Oppisition to senior care facility in Estero

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 18:27:11-05

Some Estero residents are fired up and raising concerns about a proposal to build a continuing-care retirement community right next door.

The proposed Colonnade of Estero would be built at the northeast corner of Corkscrew Road and Sandy Lane on a 21-acre parcel of land, just to the south of the Estates of Estero River gated community. Developers in association with Volunteers of America, who hope to develop the 340-bed facility, made a presentation to Estero Village Council members at Wednesday's zoning board meeting.

"Consultants have shown us that this is a shortage we have had in our community," Mayor Nick Batos said.

Currently, the land in question is zoned for commercial use. It would need to be re-zoned as residential in order to build the Colonnade of Estero.

David Burton was one of several residents of the Estates of Estero River who spoke in opposition to the senior care facility at the meeting, and said the issue for him isn't just re-zoning. 

"The real question was, do we want this 45-foot building staring down on our community with 24-hour employees, lighting 24 hours, access roads, dumpsters in our backyard?" he said.

Brooke Gabrielsen also lives in the Estates of Estero River, and says a retirement community is better than some alternatives.

"We've also got a lot of college apartment housing going in, and that's great," she said. "But I don't necessarily want it next door. I would much prefer to have an assisted living, continuing care retirement community."

Batos says the re-zoning should have a lesser impact on the already congested Corkscrew Road.

"This particular project has far less of an impact on the roads than any other type of development that might have gone into this property," he said.

The council decided to postpone a final decision on the re-zoning until January 20. 

If approved, the Colonnade of Estero would likely be completed in 2018, and would employ about 160 people.