homepage logo

Planners grant plat approval for Centre Place

By Staff | Nov 11, 2009

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a development permit for Centre Place, a 14-unit Below Market Rate Housing development located one block east of Periwinkle Way, off Main Street.

The application submitted by Coast and Islands Community Land Trust requested the go-ahead to sub-divide four duplex residential housing units into eight separate zero-lot line parcels within the BMRH development. Centre Place, which will be the inaugural Florida Green and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified project on the island, broke ground in the spring and had the prefabricated homes installed in late July, August and early September.

According to Scott Marcelais, executive director of project coordinator Community Housing Resources, the development is a “community investment” which offers people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a home on Sanibel the opportunity for home ownership at a reasonable price. Units within Centre Place will sell from $196,631 to $218,000.

Following a presentation for Centre Place representatives Bob Pritt, Mike Cuscaden, Doug Lewis, Joe Lutz and Marcelais, Sanibel Director of Planning Jimmy Jordan requested that the application be altered. He suggested the removal of three conditions within the document, which had been rendered unnecessary since the start of construction had already commenced.

Commissioner Les Forney also recommended a fourth change, omitting the condition that the City Manager (or an authorized designee) inspect underground installations and improvements. That requirement had also been met previously.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” said Pritt. “I think it’s good for a commission to see what has become of their decisions.”

The application will now go before the City Council, who must grant final plat approval. Their decision was anticipated to be rendered at their Dec. 15 session, however, that meeting has already been cancelled.

“Over the years, there have been some controversies about Below Market Rate Housing, and that there may be too many Below Market Rate Housing units on Sanibel,” Pritt told commissioners. “If some people are dead-set against it, that’s where controversies come from.”

Cuscaden, who said developers originally hoped that Centre Place residents would take occupancy of their units sometime in November, hoped that people could begin moving in before the end of the year.

“I would think, in another four to five weeks, we’ll be there,” he said.

Islander Herb Rubin questioned whether the city had decided to pace Centre Street, currently a crushed shell compound surface, since the thoroughfare will see an increase in traffic. City Manager Judie Zimomra explained that since the majority of affected residents were “not in favor of altering the aesthetic quality of their neighborhood,” the City Council decided against paving the roadway.

Planning Commission chairman Michael Valiquette made a motion to approve the application, which passed by a 6-0 vote. Fellow planner Dr. Phillip Marks recused himself from voting due to his involvement with Community Housing Resources.

In other business, commissioners voted to cancel their Nov. 24 session. Their next meeting will take place on Dec. 8 at MacKenzie Hall beginning at 9 a.m.