URGENT: Major Zoning Changes Proposed for Charlotte County portion of the Key
Posted on Aug 14th, 2010

Manasota Key Association Members,
We have recently been made aware of major zoning changes that are being considered for the Charlotte County portion of Manasota Key. The Board of Directors of the MKA is opposed to these proposed changes. We believe that if they are approved our portion of the Key, along with the south end, will be negatively impacted. These changes would lead to more traffic on Manasota Key Rd., and potentially much more congestion on the south end of the Key. Further, we are concerned with the fact that this major proposal was introduced in a very short time frame, and at the time of year when many of the residents of the area are known to be out of town. The timing appears suspicious, at best.
I want to emphasize that this proposal is for the Charlotte County portion of the Key ONLY. But that does not preclude Sarasota County residents from expressing concern or opposition. I have already done so on behalf of the MKA. Following is a letter from Steve Stump, President of the South Manasota Key Association to his members. His letter provides a summary of the proposed changes, contact information and even a proposed e mail. It would seem reasonable that, at a minimum, changes of this magnitude should be considered when the people most affected are present. If you would like to make your opinion known, I would encourage you to act quickly. The time frame is short and the South Manasota Key Association thinks our support might be helpful.
Dick Hess
p.s. We have just learned that action on the Overlay Code has been delayed. Public hearings on that will now be held Oct. 19 and Nov. 16. Rezoning of the Weston Resort property continues on the original schedule.
----- Original Message ----- From: "South Manasota Key Association" <> >
To: "South Manasota Key Association">
Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 10:28 AM
Subject: Major Changes Proposed for Our Keys!
Major Changes Proposed for Our Keys!
Members of the South Manasota Key Association,
This morning I visited with Roxann Read and shared our concerns. There are some activities occurring this summer which will impact our community in a big way and of which you may not be aware. This email is intended to alert you to the issues and to urge you to voice your comments to our elected officials and their staff.
The Charlotte County Planning and Zoning Board will hear two proposals relevant to our keys on August 9, 2010. If approved they will move to the County Commissioners on August 17, 2010. These proposals have been drafted with little or no input from residents. Containing some massive changes, they are being proposed with unparalleled speed this summer, when over half of our residents are up north. Because these changes impact all of us, your Board believes that any changes should be carefully and thoroughly discussed and considered by all interested, at a time and place convenient to those affected.
The first proposal is a substantive revision to the existing Manasota and Sandpiper Key Overlay Code. Our analysis is that the proposed changes are far reaching and highly significant.
The second proposal is a rezoning of a tract on the Southern end of Manasota Key. Our analysis is that this change will also have a very big impact on our community.
Roxann Read mentioned that our opportunity to express our concerns are at the Planning and Zoning Board which decides if this Revision has adequate merit for BCC consideration and the two hearings before the Board of County Commissioners each of these meetings will have Public Comment. Email to the contacts below are the best way to express your concerns now and a presence at the meeting with comment during the public comments will ensure our concerns being heard. Please voice your concerns:
Government Contacts:
Ø Board of County Commissioners: .
Ø Chairman of Planning and Zoning, Paula Hess: .
Ø Chief Planner: Roxann Read: .
Ø Phone: Charlotte County Phone Number: 941-764-4903 Mention item numbers DO-10-02-01 for zoning code changes and PA-10-06-19 and Pa-10-06-20 > for lot zoning changes.
Ø Planning and Zoning Board: Monday, August 9, 1:30 pm, County Building,
18500 Murdock Circle, Room 119.
Ø Board of County Commissioners: Tuesday, August 17, 9:00 am, County
Building, 18500 Murdock Circle, Room 119.
A summary of the changes in both issues is below.
1. The Overlay Code: Here are the major changes being proposed to the current code:
Ø Pile driving will now be allowed.
Ø The maximum allowable height of condos, motels, and hotels will change from 52 feet to 71 feet; maximum allowable height of houses from 43 feet to 62 feet. (This results from changing the measurement base from NGVD [basically sea level], to FEMA.)
Ø Three sectors on our two islands, currently zoned Commercial/ Tourist but allowing residential, will be zoned to allow only commercial motels/hotels and buildings. (North side of Sand Piper Key near the Tom Adams > bridge; from Gulf View Grill North on Manasota Key past Gulf to Bay, and the strip across
from Calico Jacks)
Ø Rooftops appurtenances (ornamental structures, air conditioners, tennis courts, gardens, towers, tennis courts, pools) will no longer fall under the height restrictions of the basic condo.
Ø Setbacks for new buildings will be reduced significantly (e.g.: For the over 60% of lots on Manasota Key which are "nonconforming" [less > than 60 feet wide], setbacks will need to be only 10% of the lot width, or 5 feet for a 50' lot and not the current 10 feet. Plus it will be OK to build into that space - decks, bay windows, roof overhangs, air conditioners, fire escapes, stairways, and balconies - up to one foot from a neighbor.)
Ø Setbacks to Lemon Bay will be reduced. (e.g. Condo requirement will change from 35 feet to 20 feet.)
Ø New condos will now require only 10% of their front yards to be green as opposed to all green except for drive ways; houses will now require only 30% as opposed to all green except for drive ways.
Ø Green space requirements will be reduced. (e.g. Should a builder combine two 50 foot lots, each with side green space required, the new home will now require only two 10 foot setbacks for a net reduction of 2 X 10 feet of green space in the combined lot.)
2. Zoning Change for the South End of Manasota Key
Ø The staff proposal is to change 5 + acres on the Southern tip of Manasota Key from Residential Multi-family zoning (currently MMF-7.5 or > MMF-12) to a Commercial/Tourist (MCT) district. This would replace residential usage with commercial buildings, hotels, and motels.
Ø This zoning change will create a second major commercial corridor in a traditionally residential neighborhood. The changes to the character of the area would be to add significant transient intensity (short-term guests, shopping, entertainment and nightlife).
Ø Those commercial uses technically have zero "density" because their occupants are not considered permanent. But the real effects of traffic, noise, evacuation time, infrastructure stress, and crowding to island residents would be considerable.
Ø And, if the Overlay Code revision is passed, it will allow the transfer of currently designated density units from this area to builders of new condos elsewhere on the Key who wish to have more units than zoned.
Suggested Email content:
"To whom it may concern:
The sweeping changes in the requested revisions are of concern to me as a resident of Manasota / Sandpiper Key. There may be advantages but I need more information as to the need for the change and advantages it may provide. I am requesting that these revisions be postponed until the applicant can provide this information for each change suggested. Thank you for your attention,"
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