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Encourage everyone to take part

By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

To the editor,

In a Letter to the Editor (Island Reporter, Jan. 22 issue), Patty Sprankle urged residents to make their positions known on Section 86-43, a Land Development Code ordinance on residence appearance, size and mass which is currently under review by the Planning Commission.

Unfortunately, in the same letter, she denigrated the participation of those concerned individuals that do faithfully attend Commission meetings, referring to them as a band of vocal, cynical people with obsolete ideas. In my opinion, such comments from a sitting Commissioner are inappropriate and do a disservice to the Commission.

Ms. Sprankle’s position seems to be that regulations designed to perpetuate the sanctuary quality of the Island will eventually result in its undoing. She is right to state that there is a synergy between the environment and economics. Her thesis seems to be that to protect our environment we must protect Sanibel business. In my view, she has it the wrong way round. If we put our unique environment first, then everyone – including Sanibel business – will prosper in the long run.

Ms. Sprankle’s other contention is that people should not be discouraged from building the home of their choice that meets all of our Land Development Codes. That’s exactly what the current discussion of 86-43 is all about. The plans for the Mimms’ large home only came to the attention of the Planning Commission because of a technicality. Regulation of the type of homes that are reasonable for neighborhoods and a sanctuary island is precisely the current issue under discussion by the Planning Commission.

Hopefully all residents who have an opinion on what standards and guidelines Section 86-43 should contain will make their views known publicly in the coming weeks. Let’s encourage everyone to take part in this important discussion without putting anyone down or calling anyone names.

John Harries