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Guest Opinion: A Pine Islander's viewpoint on the Calusa Cay Shopping Center

July 31, 2013
By JACQUELINE?M. Schuette , Pine Island Eagle

Sugject: Calusa Cay Shopping Center, Pine Island, Lee County, Florida

I was asked by a couple of residents to look at the recently approved plan for a shopping center to be located near the entrance to Pine Island. They asked me to make comments and make suggestions for deviations to the plan as a result of my 33 years experience as a landscape architect involving many campuses around Lee County, the state of Florida and my involvement with numerous large ecologically friendly projects such as Hewlett Packard's world headquarters and Nokia and Verizon eco-friendly campuses.

This parcel is the entrance to our community and reflects our island casual culture with concern for the environment and responsibility for our future development. Will the projects in the shopping center have economic sustainability since there is already a grocery store a few miles away? Can the entrance be more aesthetically pleasing? Is there a way to have community "ownership" for success? An example of ownership would be to have each of the nurseries on Pine Island have plants on the project with the nursery named on a small sign next to the plants.

Article Photos

Graphic provided
An artist’s rendering of the proposed development.

Is there a way to have lighter truck activity near the eco sensitive areas? I think so with the attached plan. There are even better solutions to what I currently propose. We would like to see porous paving and northern half of the parking lot used for the dry detention area.

The grocery store could be closer to Pine Island Road and there could be a water lake feature as you drive in. Several suggestions from others include 10-foot-tall living plant walls shielding views of the loading docks and/or moving the docks to under buildings. This is along with the northern half of the parking moved under a structure that includes a terrace for overlooking the wild areas. The Florida weather and lighting levels could be better addressed this way.

Will the new Publix be built at elevation 11 feet as per Lee County guidelines? Will golf carts be able to drive to and park at the center? Can there be a screened tiki hut for community activities including a Publix cooking classroom? Economically, business people have told me that it would work better if it were scaled down to 25,000 square feet.

Attached is a suggested variation to the approved plan. Look online to see the approved plan and see that the elements are basically the same, yet rearranged. Please comment to the developer and to Lee County Commissioners and to the Lee County Planning Department.



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