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LDCRC approves 86-43 adjustments by 5-1 vote

By Staff | Jun 10, 2009

Following 14 public meetings held during the past 13 months, the city’s Land Development Code Review Committee appears to have put all of their Section 86-43 discussions to rest.

On Tuesday, the LDCRC approved making amendments to the much-debated code dealing with size and mass of structures, officially accepting Resolution 09-08 with a 5-1 vote. Committee member Les Forney cast the lone dissenting vote, while Commissioner Michael Valiquette was absent from the meeting.

“I think we all worked together on this in a cooperative and non-confrontational way,” said committeewoman Patty Sprankle prior to the vote.

Under the terms agreed upon, Chapter 86 Development Standards establishes a neighborhood floor area threshold, not a limit, as to whether a development permit application will be classified as a short for or long form permit. All long form permits are subject to approval of the Planning Commission and public discussion during those sessions.

The amendment also:

Requires all proposed applications for new single family, duplex development or residential additions in excess of the total habitable square foot area of the largest home within the neighborhood be classified and reviewed as a long form permit by the Planning Commission.

Requires that the size of a home, under review, be limited to its lawfully existing total habitable living area excluding all decks, stairs or other enclosed areas below the base flood elevation or below elevated swimming pools. The collect the total habitable living area of a building or structure under review from data obtained from either the Lee County Property Appraiser’s office and/or approved construction and site plans contained within the official City of Sanibel Building Permit files.

“I’d like to see some stronger language in here that these are guidelines and not law,” said committeewoman Holly Smith. After fellow committee member Dr. Phillip Marks suggested that the word “guidelines” be bolded in the introduction to Paragraph 6, Paul Reynolds responded that making such a change wasn’t necessary.

“English is a pretty straightforward language, so I think that we should leave it as it’s written,” he said.

Under Paragraph 6, which relates to Interpretive Architectural Design Guidelines, ensuring that new or reconstructed dwellings won’t be interrupt the “rhythm, harmony and character of an established neighborhood will be accomplished in several ways. They include:

All building facades shall provide, through the use of detail and scale, visual interest consistent with the character of the existing neighborhood.

The proposed mass of the upper stories of a structure should be appropriately centered within the overall mass and composition of a structure, particularly when viewed from the street.

To reduce mass and scale, large facades and building features – that are both horizontal and vertical – shall be broken up to represent a more human proportion and scale.

Require a variety of appropriately scaled and articulated roof planes to avoid the appearance of relatively flat and blank elevations.

Conservation of native vegetation and landscaping plans shall be designed as an integral part of the site plan and building design. The type, height and massing of the landscaping should complement the building foundation and lower levels.

Green and sustainable building design and construction technologies, materials and techniques are encouraged to address site and environmental features, energy efficiency, water quality and conservation, weather and climate.

Hurricane resistance is a key design criterion for all construction. Providing for wind resistance and protection for openings are critical aspects for hurricane resistant design and must be considered for all buildings consistent with the standards and requirements of the Florida Building Code.

“Even though 86-43 has been working, it’s not as clear as it is now,” added Marks.

Forney, who has been opposed to establishing the largest home within a neighborhood as a trigger point for the long form process, stuck to his guns during the committee’s vote on the resolution.

“I’m extremely uncomfortable that the trigger is going to be the largest house in a neighborhood,” he said. “I think we just created something that’s going to cause a lot of problems in the future.”

Now approved, the amendments to Section 86-43 will be forwarded to the City Council for their comments. If they give their authority to create an ordinance based on Resolution 09-08, the initial draft will be returned to the LDCRC for their approval.

“Admittedly, it’s a small step,” noted committeeman Tom Krekel. “What this is, it’s a compromise.”

In other business, the Planning Commission briefly discussed drafting a resolution related to color control for structures on Sanibel. Forney commented that the color of a roof recently painted at The Sea Shell Co. was “distracting.”

“There’s now a striking light green roof on Periwinkle Way and I think that we need to do something about it,” he told his fellow planners.

“I think that you’re going to be opening up a big can of worms,” responded Sprankle, who noted that one of the approved color guidelines on the island is Caribbean.

“I’ve always liked a little bit of color on the trim (of buildings), but I agree with Les,” Marks added.

The issue may be brought up at the next meeting of the commission, which will be held on July 14 beginning at 9 a.m.

Also, the Planning Commission approved the following committee dates and times:

Below Market Rate Housing Program Review Committee – July 14 at 8:15 a.m.

Below Market Rate Housing Program Review Committee (Annual Report Submittal and Approval) – Aug. 11 at 8:15 a.m.

Capital Improvement Element Review Committee – Aug. 11 at 9:15 a.m.

Permitting Process Review Committee – Sept. 8 at 8:15 a.m.

Capital Improvement Element Review Committee (Annual Report Submittal and Approval) – Sept. 8 at 8:30 a.m.

Permitting Process Review Committee (Annual Report Submittal and Approval) – Sept. 22 at 8:15 a.m.