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Issue 609

10/11/2012 at 5:16pm
Mound House GroundsLPA Nominates Mound House
for National Register

The October meeting of the Local Planning Agency and Historic Preservation Board addressed a nomination of the Mound House to the National Register of Historic Places. The LPA also held a Public Hearing for a Special Exception Request for the Smok'in Oyster Brewery and postponed discussion of the "Big M” roof sign as a historic sign and a sign variance hearing for Moss Marine.

The National Register is the United States' official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. The process of being listed on the National Register begins with the Florida State Historic Preservation Office. If selected, the application then moves to the National Park Service in Washington DC for final approval and listing with the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

Patti Evans, Director of Parks and Recreation asked the LPA for their approval, noting that the Friends of the Mound House and the Cultural and Environmental Learning Center Advisory Board (CELCAB) support pursuing the designation for the Mound House.

Evans explained that a listing in the National Register does not, in itself, impose any obligations on the property owner or restrict the right to use and dispose of the property. The Town has already received state funding that requires state review of any changes. The Mound House has also received grants that if the property were to be sold would require repayment of those grants.

LPA Chair Joanne Shamp asked if the historic designation would be for the house or the archeological site. Evans indicated that they would word the application to include both.

LPA member Al Durett asked for clarification of the amount of money the Town has spent on the Mound House. Evans estimated that between staff time and renovation cost, the Town was getting close to a $1 million investment. The Mound House was purchased in 1999 with a Florida Communities Trust grant of $1,031,000.

The LPA unanimously approved nominating the Mound House for the National Register. Town Council will address the nomination at their meeting on October 15.

The Historic Preservation Board agreed to continue a discussion on whether the Big M roof sign warrants historic designation until the December 12th meeting.

HPB chair Jane Plummer reported that the September 25th meeting with the Historic Advisory Committee included a discussion of properties to consider for historic recognition and whether bronze recognition plaques should be ordered.

The scheduled Public Hearing for a Sign Variance for Moss Marine was continued until February 12, 2013 to allow for a joint discussion with Town Council regarding sign variance issues.

Development Director Walter Fluegel noted that the Town's sign code is designed to address signage along Estero Blvd. where a monument sign is within 10-20' of the road. Marina signs may be 200-300' from the navigable channel. As a result marinas have some unique sign issues.

"All of the other marinas are CPD's (Commercial Planned Developments), this is the only one that is not a CPD. The other marina's sign issues were dealt with in the CPD.”

The Smok'in Oyster Special Exception Hearing included a request to expand seating with COP in the Town's right of way (sidewalk) and an expanded deck on the 3rd Street side of the building.

The LPA noted that this was the first time COP in the Town's ROW would be allowed outside of the Time Square area. Shamp was hesitant to set precedent.

"I think that the comp plan clearly supports this pedestrian oriented outdoor dining. There are parts of the application that are clearly supported,” Shamp said. "There are parts that really concern me because I think it's a precedent that the LPA should not be determining –Town Council should."

LPA Attorney Marilyn Miller assured the LPA they would not be setting precedent, "You don't' have final authority on anything… It's just a recommendation.”

LPA members had concerns about the placement of tables on the sidewalk along San Carlos Blvd and the number of chairs at those tables as well as placement of a Town bench and a proposed SOB waiting bench.

After discussion, the LPA voted 7-0 to approve the Special Exception with Staff Conditions plus a condition that a clear pathway of at least 5' is maintained and the seating area be defined by pavers or paint.

Fluegel updated the LPA on several items of interest. The properties at 4545 Estero will be discussed at Council on Oct 15. The prospective purchaser of the property is working with the bank. The property has accumulated a $168,000 lien due to code violations. Staff is recommending that the lien be reduced to $16,800 on condition the properties are demolished and removed within 30 days.

The result of the magistrate hearing regarding property at 3420 Estero Blvd was a negotiated agreement accepted by the magistrate that included the rental agent and Keith Laakkonen working together to develop an educational program on sea turtle lighting issues for rental agencies, a donation of $500 to Turtle Time by Bay Pointe Property Management and property owner William Griggs. While the magistrate did not fine the owner or rental agent, he did specify that there was a violation, so that if there is a repeat violation at this property, it will be noted. Since the hearing, the rental agent has modified the lease making the tenants responsible for any violation. They have also purchased new outdoor lighting that is turtle-compliant.

Fluegel also mentioned that at their October 15 meeting, Town Council will discuss the Ebbtide development on San Carlos Island that is scheduled to appear on the Lee Hearing Examiner agenda on November 14. Ebbtide is a mixed very large project planned for the end of Main Street including several condo towers, a large hotel complex and retail stores. Council will determine if they want an official town representative at that meeting to address traffic concerns.

The next LPA meeting is scheduled for November 13 at 9am.

Missy Layfield