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Estero planning panel approves Hertz plan
Estero planning panel approves Hertz plan: Although it wanted more details, the Estero planning panel approved Hertz's zoning changes. Hertz's project now goes before the Lee County hearing examiner on June 27 and the board of county commissioners in August. Video by Chris Umpierre
news-press.com

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Complete Hertz coverage at: news-press.com/hertz

Estero Community Planning Panel members wanted to know where Hertz plans on locating its 1-acre rental car lot at its Estero headquarters. They wanted to know how the car lot would look like, how many buildings Hertz will create and what type of employee parking will be built.

An attorney representing Bonita Springs-based CP Land Investment, which is under contract to sell the vacant land to Hertz, had few answers.

Hertz, which didn’t send a representative to Monday’s Estero Community Planning Panel meeting, hasn’t released any site plans for its Estero headquarters

Despite the lack of answers, Estero Community Planning Panel members conceptually approved Hertz’s plans. Hertz’s plans for a 300,000 square-foot headquarters still has to be approved by the Lee County hearing examiner on June 27 and by Lee County commissioners at an August meeting.

“It’s subject to substantial further review,” said Jack Lienesch, chairman of the Estero Community Planning Panel. “Conceptually, we don’t see any problems, but the devil is in the details and we don’t have enough details right now.”

Ned Dewhirst, Oakbrook Properties senior vice president for Florida, whose company is managing the vacant tract of land, said he hopes to bring site plans to Estero’s planning panel before the project goes before the hearing examiner.

Roger Strelow, an Estero Community Planning Panel member, said Hertz has grand plans in moving its headquarters from New Jersey.

“Just by looking at pictures of their current New Jersey headquarters, it’s unlikely that they’ll come in here and produce an eyesore,” Strelow said. “Senior executives are going to live and work here. They’re not going to want an unattractive place.”

Some Club at Rapallo residents, whose community is adjacent to the planned site near the intersection of Williams Road and U.S. 41, wanted answers Monday. They’re concerned about traffic from 700 workers working nearby and if the car lot will be near their community.

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Attorney Matt Uhle, who was representing the land owner, said Hertz has plans on building several buildings at the headquarters. The buildings could be up to 55 feet tall or three stories. Hertz is considering building a structured parking lot.

Some Rapallo residents are concerned the height of the building could impact their views of “the sunset.” But the property is already zoned for a 45-foot theater and 55-foot mixed-use building.

Hertz must adhere to Coconut Point mall’s standards since the land is part of a 482-acre development of regional impact. An 80-page design standard manual, which emphasizes Mediterranean architecture, applies for all of the 482 acres.

Uhle said he believes the principal access Hertz employees will use will be Williams Road. He said a landscaping buffer is already created around the 34.5-acre property and that will not go away. Uhle said Hertz hasn’t released site plans yet because of how fast the project has moved.

“It may be an expedited process, but we are following the process,” said Chip Block of the Lee County Zoning Department. “This will go to a public hearing where the public will testify at the Lee County hearing. The public can comment when it goes before the county commissioners.”

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