punta gorda Tag


Aqui Esta proposal passes to City Council

26.10.2016 in Area News, Events, Market Update, Uncategorized

The development of a large parcel of land in the Punta Gorda Isles residential area has become the biggest issue in the current city council election. However, the issue about what to put there continues on even before the election. The article below comes verbatim from The Charlotte Sun. Here is the latest: aqui1-esta-proposal


Staff Writer

A proposed Aqui Esta Drive development goes to the Punta Gorda City Council for a hearing in November.

The city’s planning commission has given the project its OK although concerns have been expressed.

The developer is seeking a rezoning of the approximately 105-acre property from single-family residential to a planned development village, which will include two vertically integrated retail and residential buildings, 300 condominium units, eight apartments or condominium units, a 180room resort hotel, and an 18,000-square-foot medi-spa.

Land-use attorney GeriWaksler, representing developer Jorge Flor, presented the project to the planning board this week, joined by experts who testified on the estimated economic impact, traffic impact and effects on the environment.

According to both Waksler and city staff, the development would decrease the previously expected population and the projected load on public facilities by lowering density. The property is currently zoned for five units per acre, for a total of 528 units of single- family housing. The proposed development includes 308 residential units, a reduction by 220 units.

Some Punta Gorda residents contested this fact, arguing that only about 56 acres of the land are available for construction.

Forty-nine acres of wetlands will be preserved by the developer. By calculating with the remaining acres, the project’s density exceeds the allotted five units per acre.

However, Interim Urban Design Manager Teri Tubbs confirmed that density is determined based on the entire site, not merely on the land able to be developed.

Neighbors to the project also have concerns about the added traffic the project will bring, although a study prepared by TR Transportation Consultants out of Fort Myers indicates that traffic would stay within the level of service “D” — deemed acceptable by both the city and the county.

Waksler said the study was done with consideration to peak-season, peak-hour traffic, making the worst-case traffic scenario still within an acceptable level.

City staff have recommended additional traffic conditions, which the developer has accepted, such as constructing or providing funds for turn lanes on Aqui Esta Drive, as well as bicycle lanes and sidewalks.

However, Punta Gorda resident and former City Council candidate Brad Gamblin argued that “D” rated roads, while technically acceptable, may not be truly desirable to most city residents.

“If D-rated roads are good, why do they have A, B and C?” Gamblin asked.

About 1,350 residents have signed a petition against the development, arguing that the commercial aspects will disrupt the quiet of the surrounding neighborhoods, despite conditions offered by the developer to combat noise and light escaping the property’s boundaries.

“I have no doubt that the proposed development would have a devastating impact on the peaceful and serene character of our neighborhood and the quiet and easy lifestyle that we’ve come to enjoy,” said Dr. L.

Dennison Reed, who lives across the canal from the proposed project. “Our present neighborhood is akin to a nature preserve. It truly is a retreat from the stress of the day.’

Reed and others spoke with concern for eagles in the area and other wildlife.

Environmental consultant Ian Vincent said the eagles are being monitored to determine if they have an active nest in the area, and all development will be done according to environmental regulations, ensuring no negative impact on protected species. Additionally, the development will be surrounded by landscape barriers and outdoor lighting will be shielded or directed so that light does not escape the boundaries of the property. Outdoor entertainment on the property will cease at 7 p.m.

The economic impact of the project is estimated at $126 million during construction and over $30 million annually, but some residents opposed to the project questioned the accuracy of the testimony provided, stating that experts can be bought to testify to anything and asking if city staff had independently verified the information, which prompted Chairman Charlie Counsil to ask one citizen, “Have you ever stood on the moon? Do you accept input and testimony from an expert?”

Punta Gorda’s previous mayor Carolyn Freeland spoke in favor of the project, stating that other, once-contested projects are now some of the city’s most-loved areas. She also referred to the half-finished Vivante development as a warning, since the developer gave up on the project because of citizens’ opposition.

“We really need to be careful about what we wish for,” Freeland said.

Realtor lim Quinn also spoke in favor of the development, reminding citizens that Laishley Park was once considered a controversial project.

“Thank God it got developed, and we now have this nice waterfront area,” Quinn said.

“We all want economic development, but when this comes up, no one wants it in their backyard. This project is a gem that most communities would love to have.”

Waksler told the board, “To deny this sends a very loud message to anyone seeking to develop within the city of Punta Gorda: don’t bother.”

While the proposal passed with a slim 4-3 majority by the planning commission, board member and City Council candidate Lynne Matthews led the opposition, standing by her position that the project is not consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and future land use map and is not harmonious with the surrounding neighborhoods.

City Council will have its public hearing for the project on Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. at the Charlotte Harbor Conference & Event Center.

Email: aeasker@sun-herald.com

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Hooray! Frontier Airlines is Coming to Punta Gorda

29.07.2016 in Area News

   $49 Frontier fare sale on for Punta Gorda; flights start in fall


Frontier Airlines rolled out $49 one-way introductory fares  less than 24 hours after announcing it will serve Punta Gorda Airport with three nonstop destinations starting this fall.

October 30 is the launch date for the Denver-based airline’s service  between Punta Gorda and Chicago-O’Hare, Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J.

Tickets much be purchased by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday, July 27.

They are good for nonstop travel occurring from Oct. 30, 2016, through Feb. 8, 2017.

Some blackout dates apply. And, there are other caveats. Get the details at https://www.flyfrontier.com/ways-to-save/online-deals/.

Use drop-down box to find “Fort Myers/Punta Gorda.”

A Frontier news release says the airline also on Oct. 30 will inaugurate new service between Palm Beach International and Chicago-O-Hare. There’s a $59 one-way, sale fare for that route.

The Chicago-O’Hare and Philadelphia routes will be seasonal; Trenton, year-round.

Frontier previously operated these routes out of Southwest Florida International. It’s a “transfer of service” and an “experiment,” said

Daniel Shurz, Frontier senior vice president/commercial.

“Punta Gorda Airport is meaningfully cheaper to use on a per-passenger basis,” Shurz said. He estimated the airline will save more than $10 per departing passenger by the switch.

Shurz emphasized, however, that Frontier has expanded significantly at Southwest Florida International in the past few years, and will remain a significant presence there. This winter, the airline will have 35 flights weekly out of Southwest Florida International and 10 from Punta Gorda Airport.

From Southwest Florida International, spokeswoman Victoria Moreland noted the much-bigger Fort Myers airport offers things Punta Gorda does not have. This includes covered jet bridges to aircraft, which are especially appreciated in inclement weather.

Added Moreland: “We are very pleased Frontier is keeping the bulk of their service at RSW.”

The new Frontier service thrills Charlotte County Airport Commissioner Pam Seay.

“Holy smokes! This is what the people are asking for – alternatives,” Seay said.

Frontier is a great fit with the airport, according to Seay.

It’s a low-cost carrier like Allegiant Air, whose service to Punta Gorda  has proliferated over the past few years.  Frontier, however, offers different destinations.

“This fits in with our business model: a small airport serving the leisure market,” Seay said.

 Increasingly, Punta Gorda Airport is winning over leisure travelers and part-time Southwest Florida residents who want budget airfares, but don’t necessarily need an airline to offer daily service.

Allegiant now serves 30 cities out of Punta Gorda. Airport officials estimate they’ll accommodate 1 million travelers by year-end.

Seay praised Airport Director Gary Quill for his work securing the service.

Seay believes that the new and enlarged Bailey Terminal played a  supporting role in landing a second carrier.

Said Seay: “Opening up the new terminal showed that we are dedicated to servicing commercial airlines while we continue to maintain our general aviation airport and our commerce park.”

The schedule

Frontier Airlines begins service to Punta Gorda Airport Oct. 30.

Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – Punta Gorda (PGD)

Leave ORD: 8:15 a.m. Arrive PGD: 12:19 p.m.

Leave PGD: 1:10 p.m. Arrive ORD: 3:19 p.m.

Aircraft: 180-seat A320

Frequency: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday

Philadelphia (PHL) – Punta Gorda

Leave PHL: 4:20 p.m. Arrive PGD: 7:16 p.m.

Leave PGD: 8:10 p.m. Arrive PHL: 10:48 p.m.

Aircraft: 180-seat A320

Frequency: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday

Trenton (TTN) – Punta Gorda

Leave TTN: 6 a.m. Arrive PGD: 9:06 a.m.

Leave PGD: 10:15 a.m. Arrive TTN: 12:58 p.m.

Aircraft: 150-seat A319

Frequency: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 


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Vietnam Wall Memorial Coming Soon!

27.06.2016 in Area News
Putting the memorial together.

Putting the memorial together

Volunteers are a big part too

Volunteers are a big part too

Last week the first pieces of the replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial of SWFL started to arrive in Punta Gorda.  Our city is proud of our veterans and stands with them!! The city hosted a travelling wall here in 2009. It moved people so much, that citizens wanted it permanently. Groups have been working ever since then to raised the money. Governor Scott was in town for the groundbreaking, and now we can watch it becoming a reality.

Local photographer and videographer, Bruce Tompkins, captured the arrival of the initial granite delivery as well as the hanging of the first panels in the following videos. The wall is located  adjacent to Laishley Park near the gazebo.

Arriving in Town     Putting it Together

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Aviation Training in Punta Gorda Gets Closer

14.10.2015 in Events

wm aviation

Western Michigan University has a College of Aviation in Battle Creek. The school’s plan is to “operate a second aviation program for international and local domestic students in Punta Gorda.”  The school is going to pursue its license after spending many months considering whether to bring an aviation program to Charlotte County. Their board of trustees has just given the university permission to pursue this option.

Click here to read the entire story.

Punta Gorda Aviation Education

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