| Fort Myers News-Press
Lee County commissioners have approved another 45 spots for short-term stays at a San Carlos Boulevard RV park for owners of large recreational vehicles heading to vacation attractions in the county.
The Fort Myers Beach RV Resort is located on San Carlos Boulevard near Kelly Road as the street takes a sweeping turn toward San Carlos Island, the Matanzas Pass Bridge and ultimately Fort Myers Beach.
The park has 293 RV spots available on the property with another 13 approved but not in use. The section to be developed reaches from the existing park to vacant land that separates commercial businesses on San Carlos Boulevard from a residential community to the east.
Neighbors hired a lawyer and a land-use planner in an unsuccessful effort to convince county commissioners to give them more breathing room between the long recreational vehicles that would be driven onto and off of the property as vacationers come and go.
The park, first developed in the 1960s, offers spots by the week or by the month, but one RV can’t sit on the lot for more than six months.
Under the county’s land-use rules, nearby residential property owners must be protected from impacts of increased commercial use of the site.
Twenty neighbors hired local land-use attorney Ralf Brookes to make their case.
Brookes noted that while the residents live in what are generally considered to be mobile homes, that description may not accurately describe the neighbors’ property.
“They live in mobile homes, it has been said. Well their homes are pretty nice mobile homes. I’ve been out there and looked at them,” Brookes said. “They are really what I would call a manufactured home, they are upscale.”
Resident Scott Campbell told commissioners that the border of his nearby house lot is 7 feet away from the existing RV park and asked commissioners to reject the request to put the RVs closer than the 40 feet distance called for in the zoning code.
“We’re just trying to improve the neighborhood,” he said. “I just wish we could live within their guidelines. I’m not against development, but just live within their means. It really affects us in our neighborhood.”
Land-use planner Max Forgey, who also represented the homeowners, asked commissioners to require the 40 feet of separation between manufactured homes and vacation parking spots for recreational vehicles with tanks of gas and other fuels.
“They are deeply concerned about fire safety,” Forgey said.
Deputy Hearing Examiner Amanda Rivera noted that the use of the site as an RV park is compatible with the neighborhood and narrowed her review to the kinds of restrictions needed to keep a bigger RV park from causing too many problems to neighbors.
The Chicago-based firm that owns the site would construct an opaque fence and plant trees and shrubs, which commissioner Cecil Pendergrass said would help.
“That area is very small and very tight now, and this will give more relief and more green spacing with the RVs being further away from the houses,” Pendergrass said.