In January, the Lee County Commission asked staff to explore changes to the Lee County Land Development code that would be potentially needed to allow for homeowners with hurricane-damaged homes to rebuild but be compliant to the updated flood zone maps issued by FEMA. (FEMA changes necessitated an increase in base elevation in some cases.)
The staff responded with a draft ordinance that was originally scheduled for a hearing and vote by the Lee County Commission in June. However, many residents — especially in Lee County districts with special zoning overlays like Pine Island — have had questions and concerns about the proposed changes.
The proposed ordinance was the focus of a public hearing during a June meeting of the Lee County Commission. But based on the public opposition, concerns and questions, the Commissioners voted to table discussion and reschedule the public hearing until September so that commissioners could further listen to residents’ concerns. Our Commission Representative, Kevin Ruane, was key in helping to table discussion and has expressed his opposition to the proposed ordinance.
The GPICA Board has expressed our concerns with the proposed changes via a letter to each of the Lee County Commissioners (see links to the letters below); among the concerns we addressed:
- The entire section on height restrictions — section 33-1087 — would be removed entirely from the Pine Island Planning Community regulations and move them into the overall county rules, thus taking away the special protections we have now under the Pine Island Plan;
- While section 33-1087 would be restated in Section 34-2175, 34-2175 we are concerned that it does not provide the same level of protection that the Pine Island Plan currently has;
- We are also concerned that the proposed changes offer a different calculation method that could allow for more livable space, leaving open the possibility that three-story buildings would be allowable under the new rules.
While county staff maintain that the changes proposed will not alter Pine Island’s height restrictions and that the Island will remain protected, we asked Commissioner Ruane and Lee County staff to join us at our August meeting to explain proposed changes with our residents. They joined us during the Aug. 1 meeting of the GPICA and made a presentation and answered questions about the proposed changes.
- Click here for the presentation given by Lee County Zoning Manager Anthony Rodriguez
- Click here for the meeting recording (you must have Facebook to view)
Other Important Links
- Lee County Building Height Amendments: https://bit.ly/ldc-height
- Existing and Proposed Building Height Amendments for Matlacha: https://bit.ly/height-renderings
- Existing and Proposed Building Heigh Amendments for Pine Island: https://bit.ly/PI-height-renderings
Plan to attend the public hearing about proposed Land Development Code Changes:
- 9:30 a.m. Sept. 5, 2023 Board of County Commissioners meeting, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers.
Email Your Lee County Commissioners:
- District 1, Kevin Ruane, firstname.lastname@example.org (represents Pine Island)
- District 2, Cecil Pendergrass, email@example.com
- District 3, Ray Sandelli, firstname.lastname@example.org
- District 4, Brian Hamman (Chair), email@example.com
- District 5, Mike Greenwell (Vice Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org