Neighborhood bemoans debut of nearby retirement home

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ESTERO, Fla. – Estero’s village council approved re-zoning that will usher in the construction of a retirement community Tuesday.

Twenty-one acres on the northeast corner of Sandy Lane and Corkscrew Road will be set aside for the development of retirement home, but a date for construction will not be determined until the village reviews design plans.

The council’s decision has made local residents, who have spoken out against plans, livid. Residents said the senior-living facility will disrupt their quiet neighborhood.

“You’re going to have 24-hour employees, 24-hour lights, 24-hour people moving and coming and going — ambulances. I mean this is a huge issue,” said David Burton, a resident of the Estates at Estero River.

Burton and his wife settled into the community three years ago. He said they were pleased with the peaceful atmosphere.

But with plans for the retirement community pending, he and a few of his neighbors presented their concerns to council members: increased traffic, property devaluation and privacy infringements.

Some homeowners are so upset they are selling their homes.

Burton said he believes the nature of retirement homes will present unwanted changes to the neighborhood.

“Employees with three shifts 24 hours a day — the traffic congestion is, in my opinion, going to be intolerable,” he said.

Burton is also among neighbors who worry about the proximity of the building, which they said is right in their backyards. Developers said the three-story building will be separated from neighboring communities by a wall and shrubbery.

“If you have a 45-foot building and people are on the third floor, they’re obviously going to be looking out their windows,” Burton said. “And they’re going to be looking right down on you.”

Estero retirement home plans
Estero’s village council approved re-zoning that will usher in the construction of a retirement community on the corner of Sandy Lane and Corkscrew Road

But residents complaints had little affect on the decision to ultimately approve rezoning for the new retirement community. Council members said they would not stall some development, calling changes to the area inevitable and the retirement project a good fit.

The council did, however, ask project developers to work with the village to create a larger buffer between the resident home and the established neighborhood.

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