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Residents protest during zoning board meeting

January 31, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Vistanna Villa residents protesting a proposed administrative amendment that would allow another housing design in their community garnered some key local support last week.

After listening to concerns, the Lehigh Acres Architectural Zoning and Review Board unanimously disapproved the administrative amendment.

The request to allow detached single-family homes in the community will now go before the county for consideration.

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Residents from the Vistanna Villa community were up-in-arms over an administrative amendment request during the Lehigh Acres Architectural Zoning and Review Board meeting.


The amendment request was made by Stacy Hewitt from Banks Engineering on behalf of Wade Journey Homes.

The amendment to the original plans would allow Wade Journey Homes to build single-family detached homes in the community, which currently has two-family, Mediterranean style attached homes.

According to William Wetzel, a resident of Vistanna Villas, residents are against the change and feel that the altered building style will negatively affect their community.

"We are opposed to the rezoning from our current status of attached homes to single family detached homes. Not only will they be small homes without garages, but are also not up to the same caliber when it comes to building materials," said Wetzel.

Vistanna Villa's was originally built by KB Homes and consists of 138 homes, which are attached villas made from concrete block. Homeowners originally purchased their homes in 2006 for around $150,000.

"Wade Journey Homes bought the remaining lots in December and is proposing to build 92 structures. Thirty-two would be 800-square-foot single-family homes with no garage, which would sell for $110,000. There are also plans for 29, 1,000-square-foot and 15, 1,200-square-foot single-family homes," Wetzel said.

Residents were not only unhappy about potential storage issues they say may arise from the lack of garages, but also the current plans to build wood-framed homes instead of concrete block.

"Not only do we have issue with our covenants regarding storage, but we feel that Wade Journey is not upholding to the same quality building standards as the rest of our community.

Board Vice President Tami Baker and other board members asked a representative from Wade Journey if they were open to building the new homes to more closely resemble the existing structures but were told no.

Board member Mohamed Yasin thanked the residents for coming to voice their concerns and agreed that those concerns were valid.

"There will be security problems when you introduce little box homes with no garages into a community like Vistanna Villas," Yasin said.

In the end the board unanimously disapproved of the administrative amendment.

Residents of Vistanna plan to keep fighting and say they will present the county with a petition opposed.

They currently have 123 signatures.

Another administrative request was made for a revision of the master concept plan, which would allow a minimum lot width of 40 feet in Caloosa Lakes MPD across from Veterans Park in Lehigh Acres.

The project was presented by Kristina Johnson from JR Evans Engineering who also asked for the relocation of a model home inside the community.

"They wanted to conform to the original building plans, but adjust the lot size. All the homes would adhere to the same building style and be a minimum of 1,400 square feet, so the board had no problem granting the request," said board member Mohamed Yasin.

Other requests brought before the board included a request for zoning variance (rezoning) 3412, 3414, 3416 Lee Blvd., Lehigh Acres; a request for site project approval at 212 Homestead Rd S, Lehigh and a request for Lee County Development Order (DO) at 5519 2nd St W, Lehigh Acres. The board unanimously approved each of the requests.

Lehigh Acres Architectural, Planning and Zoning Review Board meets on the third Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. Meetings are held at Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District, 601 East County Lane, Lehigh Acres, FL.



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