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Home Rule Threatened Again - HB 403 SB 266

Committee of the Islands  | Published on 3/9/2021
Members of the House Commerce Committee and Senate Community Affairs Committee;

These comments are submitted in behalf of Committee of the Islands (COTI), a Florida not-
for-profit corporation based in the City of Sanibel. Since 1975 COTI’s mission, in part, has been 
to insure the continuity of good local government and to preserve the small town character of
our barrier island community.

We believe that HB 403 and SB 266 are an unwarranted intrusion on the fundamental
zoning authority local governments have long held that will make it difficult, if not impossible,
to to preserve the residential character of our neighborhoods by endangering the health and
welfare of residents, making those neighborhoods undesirable places in which to reside and
diminishing their property values.

When people buy homes in residential neighborhoods they do so with the expectation that
their neighbors will be residents, not businesses. We understand and agree that some people
have the need to work from home these days because the Covid pandemic has curtailed
traditional workplace gathering. However, that limited need to work at home does not justify
the wholesale opening of residential neighborhoods to any sort of business a property owner
may wish to pursue. There are businesses that are simply not compatible with residential living
because they pose a threat to the health and safety of neighbors. Local zoning addresses that
basic societal need whereas HB 403 and SB 266 would make it impossible to do so.
We urge you, for the health, safety and financial well being of our citizens to vote NO on
HB 403 and SB 266.

Respectfully submitted,
Committee of the Islands