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LDCRS discusses green tech, impervious coverage trades

By Staff | Oct 27, 2010

Members of the Land Development Code Review Subcommittee (LDCRS) met on Tuesday morning and continued discussions on redevelopment in the Resort Housing District, focusing on legislation related to green technologies.

Jimmy Jordan, director of the city’s Planning Department, presented the seven-member panel with an updated staff report centered on how the current codes could be amended to accommodate the implementation of green technology, and whether or not the maximum allowed impervious coverage, vegetation removal and developed area requirements should be increased to encourage the use of those technologies within the district.

“Green technology may include, but shall not be limited to, the harvesting and use of rainwater, wind, and solar use of LEED certified products, etc. where the technology is designed and implemented in such a way that conserves energy use and the island’s natural resources,” the report stated, in part.

During their talks, several members of the subcommittee suggested that the previously introduced idea of allowing a “one-for-one” exchange of impervious land coverage for implementation of “greener” practices might not be a precedent they should include within the language of their proposed legislation.

The commission also agreed that without specific information available to them, it would be improper to draft a policy that allowed trading areas of impervious coverage for areas which introduced green technologies. Those issues, they agreed, would be dealt with on an individual basis.

“I would not be in favor of allowing any increase on any hypothetical property that we really don’t know what their plans are,” said subcommittee member Holly Smith. “And we don’t even know what those other aspects might be.”

The subcommittee also agreed that without the benefit of specific knowledge of potential green technologies, discussions on the matter are still “premature.”

“To make any changes (to the existing document), we’d be shooting in the dark right now,” added Chuck Ketteman.

Dr. Phillip Marks also suggested that the city should consider constructing additional treated water lines throughout the island, especially on the eastern end where the majority of residences are located.

He further suggested that the word “modernization” be added to the draft language of the redevelopment document.

Mark Anderson, a Sanibel resident recently requested by the subcommittee to gather a group of “green” experts and professionals to serve as an advisory board, told the panel that he had several people lined up to join the group. However, when asked by Marks to identify them, Anderson declined because he wanted a full commitment from those individuals first.

“Mitigation versus encouragement is an important part of this,” Anderson said in response to his assessment of the advisory committee. “There are always subtle levels of bias that you guys will have to sort out.”

The subcommittee was then reminded by City Attorney Ken Cuyler because the advisory committee was requested by them, that they would be subject to regulations and Sunshine Law restrictions, as are all city government entities. They would have to have their meetings noticed, open to the public and would not allow for out-of-chambers discussions amongst members of the group.

Jeremy Kane, speaking on behalf of the Sanibel Alliance for Renewable Resources (SARR), suggested that his group could provide green technology information and expertise. Since SARR is a private, non-governmental entity, Cuyler said that they would not be subject to those restrictions.

“The mission of SARR is to provide education and information,” said Kane.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Karen Storjohann suggested separating the discussions of green technologies from talks about impervious coverage, because the two were not related.

Sonia Smith, representing the Condominium Association of Sanibel Island (CASI), added that a definitions page — originally requested by resident Herb Rubin — should be included in the documents being proposed.

Jordan stated that a definitions page would be included in all future staff reports associated with redevelopment in the Resort Housing District.

Continuation of talks pertaining to the issue will be presented at the next meeting of the LDCRS, scheduled for 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23. During that session, a review of the progress made on redevelopment matters will be presented.