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Captiva Community Panel sends plan to Lee County staff

December 16, 2015
By MEGHAN McCOY (mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

With only a few minor changes, the Captiva Community Panel voted unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 8 to send the Captiva Plan to Lee County staff for further review.

The first topic of lengthy discussion dealt with public information session for land use changes. According to their policy, "the owner, or agent, for any rezoning, variance, or special exception request within the Captiva planning community must conduct one public informational session on Captiva where the agent will provide a general overview of the project for any interested citizens. The Captiva Community Panel will receive a minimum of two weeks notice, along with a packet of materials for consideration prior to its regularly scheduled meeting in order to assure that sufficient notice is provided to the public. The applicant may request a meeting at a different time and place than the panel's regularly schedule meeting, but the same notice and packet requirements shall apply."

David Mintz said they are not requiring that people come before the panel, but rather asking that the panel be notified of the public informational sessions, so they can publicize the information on their website because they have members that do not receive the local paper.

Lee County Principal Planner Sharon Jenkins-Owen said Lee County is keeping all public information notices the same, so no matter what community they are in they have the opportunity to present information in front of community panels, or some other entity. She said they are not allowing the panel to have that level of power because they want to make sure that there is an avenue for people to have the meetings with the public.

"What you could do is make this a part of your bylines," Jenkins-Owen said, adding that they can require that they need particular information and their own set of regulations.

She said according to administrative code, individuals have to advertise the meeting, but the problem with it is it does not give a deadline.

Dave Jensen said the whole concept of the organization revolves around use changes, a reason he believes it should stay in the plan. He said they do not have the power to make any decisions, but rather provide recommendations.

"You obviously want to keep that in there, so why don't you go ahead and keep moving forward. Add a comment in there and let us go back around through all the powers at be and we will talk about this more," she said. Jenkins-Owen said one thing I would like to point out is a public information session is to let you know that it is out there and they are going to submit.

"It doesn't take away the public hearing process," she said. "It's just a leg up saying, 'hey IT'S coming.' Please beef up those arguments, so that maybe we can change a little bit."

The next policy dealt with density increases prohibited on Captiva. The change included adding "lot splits" or "lot line adjustments" to the verbiage to read "new requests for residential rezoning for any lot splits or lot line adjustment that would increase density on said property above current zoning will not be permitted."

The last policy that had discussion dealt with short-term rental of residential units. Currently the policy reads "residential units on Captiva Island, excluding those in South Seas Island Resort, may not be rented for a period of less that seven consecutive days."

Due to discussions taking place with legislature delegates concerning the number of days, the panel decided to leave as is to see what happens.

"We are not doing anything other than affirming what we already have," Mintz said.

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