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Council tables proposed “historic” ordinance

May 21, 2014
By BOB PETCHER (rpetcher@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Proposed changes to Historic Preservation regulations are on hold after relative information was brought to light during the weekend.

Historic Preservation Board chairwoman Joanne Shamp was informed about what an ordinance with certain proposed amendments may do if approved.

"This weekend I heard questions from concerned citizens brought to my attention that the ordinance as written might subject some properties to regulation of our land development code," she said. "That was not the intention of HPB, and I immediately notified the town manager, town attorney and community development department of the error."

Shamp requested that the ordinance be brought back to the Historic Preservation Board for further work. The board is reviewing historic sites, areas, structures and building for possible designation as historic resources.

"The HBP for several years has followed the suggestion of the comp plan and LDC (land development code) in designating historic resources within our town and identifying plaques to celebrate their role in the Town's history," said Shamp.

Beach designees, which have risen to standards of county and state, include The Historical Society, The Historical Society Annex, The Historical Society Rain Barrel, Beach Elementary School, St. Raphael's Episcopal Church, Pink Shell Cottage, Carter Cottage and Newton Cottage.

The proposed amendments would have changed wording that might be misconstrued. The aforementioned designees and others may even reach standards for national register of historic places.

"Because they meet these high standards, the property owners are voluntarily liable to become designated and protected by preservation regulations of our land development code," Shamp said. "The HPB proposes changes to the land development code that an effort to protect properties who participate in a plaque program so that they retain the current rights to remodel, sell or even demolish the structure and not be subject to historical preservation regulation. We on the HPB thought we got it right, but I realized this weekend we did not."

The purpose of chapter 22 of the Town LDC is "to identify, evaluate, preserve and protect historical and archaeological sites and districts" as well as "to promote the cultural, health, moral, economic, educational, aesthetic and general welfare of the public.

Newton Park seawall construction on hold

Due to sea turtle season, approved reconstruction work to repair and replace a low-lying seawall located within Newton Park at 4650 Estero Blvd. is now on hold.

Council awarded a bid to Marine Contracting Group in the amount of $189,969 to do the work back in April. The company is now seeking a cost to hold the contract until October, according to Town Public Works Director Scott Baker.

"They wanted a substantial increase," he said. "I feel comfortable re-bidding this out now for an October start to mobilize and do the work after turtle season. It would save us some money."

According to Town records, the project is being mostly funded through capital grant funds allocated for the seawall component and the annual maintenance for beach access ways provided by Lee County Tourist Development Council. The remainder of the balance amount may be paid for by budgeted maintenance funds for access ways.

LPA to review surveys with construction permits

Council or the Town Local Planning Agency may be re-discussing a policy decision regarding the requirement for surveys with development permit applications. Town Attorney Derek Rooney will draft language for either LPA to address through hearings or Council to address during a work session. Council consented to this matter during a Monday morning workshop.

Beach Mayor Anita Cereceda stated there needs to be extreme oversight through re-development. Compliance is needed through the construction process.

"This is a by-the-book Council," she said. "The Town came into existence over a building and could go out of existence over a building. This is a turning point in this Town's history right now."

During the LPA process and prior to Council direction, Rooney requested that Town officials look at every single permit and ask for every single detail within scope of work.

"If we require that multiple sufficiency in our applications, you'll find that the contractors will try to meet it as much as possible," he said.

Cereceda wanted to make sure that Council is not viewed as anti-development.

"We are just very cognizant of the changes that are occurring within the community," she said. "We want to guide those changes to fit our vision of the Town."

 
 

 

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