primary coordination and support for Technical City Review Committee and Board of Adjustments and conducted long range planning in coordination with the city’s Comprehensive Planning Manager.
As Project Manager with Morris-Depew Associates, Mr. Gallander is responsible for research, design, and administrative tasks related to analysis and management of site planning, land use changes, rezoning requests, and litigation support through working closely with allied professionals, clients, and colleagues. Additionally, he assists in the preparation of proposals, site plans, presentation exhibits, and other relevant planning items as part of the overall project team.
Project Manager, Ryan Shute, PE and Michael Ekblad, PLA are currently preparing construction plans for the Youngquist Brothers. The plans are for water and sewer infrastructure to serve a 59 lot subdivision previously platted and entitled by
Morris-Depew Associates. The property is located off of Corkscrew Road in unincorporated Lee County, approximately 1.5 miles west of the Corkscrew Road-Alico Road Intersection. Mark Hatfield, PSM provided the topographic survey for design purposes. In addition to the utility improvements the project will also include site enhancements, including a decorative entry, decorative paving, community signage, enhanced buffering and landscaping.
On April 4, 2016, Special Magistrate Jane Lane upheld the Board of County Commissioners decision to deny a requested rezoning by Damascus Trading Company and Thomas Mouracade. The applicant sought a rezoning of a 5 acre parcel on Winkler Road to establish a long-term treatment facility for alcoholism, substance abuse and addiction within a Single Family Estate Lot Subdivision. The proposal included intense medical services as well as a number of commercial uses in addition to the long-term treatment center. During the rezoning process and hearing of the Special Magistrate, Tina M. Ekblad, MPA, AICP, LEED® AP, provided testimony on behalf of the adjacent neighbor to the proposed facility that the request was inconsistent with the character of the existing surrounding single family neighborhood. Upon hearing and reviewing this testimony, the Special Magistrate confirmed the expert opinion of Ms. Ekblad regarding the inconsistent nature of the request. Therefore the previous denial by the Lee County Board of County Commissioners shall remain in place. Attorneys E. Bruce Strayhorn, Esq and Jenna Persons, Esq of the firm Strayhorn & Persons, PA served as land use counsel for the rezoning hearings and Special Magistrate.
Bay Harbour Marina Village MPD is the most recent redevelopment project proposed for San Carlos Island. Working with owner Jack Mayher, the Managing Member of Southern Comfort Storage, LLC, along with Russell Schropp, Esq. (Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, PA), James Ink, PE (Inkwerks, Inc.,), and Ted Treesh (TR Transportation Consultants, Inc.), David Depew, PhD, AICP, LEED® AP, Tina M. Ekblad, MPA, AICP, LEED® AP and Ken Gallander, MP, AICP, have been assisting with planning this combination Lee Plan amendment, rezoning request, and bonus density application. The proposed Bay Harbour Marina Village MPD will be a mixed use development based upon the already approved redevelopment of the Compass Rose Marina, promoting the vision of San Carlos Island as a boating and marine community.
The development plan consists of the following uses:
A. The current marina plan of a 286 slip dry storage building, 29 wet slips, and three (3) loading slips will remain, and the approved 7,200 square foot multipurpose building will be reduced to a smaller ship store with relocated restaurant facilities;
B. A 500-space parking garage to allow for parking needs of the facility and provide excess public parking for daily use of beach goers.
C. A commercial/residential structure to be constructed combining commercial and residential uses; and
D. Workforce housing units intended to provide affordable housing for workers within the Town of Fort Myers Beach.
The Bay Harbour plan will redevelop the site into a sustainable community with uses that provide an integrated development with existing and proposed uses on San Carlos Island, and will assist in creating affordable housing near employment demand. The parking garage will also provide a convenient location and access to the beach. It is only a 15-minute walk from the parking garage to Lynn Hall Park in the Town of Fort Myers Beach. The final hearing before the Lee County Hearing Examiner was held on Jun 17, 2016, and the applicants are awaiting a recommendation to take to the Lee County Commission.
The Nominating Committee of Connect Florida in conjunction with the Leadership Florida Board has once again named Morris-Depew Partner and Planning Director, Tina M. Ekblad, MPA, AICP, LEED® AP to serve on the 2016-2017 Connect Florida Board of Governors as the Southwest Regional Chair. Her duties will include recruitment efforts for the 2017 Connect Florida Class as well as outreach with Connect Florida Alum and organizing Regional Events with the Leadership Florida Regional Council. This is Tina’s second year at the helm of this demanding position.
Dr. David W. Depew , PhD, AICP, LEED® AP, acted as moderator for the well attended Tiger Bay Luncheon featuring a District 3 County Commissioners Candidate Forum. Larry Kiker and Dick Anderson presented their qualifications and also answered questions from the audience. Topics included Lee County’s conservation lands acquisition program, budgets, education, transportation, and backgrounds of each of the candidates. The forum provided a lively debate between the candidates and information to all attendees about their experience. In March, Dr. Depew was the sole facilitator for a 2 credit ethics class to the Emerald Coast Chapter of the Florida Planning Association.