The Greater Pine Island Civic Association heard a presentation last Tuesday about the possible tenants for the old Cozy Corner business located on Avenue A in Bokeelia.
Peter Simmons, one of the three principal owners of the property, said they bought the property 14-15 months ago and it was in deplorable condition. He said many things needed to be fixed up; there were broken windows, kicked-in doors and trash everywhere.
Unfortunately during the time the building was vacant, the zoning was changed from commercial to residential.
"After the restaurant had been closed, it reverted to residential zoning," he said about the property that was developed in 1953.
Simmons said the property has always been commercial and taxed commercial.
"Only because it has been closed we have to ask for rezoning," he said.
Simmons said they maintained the building and fixed it up to look native to Pine Island.
"We are not going to expand it," he said, adding that it is a basic little building that they wanted to open for commercial use.
He presented a possible list of tenants to the GPICA during the meeting, which included a barber shop, beauty salon, pet grooming shop, donut shop, tobacco shop, real estate office, recording studio, small restaurant (stop-and-go shop), coffee shop, boat sales, pizza shop, bicycle shop, accounting business, landscaping business (plants, etc.), vegetable store, fruit stand and/or art studio.
Simmons said they cannot do anything until the zoning is changed to commercial.
Once the presentation was completed, Phil Buchanan made a motion to approve the proposal subject to the tenant being one of the businesses on this list. If the idea of something different comes forth, the property owners have to come back before the GPICA.
Buchanan also provided updates on various issues during the meeting.
The first topic highlighted the Pine Island Plan. He said the Lee County Attorney's Office proposed that the Pine island Plan be gutted, which was done in an incredibly low-key manner. Buchanan said he stumbled across the information in a 103-page report of changes to the land development code.
"The heart and soul of the Pine Island Code was crossed out," he said, adding that it took them 25 years to get the Pine Island Plan approved.
The density chart is the heart and soul of the plan, Buchanan said, due to it putting restrictions on how many houses can be built on a certain amount of acres. The standard maximum density is one dwelling unit per 10 acres.
"It makes for a nice housing development," he said. "It works, a good program."
Although the elimination was withdrawn and it was not scheduled to go before a committee as of March 5, Buchanan is still unsure if the proposal is dead or not and if they are going to pursue the elimination of the 910 rule.
The bike path extension in St. James City was also discussed.
Buchanan said Lee County received federal money to extend the bike path, which technically stops at 8th Avenue, all the way to the end of the island in St. James City. The extension would include four feet of path on each side of the road.
A meeting was scheduled to take place last weekend with the bike path committee to discuss the St. James City bike path.
Buchanan said there are currently some residents who feel they do not want the four feet in the front of their home; which leads to considerations on both sides.
The last issue that was discussed dealt with the golf cart ordinance. Right now a map is being drawn of where the golf carts can and cannot drive. Buchanan said he expects a public hearing will be held late March or early April.
"I expect the golf cart ordinance to be law within five to six weeks," he said.