Village of Estero Village Council

Village of Estero Village Council

When the Village of Estero adopted its Land Development Code (LDC) on Jan. 27, 2021, it established a map of Estero’s zoning districts and set the standards for development, including architecture and landscaping, site plan design, green building and public gathering places. The LDC also establishes impact criteria for commercial development next to residential areas.

Additionally, the LDC establishes the governing procedures for development proposals and zoning requests in Estero. Formerly, there were two boards whose roles have now been combined into one Planning, Zoning and Design Board (PZDB).

The PZDB makes specified development and design decisions. For rezoning, amendments and other items, the PZDB makes recommendations to the Estero Village Council, which is the ultimate decision maker in Estero.

Role of Village Council

Village Council makes decisions based on the Comprehensive Plan, which can be considered Estero’s “constitution.” All land use decisions and all land development regulations must be consistent with Estero’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the “vision” document, and the Land Development Code contains the rules for its implementation.

Village Council reviews legislative matters and ordinances and votes on any Comprehensive Plan amendments. Council also handles rezoning requests for both businesses and landowners, as well as planned developments.

When a land use or zoning item is on the Village Council meeting agenda, there is a typical order of events:

  • Staff introduces the item (gives the background info and context).
  • The applicant makes a presentation supporting the request.
  • Council questions the applicant.
  • Public input is invited on the agenda item.
  • Council discusses the item, evaluating it based on the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code.
  • Council makes a decision.

Zoning public hearings are quasi-judicial, meaning there is an impartial decision-maker, all fact witnesses are sworn and testify under oath, and all interested parties have full opportunity to president evidence and arguments. Council’s decision must be supported by “substantial competent evidence,” which is based on facts, credible, relevant, not speculative, legally sound and “a reasonable mind would accept as enough to support the conclusion.”

For legal issues on certain matters, state or federal law may preempt procedures and standards in Estero. This may include wireless facilities and other “special uses,” uses implicating freedom of speech (ie. signs or billboards) and uses implicating freedom of religion.

Role of the PZDB

The Planning, Zoning and Design Board makes decisions on development orders, special exceptions, variances, consumption on premises for outdoor seating (certain cases), monument signs, commercial building repainting and building alterations. In some cases, Council may take “jurisdiction” of a decision.

The PZDB will review and make recommendations to Village Council on rezonings, planned development zoning and amendments, Comprehensive Plan amendments, and miscellaneous land development-related ordinances.

The PZDB consists of nine members appointed by Village Council. Co-chairs are Howard Levitan and Leonard “Scotty” Wood III; other members are Kristin Jeannin, James Tatooles, Marlene Naratil, Anthony Gargano, Barry Jones and Jim Wallace.

Role of Village Staff

For both the PZDB and the Village Council, Estero’s staff reviews all cases and prepares a staff report before the meeting, providing the “expert” opinion with recommendations and guidance. The Village Clerk maintains the Council’s records, including agendas, reports and meeting minutes.

Village staff also handles administrative items that don’t need to come before the PZDB or the Council, such as minor setback variances, limited development orders (example: small clubhouse renovation), minor technical deviations, consumption of alcoholic beverages on premises (except outdoor seating requests) and farmer’s markets.

Additionally, Village staff are available to answer questions from any Estero citizen! A staff directory with emails and phone numbers may be found on the Village of Estero website at www.estero-fl.gov/staff-directory. The Village’s website also contains contact information for Village Council members.

All Council and PZDB meetings are open to the public. A meeting calendar and agendas are available on the Village of Estero website, along with current Village News and meeting briefs. Public participation is welcomed!

To receive the latest information about the Village projects and community activities, go to the Village website and subscribe at estero-fl.gov

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