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Planned community or tourist destination?

By Staff | Aug 10, 2012

Dear Editor,

The Sanibel Planning Commission introduced July 24, 2012 (36 years since the City’s historic adoption of the Sanibel Plan) a proposal for increasing short-form development applications, to encourage new small businesses on the island.

Since July 1976, until 2003, the City controlled growth with planned eco-zoning. Property owners had a long-form development application process with public hearings for commercial land use permits, particularly to avoid overuse of land in the Resort District of Sanibel’s Gulf Beach and Gulf Ridge Zones.

In 2003, Sanibel Land Development Code regulating property owned by large hotel corporations changed. Now a resort manager may apply on short-form development permit application, without public input, for a business permit to have daily resort beach chair/umbrella amenities which clutter the scenic view, preclude use by birds and wildlife.

A little known truth is that, what looks like an independent business application, may actually be a large corporation-owned property, wanting amenities to look the same as at all its other sites. A manager, the short-form permit applicant, has no responsibility for compliance with the administration of the Sanibel Plan.

QUESTION: How might public input to the Council and Planning Commission help discourage beach chair resort businesses being allowed to daily clutter Sanibel’s birding habitat and scenic preservation, at the large corporate-owned properties such as Holiday Inn, Sundial Beach, and Blackstone LXR-managed hotels?

Hazel Schuller