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Sanibel Planning Commission does some house cleaning

By Staff | Apr 20, 2016

The Sanibel Planning Commission didn’t have any ordinance or variance hearings scheduled for its April 12 meeting, instead it went through its subcommittee agenda’s house cleaning.

The Capital Improvement Review Subcommittee, Land Development Code Review and Permitting Process Review Subcommittees’ minutes and agendas were passed.

In the discussion of the Below Market Housing Review Subcommittee, headed by Holly Smith, Chairman Dr. Philip Marks commented that the Community Housing Resource on Sanibel is a program many communities don’t have.

“What happens when a city is not prepared for workforce housing problems?” Marks asked. “Well, Sanibel has had the CHR program for over 30 years and other surrounding communities are having a real problem (keeping their workforce), because people can’t find affordable housing and end up looking for work elsewhere.”

The CHR on Sanibel currently has 74 rental units, along with 14 residential units which can be owned. There is 78-percent of those renters/owners through CHR who are active workers on the island and the other remaining are retirees who have a history of working on the island.

It was asked if CHR could ever expand and Marks answered that, “at this point, no specific project has been scheduled to expand.”

But he noted there is always a possibility for potential expansion, especially with CHR being much more stable financially than in the past.

“Most of the (CHR) board is always hoping to expand, but the problem is the cost of land and secondly, that for several years the economics stability of CHR was shaky,” Marks said. “But now, we have reserves and owe money to no one, so we are in much better shape.”

The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 26, beginning at 9 a.m. inside the MacKenzie Hall.