Planners in Lee County, Florida turned thumbs down this week on Wal-Mart’s plans to erect a 228,000 s.f. superstore. Staffers cited overwhelming traffic on Route 41 as their reason for denial. The county staff report now goes to a Hearing Officer, and will be discussed at a public hearing on August 4th, and the final cut will occur when the Lee County Commissioners vote on the plan. The county staff report says the highway will operate at a “level of service” F, as in failing, if the Wal-Mart were built. The LOS is calculated based on car delays at various points on the roadway. Wal-Mart has been forced to work with county officials on the traffic, noise and appearance of their store, and now they have the county report working against them. The County complained that Route 41 may not get widened for at least another four years, and if the Wal-Mart is approved, it will make the current roadways fail — a violation of state growth laws that say roadways must be able to handle the increased traffic from a new project within three years of construction. According to the Naples News, Wal-Mart tried to offer the county a deal to quicken the road widening process: if the county paid for the road widening through bonding, Wal-Mart would pay for the interest. But residents who live in The Vines, a gated residential community near the proposed site, say Wal-Mart traffic is the last thing they need. “It’s not a friendly corner,” one resident told the News.
For earlier stories on this community’s battle with a 24/7 superstore, search this database by “Estero”.