Threat of new development in North Fort Myers sending some neighbors packing

Published: Updated:

On a piece of land 66 acres in size, plans for a new housing development are taking shape.

The North Fort Myers property could soon be the site of 300 new homes, if Lee County commissioners greenlight the project.

Among those who live in the area, emotions are running high as the county mulls over the decision to build on the land off Slater Road.

“We moved out here because of it—it’s rural—and we think it shouldn’t change,” said neighbor Allen Walker.

But this project could change everything, by building 330 homes, some two stories high.

Last month, county commissioners postponed a decision because of emotional testimony from neighbors.

“We hope they understand the big picture that we don’t have the infrastructure to support it—traffic, jobs and schools,” said neighbor Cindy Hawk.

If the development gets built, a county report says nearly 3,000 more trips can be expected on Slater and Williams Roads, which are only two-lane streets. And Lee County Schools says the closest high school—North Fort Myers High—is already at capacity with more than 1,800 students.

But there are already signs the threat of development is pushing people out.

Five miles away, development off of Prichette Parkway has caused some residents in the area to sell their properties and leave.

Neighbors off Slater Road hope they aren’t forced to accept the same outcome.

“I’m not against change, but North Fort Myers has some major issues before we bring more people into this area,” Hawk said.

“We wanted to have our horses, cows and gardens. When you bring that kind of congestion, you start losing that county flavor,” added Walker.

WINK News reached out to county commissioners for comment, but the county’s zoning rules don’t allow them to speak on the issue until their next meeting on May 16. It’s expected they’ll make a decision then.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.