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The 2004 Evaluation and Appraisal Report logoNew Horizon 2035 logo

Adobe Reader RequiredCover
Adobe Reader RequiredTable of Contents
Adobe Reader RequiredExecutive Summary
Adobe Reader RequiredChapter 1 - Introduction
Adobe Reader RequiredChapter 2 - Vision Framework: A Sustainable Planning Approach
Adobe Reader RequiredChapter 3 - Critical Community Issues
Adobe Reader RequiredChapter 4 - Recommendations for EAR-Based Amendments
Adobe Reader RequiredAppendix A - Data & Analysis
Adobe Reader RequiredAppendix B - Recommendations for Amendments to Existing Lee Plan Elements
Adobe Reader RequiredAppendix C - Recommendations Based on Changes to State Law

A Comprehensive Review of the Lee Plan

What issues are most important to growth and land use planning in unincorporated Lee County?  Does the Lee Plan adequately address those issues?  Would you like to change the plan to better direct the development of our county through comprehensive planning?

Those questions were answered by Lee County planners as they update the Lee Plan, the comprehensive plan for unincorporated Lee County.  The effort will refine the community’s vision of what unincorporated Lee County should look like through growth and land use planning through the year 2035.

This vision-based comprehensive plan update was the basis of an Evaluation and Appraisal Report, which was required by the state every seven years.  However, with support from the Board of County Commissioners, Lee planners went beyond the state’s minimum requirements for the 2011 Evaluation and Appraisal Report.  The ultimate goal was to develop a 21st-century document that supports unincorporated areas that are sustainable, self-sufficient and distinct in community character.  We call this broader visioning effort “Lee County – New Horizon 2035.”









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County planners envision traditional but sustainable development strategies in the Vision Framework that will, among other goals:

  • Better define urban, suburban, and rural areas
  • Encourage the redevelopment of vacant strip plazas into mixed-use centers
  • Promote walkability, bikeability, and transit options in order to reduce congestion
  • Foster a variety of park and public space resources
  • Advance a high quality of life for visitors, residents, and business people

New Horizon 2035 kicked-off in March 2010 with interagency scoping meetings that included Lee County departments and state and local agencies.  A series of public visioning workshops and a variety of staff policy workshops followed.  Through these, planners identified the most important planning issues and began drafting a vision framework which identified potential strategies for revising the Lee Plan based on the four planning issues: livability, connections, character and sustainability.

During March, the Planning Division held meetings with state, regional and local government agencies, including our own Lee County departments, to gather their suggestions about updating the Lee Plan.  For the ideas discussed at the three government scoping meetings held in March 2010, click on the links below: 

Public Safety Agencies, March 10, 2010
Intergovernmental Agencies, March 24, 2010
Lee County Agencies, March 31, 2010

Through April and May 2010, small-group workshops were held with residents and business owners to learn what issues and topics they wanted to address in the Lee Plan.  To review the ideas discussed at the nine community meetings held from April 15 to May 13, 2010, click on the links below:

Kick off meeting at Lee County Community Development/Public Works Building, April 15, 2010
Fort Myers Shores, April 20, 2010
Pine Island, April 21, 2010
North Fort Myers, April 27, 2010
Estero, April 28, 2010
South Fort Myers, May 4, 2010
Lehigh Acres, May 5, 2010
Boca Grande, May 11, 2010
Captiva, May 13, 2010

An Issues and Opportunities Report was drafted and submitted to the Florida Department of Community Affairs to outline the themes and recommendations that emerged from the first phase of this planning effort.  DCA responded with a Memorandum of Understanding for Lee County planners to proceed.

On June 28 and 29, 2010, the Lee Planning Division held a workshop for about 20 Lee County staff and other agency representatives.  They helped refine the Issues and Opportunities Report and lay the final groundwork for New Horizon 2035.

Workshop Photographs, June 2010

While the Planning Division drafted policy strategies for the Evaluation and Appraisal Report, a second series of public meetings presented the proposed strategies to citizens, business owners, and policy officials to ensure that the process so far captured the comments made early in the process.  Several of these meetings were sponsored by neighborhood groups or other organizations during their regular gatherings to encourage input from citizens.

The Local Planning Agency reviewed the report during public hearings in January and February and voted to transmit the report to Commissioners.  The LPA issued a position paper regarding the EAR.

Lee County Commissioners voted March 1, 2011 to adopt the New Horizon 2035 Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR).  It was reviewed by the Florida Department of Community Affairs, and in a letter dated May 10, 2011, DCA notified Lee County that its 2011 Evaluation and Appraisal Report is sufficient.

Staff has begun the task of drafting amendments to the Lee Plan to incorporate the New Horizon 2035 vision into Lee County's Comprehensive Plan.

Groups interested in having an update presentation about New Horizon 2035 at any time may contact the Planning Division, (239) 533-8583.