BY MARCY SHORTUSE – Developers looking into purchasing the 9.98 acres at the south end of the island, commonly known as the former FPL land, are one step closer to their goal as Lee County Commissioners recently voted to redesignate the future land use from “public facilities/port” to “urban community.”
Two developers, Seagate Development Group, LLC and BNB Homes, Inc. have formed Boca Pass Partners LLC, and are in the due diligence process of purchasing the property. Their intent is to build 20 homes on the land in a gated community called Hill Tide Estates, but as of yet the county has not approved that many homes there.
Chuck Basinait from Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt of Fort Myers is representing the developers.
“We have had our first public hearing on the comprehensive plan amendment (CPA) and the Local Planning Agency voted to recommend approval of our request to the Board of County Commissioners,” he said. “The second and final public hearing on the CPA in front of the Board will be held in March and we are optimistic that the Board will also approve the CPA request at that time.”
Basinait said the first public hearing on their rezoning request is scheduled for April and they will share their plans for Hill Tide Estates with the Lee County Hearing Examiner at that time.
The final public hearing on the zoning request in front of the board will occur sometime after that.
General consensus from the Boca Grande community is positive regarding the project, particularly after right of first refusal was passed up by the state parks’ system and the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association.
At a public meeting held in November of 2015, only two questions came up that Basinait and the developers weren’t sure about – beach access and whether or not the old oil dock would be allowed to remain in the water in front of the property.
Basinait told the more than 100 people who attended the meeting that they were leaning toward keeping the old oil dock for historical significance, and for aesthetics. As far as beach access went, he said that question had not been vetted yet, but he didn’t see why access would be cut off. He also told the crowd that the berm around the property, making it almost impossible for anyone to see from the road, would stay in place.
If everything is approved within the next year Basinait said the entitlement process could take 12 to 16 months, and the development could be complete within three to five years.