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Panel continues review of Land Development Code

By Staff | Jan 13, 2011

At the Tuesday meeting of the Captiva Community Panel, Panel Planner Max Forgey and Panel Administrator Ken Gooderham presented comments and suggestions to the draft of the Land Development Code made by Lee County Planning Staff.

“Max and I have talked extensively about the staff comments to determine what the next step is,” Gooderham said.

“Lee County will be scheduling a meeting with us within the next couple of weeks to go over their comments. Some of their comments are strictly procedural, but there are a couple of substance that we may want to address,” Forgey said.

For example, County Environmental Science staff seemed to find some language regarding mangrove protection in the draft to be problematic.

As the draft now stands, part of section 33-521 of the Code — relating to mangrove protection — states that “Mangroves on Captiva Island will be protected to the greatest extent possible in a manner consistent with Florida law and policy.”

“The County objects to us using the expression, ‘Mangroves on Captiva Island will be protected to the greatest extent possible.’ That language comes from the Lee County Comprehensive Plan, and we intentionally used that language because it’s consistent throughout the comprehensive plan. We couldn’t think of language stronger than this,” Forgey said.

Lee County Principal Planner Kathie Ebaugh was also at the meeting, and explained that while ambiguous or visionary language such as “to the greatest extent possible” is acceptable for policy language in documents such as the Lee County Comprehensive Plan (Lee Plan), Land Development Codes require further definition and specifics provisions.

“There’s a difference between policy language that you find in the Lee Plan and LDC language. The Lee Plan can have a higher level of ambiguity because it’s policy language not code language. Policy language should be further standardized and defined in the Code. In this case, what they’re looking for in the Code is specific standards for mangroves — something measurable and definable.” Ebaugh said. “The best thing is to allow County staff to work with your staff to come up with some better language and then propose it back to you. There are only a couple of our communities that even really deal with this issue. Upper Captiva and Pine Island are the other two.”

Forgey led the Panel through all of the comments and suggestions proposed by County staff, and ultimately, the Panel decided to ask Forgey and Gooderham to return to the County for more input.

“I think we have a pretty good idea of what the Panel is looking for and we will come back in four weeks with a clean draft and we can see if there’s anything further we need to do,” Forgey said.

Forgey and Gooderham will also be working closely with a special committee to reevaluate height restrictions in the Village.

After a panel member expressed concern with LDC height restrictions in the Village at last month’s meeting, the panel voted to exempt the area from the Land Development Code and to form a committee and further discuss regulations in the Village.

“I think we should take our time and be thoughtful and diligent and really take a look at the Village,” said Panelist Harry Silverglide, who will be chairing the committee. “Max and I have had some preliminary conversations and we’d like to go over it and then bring it back to the Panel. I think we can make progress in 30 days and I think we can probably go further.”

A special meeting to address the LDC issues in the Village — height and setback restrictions, in particular — will be held on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 10 a.m. at the Keylime Bistro, 11509 Andy Rosse Lane.

For more information about the Land Development Code, go to www.CaptivaCommunityPanel.com‘>www.CaptivaCommunityPanel.com.

The Captiva Community Panel will meet Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 9 a.m. in the Wakefield Room at ‘Tween Waters Inn, 15951 Captiva Drive.