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Planning commission OKs permit applications

By Staff | Aug 3, 2020

The Sanibel Planning Commission recently approved permits to allow for dredging at two homes, as well as heard about the process it will undergo for evaluating the city’s codes relative to seawalls.

At the July 28 meeting, the commission voted unanimously 7-0 to approve a development permit application to dredge approximately 22 cubic yards of material from a private boat slip basin located adjacent to Dinkins Bayou, which is an accessory to an existing residence at 2628 Coconut Drive.

The commissioners also voted 7-0 to approve a development permit application to dredge approximately 15 cubic yards of material underneath an existing boat lift located adjacent to a man-made canal, which is an accessory to an existing residence at 2518 Tropical Way Court.

The Coconut Drive application was submitted by SteMic Marine Construction, on behalf of the property owners, Douglas and Meg Born. The separate and unrelated Tropical Way application was also submitted by SteMic Marine, on behalf of the property owners, Timothy and Louise Huyck.

City Planner Josh Ooyman provided an overview of the Coconut Drive application.

He explained that the dredging would involve an existing boat slip basin and the work is not permitted as a short-form activity that staff can approve, so it requires consideration in the long-form format.

Ooyman reported that the house fronts about 100 feet along Dinkins Bayou, and the applicant has reported that the basin becomes too shallow to allow for entry or exit, necessitating the need to dredge. Sanibel Natural Resources conducted site inspections and did not object to the application request.

No public comment was received on the application, he added.

“Staff recommends approval of this application,” Ooyman said.

Staff suggested nine conditions if the commissioners decided to grant its approval.

A motion to approve the application with the recommended conditions passed.

Ooyman also provided an overview of the Tropical Way application.

“A similar project to the one we just considered,” he said.

Ooyman reported that the home is located along a canal with approximately 100 feet of mangrove vegetated frontage. There is an existing 11-by-12-foot boat lift, and the applicant has reported that the section silts up with sediment, which makes it difficult to access the lift in medium to low tides.

Natural Resources conducted site inspections and did not object to the request.

“There are no anticipated mangrove impacts as part of the proposed project,” he said.

No public comment was received on the application, Ooyman added.

“Staff does recommend approval of this application,” he said.

Staff suggested eight conditions if the commissioners decided to grant its approval.

A motion to approve the application with the recommended conditions passed.

Also at the meeting, Community Services Department Director Keith Williams provided an overview of how the process for reviewing the Sanibel Codes in relation to seawalls will work. The city council recently directed the commission to consider the merits of potential Land Development Code changes.

Williams explained that the current code does not permit seawalls to be constructed seaward of an existing seawall. A more affordable option for replacing seawalls has been raised before the city, which entails installing a vinyl seawall constructed up to 18 inches seaward of an existing hardened wall.

The proposed vinyl seawalls raise questions about the median high water mark and more.

He reported that staff is preparing an overview of the city’s codes relating to seawalls for presentation before the commission for it “to consider whether you want any larger or different scope changes.”

“We’re clear on the direction,” Williams said of the information being compiled.

He explained that the commissioners will likely be presented with it as part of a Land Development Code Subcommittee meeting first. He provided an estimated timeframe of end of summer or early fall.