In each article the Gateway Sun has written about the proposed new Boardwalk at Gateway community, I have offered the caveat that whatever I wrote might be wrong – and I invited anyone to correct me if I was.
Well I’m back. And once again the information contained herein should be deemed unofficial, and upon consuming this freely available content you hereby agree to indemnify the Sun, its Editor and our sources for any and all incomplete and/or erroneous information you may or may not be presented forthwith.
We good? Great.
Here we go.
In my April 6 article, I wrote:
[Lee County Ordinance] #85-15 also says: Multiple-Family Dwelling Units – provided not more than 200 units are permitted throughout area 1, except as provided for in Section 1.07.
I read section 1.07 and it doesn’t really matter a whole lot here. So the question is what is “Area 1”.
When a Gateway resident with the initials JA called me last week and said that a Lee County staff member told JA there were already multi-family units in “Area 1” … I was obviously intrigued, to say the least.
I immediately articulated to JA that I suspected it was Royal Greens, but JA suggested it could be an area on the other side of SR-82 that was counted toward Area 1.
For what it’s worth, Multi-Family units are described in #85-15 as “A structure containing more than two dwelling units, when said dwelling units are located one on top of another.”
Anyway, after what JA told me I hit the phones and keyboard trying to run down the lead.
It paid off.
After discussions with multiple Lee County staff members, and after stomping my feet a little bit, the county’s Communications Director got her hands on a digitally produced map of Gateway from 2013 and sent it to me. Unlike the hand-drawn map of Gateway from 1985, the digital map from this decade was obviously very clear and easy to read.
According to the digital map Royal Greens is definitely in Area 1.
Importantly, Royal Greens has 312 units for which I have to assume there are permits for.
So what does that mean?
By now we all know that the Hole Montes representative stated at the public meeting on April 10 that the developer could build up 200 units with no problems, no hearings, no nothing. They could just do it.
As noted above, the Sun had taken the position that it depends on what all is contained within Area 1.
So if there are already 312 multi-family units in Area 1 that would seem to leave a grand total of … let me get my abacus out here… okay, subtract.. yep.. Pythagorean theorem… now move the 3… and we get… zero.
Zero units are available to be built in the Town Center area without altering either the parameters of the Town Center or changing the piece of land in question from Town Center to Multi-Family.
Done deal? Apartments at that site are a total no-go then?
Not just yet.
This is an official statement from the Lee County Department of Community Development to the Sun on April 12: “The applicant is proposing seven four-story buildings with 310 units. The property is located in a Town Center zoning sub-district, which allows for a maximum of 200 multi-family dwelling units. Staff is still determining how many multi-family dwelling units are available for this property to use.”
Lee County themselves aren’t even sure. They’re “still determining”.
For that reason I suggest everyone hold off on the champagne bottles. And before anyone spouts off roasting Hole Montes if they turn out to be wrong – if Lee County isn’t 100% sure what’s going on with that property, it’s easy to see how Hole Montes wouldn’t be either.
Lee County staff (and Hole Montes no doubt) will be going through county records, looking at all the amendments made to #85-15 over the past 30+ years and determining if any changes were made by the county that would still allow up to 200 units to be built under the Town Center designation… or whether (as I suspect) the existence of Royal Greens eliminates that possibility.
When Lee County makes an official determination, we’ll let you know.
But as of now (and I circle back to the caveat) it seems at least possible that the developer may not be able to build 200 units at the corner of Gateway Boulevard and Griffin Drive without a major change to the Gateway PUD/DRI.
And we have some more good news to share specifically on that front — another statement from DCD on April 12: “ If the applicant requests to re-designate the property to a different zoning sub-district such as multi-family, then it will need to go through the public hearing process.”
They won’t be able to sneak something like that through administratively, which many Gateway residents were worried about.
You can download a copy of the 2013 map by clicking here: http://gatewaysun.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Map_H.jpg
And here is Lee County Ordinance #85-15: https://www.leegov.com/bocc/Ordinances/85-15.pdf
Tomorrow, we’ll address the “Can I email Cecil Pendergrass about all this or not?” question, inclusive of the official Lee County position from Senior Assistant County Attorney John Fredyma.
You know you’re a big deal when your title has twice as many words as your name does.
Then, hopefully, we can put the Boardwalk at Gateway on the back-burner for a little while and move on to other topics. And the developer can go back to the drawing board and try to think up something that Gateway residents would actually approve of.