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Resort redevelopment ordinance approved by council

By Staff | Jun 8, 2011

With only a few minor adjustments to the final document which took almost a year and a half to complete, the City Council unanimously approved the ordinance governing redevelopment in the Resort Housing District.

On Tuesday, Director of Planning Jimmy Jordan went through the 35-page ordinance which establishes the creation and maintenance of the district. The document includes definitions for redevelopment, reconstruction and rehabilitation, defines permitted uses, intensity and height limitations, recreational open space requirements, best ecological practices and on-site surface water management.

Jordan explained that the new language added to the document since the last meeting of the council (on May 3) were highlighted in red.

Although Vice Mayor Mick Denham called the proposed legislation an “excellent body of work,” he did notice a number of words which had been added to several areas of the document, some of which altered the “principles” of the pact.

“I’m still going to support this document, but I am struggling with some of the words that are being used,” Denham told Jordan.

For example, the term “developments” was changed — by planning staff — to “residential units.” Following a brief discussion, councilors agreed to replace the term “residential units” with “principal structure.”

Also, under subsection 4 within Section 3, the word “accessory” had been added twice in a sentence defining Purpose, Intent and Objectives. The reference was debated and finally omitted.

“I think we have a pretty good ordinance and I don’t think that anybody can say that their voice wasn’t heard,” said Jordan.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Paul Reynolds — one of the Planning Commissioners who worked on developing the ordinance over more than a year, told the council he appreciated their decision to remove the term “accessory.”

“To my recollection, we debated whether to use that word too,” he said. “I know that I voted against it.”

Resident Karen Storjohann also requested that the council seek a clearer explanation and definition of the term “green technologies,” which she noted was “too broad” to be included without more clarification. Denham requested the staff perform additional research related to “green technologies” and return the item for discussion at a later date.

Following Denham’s motion to approve the pact, which was seconded by Doug Congress, councilors voted 5-0 in favor of adopting the ordinance, with only minor changes to the presented document.

Mayor Kevin Ruane called the new legislation “a companion piece” to the city’s build-back ordinance.

In other business, a request by the Clam Bayou Neighbors Association to allow trimming of mangroves, buttonwoods and other vegetation along 1,700 linear feet on city-owned conservation lands was discussed briefly before being pulled by an attorney representing the group.

The association had submitted an application in September 2009 to trim a section of overgrown vegetation. At the time, however, the city considered that property to be under control of the State of Florida. According to City Attorney Ken Cuyler, a letter received on Monday from the state indicated that the subject parcel was under the control of the city.

Ruane told the audience, several of whom were members of the Clam Bayou Neighbors Association, that regulations of the Sanibel Code do not allow mangrove trimming on conservation lands.

“I cannot argue with the law, but I can argue with you what the Sanibel Plan stands for,” Denham told the attorney, who told councilors they were seeking their ministerial act to issue the permit the homeowners had applied, which he argued they were entitled to by law.

“That’s a question to be asked somewhere else (and) to be resolved somewhere else,” added Marty Harrity.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for July 19, during which the proposed 2012 millage rate will be introduced.