Committee of the Islands

Keeping Sanibel Special Since 1975

Resort Redevelopment: The System Worked

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July 08, 2011

ISLAND SUN - JULY 8 , 2011 7 area could not be increased without voter approval . With those issues , in effect , taken Resort Redevelopment : out of play as the work of legislating redevelopment started , the process focused more on things that were realistically attainable and less on those that weren’t . Or perhaps The System Worked it is simply the realization that Sanibel’s allure is attributable more to its focus on con - servation than the panache of its resorts . Sanibel is never going to be another Naples . by Larry Schopp , Board Member , Committee of the Islands Nor can other communities hope to emulate what Sanibel has to offer by merely pay - n case you hadn’t noticed , Sanibel has a new ordinance on ing lip service to conservation while they develop their beaches . It’s really a way of life . the books that tells resort property owners what they may I believe that’s what sets this place and the people who live and choose to own prop - Iand may not do when they redevelop their aging , outmoded erty here apart . properties . The city council action took place on June 7 , but you I think that movement to the center applies as well to those of us who might have could easily have missed the event . That’s not to say it wasn’t an drawn a line in the sand and said “ no way ” to some key concessions that had to be important milestone . It clearly was . It just didn’t trigger any sort made for the process to work . I’m talking about potential hot button issues like rede - of passionate public debate . In many other communities , and velopment at existing non - conforming density and reconstruction of pools in the Gulf even on Sanibel just a few years ago , the occasion might have Beach Zone . Those concessions ( which were very important to the process of resort been marked by angry words as pro - development and anti - devel - redevelopment ) will not change the ambiance on Sanibel . I doubt they will even be opment advocates staked out positions . After all , rewriting the noticed , yet they could have derailed the process had there been organized opposition . rules on redevelopment has the potential to change the character Compromise doesn’t have to mean selling out . One can engage in give - and - take to of a community . So what was different this time ? achieve a common goal without betraying principles . It takes perspective - - a sense of What went right ? what , in the final analysis , is important and what is not - - by people on both sides of I can think of two reasons the process went so smoothly , without so much as a hint an issue . That’s what we accomplished . of acrimony . One was the way council orchestrated the process , while the other is How often can we honestly say “ the system worked ? ” Not as often as we like per - more a reflection of what I believe is the maturation of Sanibel as a community - - and I haps , but in the case of resort redevelopment , I think we can and it’s a good feeling . don’t mean the aging of its citizens . I’m talking about a developing sense among island Let’s hope it happens again . residents and non - resident property owners alike of what really makes Sanibel such a Committee of the Islands also invites your comments and ideas on this important unique place and how we can best keep it that way by finding common ground . subject . You can email us at coti @ coti.org and check our website at www.coti.org . First , as to the process : When city council asked the planning commission to take on the issue of resort redevelopment in the spring of 2010 , it clearly defined the planners ’ mission in a guidance document based on the Sanibel Plan which became known as the “ key ingredients . ” Council is the policymaking body on Sanibel . City council , not the planning commission , should set the ground rules . With that done , the commission’s role was simplified . The hearings that took place during the next year focused on completing the mission , not defining it . The result was a well - crafted piece of legislation that city council could embrace . Read Us Online At IslandSunNews.com A movement to the center What about the second reason ? Have people on Sanibel really moved closer to the center and away from the fringes on issues like redevelopment ? I may be wrong but I think they have . I sense a lessening of tension between groups traditionally at odds . Perhaps it started with the adoption of the 2005 charter amendments , which made it clear that ( with limited exceptions ) building height , residential density and developed

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