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Building height amendment headed for final adoption

By Staff | Aug 19, 2011

Lee County officials were on Captiva Island Wednesday morning to conduct a workshop in which residents were given an opportunity to voice opinions on the building height amendment proposed by the Captiva Community Panel.

“There was a positive feel,” noted CCP President Sandy Stilwell about the workshop.

The crowd was small less than 10 residents and four county officials including Commissioner John Manning. While the Captiva Civic Association has voiced concern over the amendment in the past, its attorney Matt Uhle was present at the workshop. He could not be reached at his office before press time.

“He was just there to listen,” said Stilwell. “They were not taking a position.”

Since June 2009, the CCP has been working on building height restrictions as part of its planned update to the Lee County Land Development Code. The idea was to match the Lee Plan, which has the same legal standing as the county’s build-back policy to help avoid any administrative conflict in the event of a structure-damaging storm.

The current building height restrictions on Captiva, which were enacted in the 1990s, cap building heights at 42 feet above mean sea level or 35 feet above the average grade of the lot.

The proposed language allows island property owners the least restrictive of the following options:

35 feet above the average grade of the lot or 42 feet above mean sea level measured to the peak of the roof, whichever is lower

28 feet above the lowest horizontal member at or below the lawful base flood elevation measured to the mean level between eaves and ridge in the case of gable, hip and gambrel roofs. If the lowest horizontal member is set above the base flood elevation the 28-foot measurement will be measured starting from the base flood elevation.

“Due to the nature of the barrier island, the height of buildings and structures is dependent on conditions such as elevation of the site above sea level and flood elevation requirement,” the proposed modification states.

It goes on to state purely ornamental structural appurtenances necessary for mechanical or structural functions may extend an additional 4 feet above the roof peak or 8 feet above the lowest mean height level, so long as the elements equal 20 percent or less of the total roof area.

Following Wednesday’s workshop, the amendment will again be on the panel’s agenda for its meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Islanders are welcome to that meeting and voice any concerns on the building height amendment.

As for the Captiva amendment, it will be back before the Board of County Commissioners, along with proposed amendments countywide, for final adoption. The BOCC will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Lee County Courthouse, located at 2115 Second Street in Fort Myers.

Anyone interested in expressing an opinion on the building height amendment on Captiva can also submit comments to Robert Stewart at rstewart@leegov.com or Matt Noble at noblema@leegov.com.