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Planners move redevelopment resolution forward

By Staff | Feb 9, 2011

On Tuesday, the Planning Commission moved forward a resolution approving code changes related to redevelopment in the Resort Housing District, although the language in the final draft of the legislation was subject to some debate among the panel.

The seven-page resolution, coupled with a 36-page draft ordinance amending the city’s Land Development Code’s Chapter 126, proposes several changes as well as additional sections, most notable of which are the definitions defining redevelopment, reconstruction and rehabilitation within the district and allowing existing hotels, motels or resort condominiums that are redeveloped in accordance with the Sanibel Plan and LDC to maintain up to their existing density.

Resolution 11-05 states that the Planning Commission “observed the direction provided by City Council and finds that this ordinance is consistent with Council’s ‘Key Ingredients’ for Redevelopment in the Resort Housing District,” with the following exceptions:

• This ordinance allows the height of multi-family buildings located in the Resort

Housing District to extend 33 feet above the required base flood elevation, but

no higher than 49.8 feet NAVD (or 51 feet NGVD).

• This ordinance allows accessory swimming pools and other accessory structures

to be reconstructed (replaced) in the Gulf Beach Zone, subject to conditions

and procedures.

Commissioner Chris Heidrick said during their deliberations that although he wanted the resolution to be moved forward, he did not agree with some of the language — which noted two exceptions to consistency with the Sanibel Plan — contained in the final draft.

“We’ve all said this,” Heidrick noted. “We want this to go through.”

One section of the resolution, which states, ” the Planning Commission finds that the Ordinance is consistent with the Sanibel Plan and with City Council’s ‘Key Ingredients’ for Redevelopment in the Resort Housing District, except for two minor exceptions. However, the Planning Commission recommends that these two exceptions be retained in the Ordinance because of their importance to redevelopment in the Resort Housing District,” was altered at the suggestion of planner Holly Smith. She requested the phrase “except for two minor exceptions” be repeated in the first sentence following the words “Sanibel Plan.”

Smith explained that she wanted the final resolution passed along to City Council to be as clear and well defined as possible.

“We need to say we think that this is consistent with the Sanibel Plan, except for these two exceptions,” she said, noting the previous language appeared to be “a little vague.”

Also, Tom Krekel requested that the phrase, “Existing accessory swimming pools and other accessory structures located in the Resort Housing District may be reconstructed in their existing location,” be amended to include “seaward of the 1974 Coastal Construction Control Line.”

“This is such a specific thing that we’re doing,” Krekel explained.

Committee chair Michael Valiquette agreed, adding, “(The City Council is) going to make their own decisions, one way or the other.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several residents offered their take on the matter. Jeremy Kane, speaking on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, suggested the word “habitation” be added to the definitions portion of the draft. Karen Storjohann stated that she thought the commission was “stuck” with the many inconsistencies regulated by the state, and may have been further hampered by the directives given to them by the council.

“I think that Karen is right that we are operating under a set of assumptions,” said Chuck Ketteman. “But I don’t think that we have to apologize for it.”

Storjohann also objected to the commission’s take on density within the document, adding, “It is very clear what our founding fathers wanted, and this is a dramatic departure.”

Both the resolution and the draft ordinance were approved, 6-1, with Heidrick dissenting.

In other business, commissions approved conditional use permits for Synergy and Norris Home Furnishings, both formula retail stores; both conditional use and development permits for the Sanibel Inn and Song of the Sea to operate under single management for purposes of acquiring a state liquor license; and a variance to allow a pool safety barrier fence to be constructed at Yachtsman’s Cove.

Also, Director of Planning Jimmy Jordan announced the meeting dates for the Permitting Process Code Review Subcommittee (March 22 and April 26), the Below Market Housing Code Review Subcommittee (April 12 and 26), the Capital Improvement Code Review Subcommittee (May 10 and 24) and the Land Development Code Review Subcommittee (June 14 and 28).