homepage logo

Planning commission OKs boat docks, lifts for Yachtsman’s Cove

By Staff | Oct 31, 2018

TIFFANY REPECKI City planner Josh Ooyman, right, presents an application for a variance before the Sanibel Planning Commission at its meeting on Oct. 23. The commissioners approved two separate variances.

The Sanibel Planning Commission recently approved a variance for boat docks and lifts for the Yachtsman’s Cove neighborhood, along with a variance for a separate residential boat lift.

At its Oct. 23 meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve an application for the construction of three boat docks and five boat lifts extending waterward farther than the maximum permitted waterward extension limit on a recreational parcel for six, single-family residential lots at Yachtsman’s Cove, at 514 Periwinkle Way.

In addition, the commission voted unanimously in support of an application for the installation of a new boat lift to extend waterward of an existing dock farther than the maximum permitted waterward extension limit for a single-family residence at 529 Lighthouse Way.

City planner Josh Ooyman went over the details of both applications before the commissioners prior to the votes, presenting a list of conditions recommended by city staff if the board moved for approval.

The Yachtsman’s Cove application was continued from the meeting in September, after which the applicant the Yachtsman’s Cove Property Owners Association worked with city staffers to address public concerns. At the recent meeting, a revised plan for the docks and lifts was brought forward.

“The revised plans submitted by the applicant propose to partially demolish the existing parallel dock and construct three, angled finger pier docks accommodating five total boat lifts,” the city staff report states. “The applicant’s revised plans reduce the variance requested by approximately 9.5 feet from a maximum of 27 feet to 17.5 feet past the allowed waterward extension and reduce the overall proposed waterward extent from a maximum of 55 feet to a maximum of approximately 45.5 feet when measured from the mean high water line. Additionally, the revised plans reduce the combined total dock area of the three docks by 95 square feet from 863 square feet to 768 square feet.”

Staff pointed out that the plan proposes an acceptable mangrove trimming and mitigation plan to accommodate the revised proposal and that the proposal will reduce the number of nonconformities.

Prior to the vote, some on the commission commented on the revision process.

“I like the plan. I think it’s great that they all came together,” Commissioner Matthew Kirchner said.

Commissioner Richard Johnson echoed that.

“I think this is exactly how the process should work,” he said.

Chair Philip Marks agreed.

“We had cooperation,” he said. “We had a pretty complex issue, and I think everybody got something and everyone had to give a little.”

On the separate second application, the original proposed project was also revised.

“The applicant is proposing to add a four-piling, 10,000-pound capacity boat lift parallel to the outer edge of the existing boat dock terminal platform, while also reframing and redecking the existing dock, attached to the existing support pilings,” the city staff report states. “The initial boat lift plan featured a 12.5-foot wide boat lift, and staff engaged the applicant as to whether the boat lift width could be reduced. A subsequent revised plan was submitted which reduces the proposed boat lift to a 12-foot wide boat lift. The applicant indicates that the property owners currently have a vessel with an 8.5-foot

beam and that they hope to acquire a new vessel with a 10.5-foot beam, which necessitates a 12-foot wide boat lift.”

“As proposed, the boat lift will be located 24 feet away from the eastern side property line as extended into the waterway, and will not encroach into the required 15-foot side setback to those property lines,” staff continued. “Planning and Natural Resources staff are in agreement that adding a boat lift adjacent to the existing dock does not adversely impact the waterway significantly more than mooring a boat at the existing dock therefore, the proposed boat lift would extend essentially the same distance into the waterway as mooring a 10.5-foot beam vessel to the existing dock.”

Prior to the vote, some on the commission confirmed with staff that all measures had been taken to mitigate the surrounding mangroves and that vessels could navigate the waterway with the lift.

“Have we done everything we can do?” Johnson asked. “We have a very health mangrove encrusted shoreline there.”

Commissioner Roger Grogman questioned the maneuverability of the space.

“What restrictions exist in the waterway likely already exist with the moored boats there,” Community Services Director Keith Williams said. “They already have a silhouette of a boat moored.”

Marks agreed.

“Having a lift, it’s the same silhouette. It’s just lifting the boat out of the water,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve asked for any more space than they’re taking up now.”


– The Sanibel Planning Commission voted unanimously in support of the Historical Preservation Committee’s proposed criteria and procedure for recognizing historical people. The documentation will go before the Sanibel City Council for consideration.