Subcommittee suggests changes for redevelopment in Gulf Beach Zone
During Tuesday’s Land Development Code Review Subcommittee meeting, planning director Jimmy Jordan presented his staff report on making alterations to code requirements for redevelopment within the city’s Gulf Beach Zone.
The report addressed a number of concerns about the replacement and rehabilitation of accessory structures as well as Resort Housing developments that exceed the maximum amount of impermeable coverage or developed area.
"The current setbacks in the Land Development Code should be maintained," Jordan read from the report. "The city will continue to prohibit redevelopment in the Gulf Beach Zone seaward of the 1974 Coastal Construction Control Line as currently established in the Sanibel Plan."
Regarding limits for lot coverage and developed area, which the report suggested not be altered, six of the 24 developments identified by the Planning Department currently have swimming pools encroaching into the Gulf Beach Zone. However, all of them appear to have room outside that zone to reconstruct the pool on-site, although the relocated pool will no longer be Gulfside of the principle structures.
When seeking comment on the 11-page staff report, subcommittee member Tom Krekel noted that he had some difficulty accepting the proposed draft language under Section 126-152 (Nonconforming Uses) Exceptions and prohibitions.
The addition of the condition "Repairs or reconstruction of existing nonconforming swimming pools in the Resort Housing District, which in conjunction with prior repairs or reconstruction amount to a substantial improvement" and "The applicant’s examination of alternative locations shall, at a minimum, include an assessment of all available on-site areas located outside the Gulf Beach Zone."
Krekel suggested that the draft language did not appear to be strong enough to discourage applicants from possibly seeking variances that would allow additional impermeable lot coverage during redevelopment. He wanted some additional language placed into the document that explained any increase in impermeable coverage would be accepted only to meet any safety or ADA requirements.
Jordan responded that the draft language could be "tightened up" and would require the applicants to maintain their structure’s original footprint.
During public comment, Sonia Smith of the Condominium Association of Sanibel Island (CASI) requested that the subcommittee clearly keep modernization consistent with the Sanibel Plan. She also noted that by definition, redevelopment only applies to structures, not pools, according to the city’s Land Development Code.
"Swimming is a passive recreational use," explained Jordan. "Swimming is an activity, a pool is a structure which permits swimming as its use."
Jeremy Kane and Herb Rubin also asked the subcommittee to remove several terms used within the draft language being considered — including "modernization," "upgrade," "reconstruction," "rehabilitation" and "improvement" — because they can be confusing and interpreted in several ways.
Subcommittee member Holly Smith later asked Jordan if a definitions page could be added to the staff report, which would assist the panel and others in understanding each of the terms used within the proposed code documents. Jordan said that it would be included in all future reports.
Michael Valiquette, chairman of the subcommittee, asked Vice Mayor Mick Denham if the panel’s work on redevelopment issues appeared to be "on track" with the direction given to them by City Council.
"There are some very specific rules that you are being asked to protect. I think you should be very specific and draw the line in the sand very clearly," said Denham, who praised the subcommittee’s progress. "I’m not concerned about the process… I’m concerned about the end result."
The Land Development Code Review Subcommittee will meet on Sept. 28 to discuss "green technologies" as they apply to redevelopment within the Resort Housing District. A final review of the subcommittee’s proposed changes to Sanibel’s code language will follow.