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Minority dictates to the majority

By Staff | Sep 2, 2010

To the editor,

Where in the current Sanibel Plan does it state "Planning Department must on all occasions not use what is commonly known as common sense?" I refer to the Island Reporter article dated Aug. 25, "Subcommittee suggests changes for redevelopment in Gulf Beach Zone."

Quoting Jimmy Jordan, "The current setbacks in the Land Development Code should be maintained. The city will conitinue to prohibit redevelopment in the Gulf Beach Zone seaward of the 1974 Coastal Construction Control Line as currently established in the Sanibel Plan." That makes sense, in 36 years there certainly has been no accretion of land on any part of Sanibel’s Gulf front. It’s just a fact. Barrier Islands, once established, don’t change? Huh?

In fact, there has been appreciable accretion of land since 1974. Black’s Law Dictionary defines Accretion as "the increase of real estate by the addition of portions of soil, by gradual deposition through the operation of natural causes to that already in possession of the owner." Is the city guilty of a taking by ignoring the greater volume of land held by the Gulf front landowners as a result of the accretion? Why should the set be greater (which it actually is) just because of the considerable accretion? If the original distance from the water was adequate, why wouldn’t the same distance be adequate from the present water line?

Continuing another question? A quote from the article: "Regarding limits for lot coverage and development 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. The commission’s solution to this problem is "Repairs or reconstruction of  existing non-conforming swimming pools in the Resort Housing District, which is 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." This paragraph is a typical bureaucrat’s way of stating "put the pool in the back of the building."

By the above action, Sanibel has devised a plan that will undoubtedly sweep the nation (like many of others of its ill-advised proposals). Well, what is it, isn’t it obvious — we will put all of our swimming pools to the back of buildings that front the waterfront. The swimmers can then enjoy all the activities in the parking lots. Isn’t it boring looking out to the water and all that sand?

One day the rights of property owners will be given proper consideration, but only when voters cease letting the minority dictate to the majority.

Dale E. Armstrong

Sanibel and Columbus, Ohio