Three Big Projects Ready For an LPA Look

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The Local Planning Agency will be back in the spotlight Tuesday, May 14th. The new Cottage/Shuckers (pictured here), Myerside and Sandy Bottoms are all expected to be on the LPA agenda. Three projects everyone in the community has been anxiously awaiting.

The Cottage/Shuckers
An application for a new Shuckers/Cottage Bar at 1250 Estero Boulevard was submitted back in March. The application includes 5 variance requests. The previous building was totally destroyed by Hurricane Ian and the 1978 Coastal Construction Control Line prevents it from being built where it was out on the sand previous to Ian. It’s unlikely the town would issue permits for any new structures seaward of the CCCL.

Prior to the storm Shuckers & The Cottage Bar totaled approximately 10,900 square feet. The structures were older, non-conforming and encroached over the 1978 CCCL. The proposed new 3-story building will be about 12,000 square feet. It includes a beach bar at the ground level, the second floor would be Shuckers, and the third floor would be The Cottage Bar/Restaurant, which includes live entertainment and a dance floor.

One of the variance requests is for a slightly higher building. Code allows for 40 feet in that area. The variance request is to go to 43 feet.

The overall structure proposed is approximately 10% larger than the historic building in order to accommodate modern construction methods, and meet today’s standards associated with kitchens, bathrooms and mechanicals.

Myerside
The Myerside Boutique Resort on Estero Boulevard, next to the Fort Myers Beach Library, was first pitched to the community in August of 2023. Owners Beverly Milligan and Rolland Weinmann unveiled the idea to a crowd of 40 people at DiamondHead where it was well received. Since then town staff submitted a list of concerns about the project in March of 2024 which the owners responded to in April. Now, the LPA gets a crack at it.

The new Myerside plan is for the hotel to sit over a street level commercial area. The proposal is for 42 lodging units with an additional 4 workforce units. Pre-Ian Myerside had 14 cottage units.

Currently Myerside can build 30 lodging units by right and will seek rezoning from the town to gain the additional units. At it’s highest point, the hotel would be 4 stories which would be 45 ft high ground to roof. The proposal includes 56 parking spots.

Sandy Bottom’s
In June of 2023 Mike and Dawn Miller purchased the old Tuckaway Cafe building and property at 2301 Estero Boulevard for $3.1 million. They plan to convert the building, which also included an ice cream shop, to a new Restaurant and Bar called Sandy Bottom’s. The structure is sound, and under the 50% FEMA rule, according to Mike Miller.

Pictures of the new restaurant should be available soon. Until then, the Miller’s have this cartoonish photo which, as you can see, includes an outdoor tiki area right off Estero Boulevard.

The plan is for the 4,000 square foot building to become one restaurant. The Miller’s are looking to amend the existing CPD and expand the outdoor seating area to include a tiki structure and outdoor entertainment.

Because construction on the new Whale building is set to begin May 17th, the Miller’s will be moving their big white tent down to Sandy Bottom’s location until construction gets underway on that location.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. I thing new restaurant and shopping are positive to FMB. I would recommend to approve the two requests. I think 3 extra feet is work the variance to get extra visitor space that is NOT A 15 story building. This will actually reduce the need for more highrises. I do agree that London Bay will ask for way more. My experience with them is that they will claim to be “Good Neighbors”. The people around Bay Beach line will tell you THEY ARE NOT!

  2. Carol, you are correct about London Bay. They have proven to the people along Bay Beach Lane to NOT be good neighbors. Yet they will claim to be exactly that again in the near future.

  3. Here we go with variances to increase density and traffic. Sorry these folks have to increase size to “break even” on reconstruction, but, they are island business owners who were well aware of the town limitations when they bought their business before Ian. I guess slipping in workforce housing makes it more appealing to the LPA? Great strategy to get a variance!

  4. Looked at the LPA agenda. Don’t see Cottage on the agenda, and no sign posted at property. I’m sure Holly knows why…

  5. If you just want to create one large tourist trap, then add a couple of feet to the height, a trio of rooms to every hotel, 10 more cars daily, 5 less parking spaces and FMB will cease to exist. Maybe we should just close up shop and become part of Ft Myers?

  6. As a resident of FMB I am against any development that will bring one more car on the Island or increase density. The Island was overpopulated prior to Ian. Now we have a chance to rebuild FMB into a more comfortable environment for property owners that call Estero Island their home.
    So, I recommend the following;
    1) Stick to the code. Do not compromise.
    2) No Workforce Units. This is a slippery slope we do not want to go down. Besides, nothing stops an owner from offering discounts to renters if they wish. The city should stay out of this.

  7. Need a way to fast tack some of these approvals or nothing will get built for years. Some compromise will be necessary to restore this island.

  8. It is shocking to me the lack of progress on restaurants and smaller hotels since Ian. Us homeowners have moved along to repair or replace homes.

  9. At first, I thought the same thing on the Cottage: It’s minimal, just allow it. But start giving an inch, London Bay will want a million miles. Stick to the code. Same with Myerside, 30 not 42 rooms. Finally, the parking rules need to be changed. We don’t need any more cars coming to FMB during peak season. The Duvall/Mallory Square/Marina area of Key West is way bigger than the Diamond Head to Pink Shell area of FMB. Most people Uber to their lodging in Key West and walk everywhere once they’re there. Luckily, FMB has the trolley and peak season tram for the north end. FMB and Lee County need to do better communicating this.

  10. The Cottage variances are small and should be allowed. Myerside wants a more than 50% increase over vested rights. Just imagine 50% more units in every project and building on the Beach. I’d say give them their 30 and four workforce units.

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