To the Editor:
A developer (Potomac Group LA1, LLC) has submitted an application to Charlotte County for a massive development at the Fishery property.
The entire property is located in the Coastal High Hazard Area (CCHA) where the County Code limits residential density to 3.5 units/acre. The developer is proposing a density of more than 12 units/acre for 148 multi-family dwelling units.
The code also limits the height of buildings within 1,200 feet of waterfront to 35 feet over parking. The developer is proposing buildings of 65 feet over parking and exceeding the 200-foot building length limitation.
The developer can request these oversized buildings if he provides mitigating open space for visual corridors, light and air, and to prevent the appearance of a wall of concrete. This developer has not done that.
Also on this 14-acre property, there is a request to allow a mixed-use development with 3,520 square feet of retail space, a 40-room hotel and a 5,920 square-foot restaurant.
And there is an intention to somehow squeeze more boat slips (for the public benefit) into a 44-slip marina. The County’s environmental consultant has said that “proposed docking facilities are not approved” as part of this concept plan and will require further review.
This application is flawed in many respects. The County’s own policy “prohibits construction of public facilities within the Coastal High Hazard Area unless the location is the only one that serves the purpose.” The marina is the only water-dependent facility in the application.
The applicant also needs a change in the Comprehensive Plan to change a portion of the property from “Resource Conservation” to “Commercial.” This is a radical change of use in a very sensitive area. Then a zoning change is required to designate the property “PD” (planned development).
Incredibly, Charlotte County planning staff have recommended approval of this project. It would seem the rubber stamp is poised over the paperwork. However, the Friends of Cape Haze and our own GICIA have prepared cogent objections to the project and will present those to the County Planning and Zoning Commission at their hearing on Monday, Feb. 12.
Support from the public is very important at this stage. If you can attend the hearing, it is at 1:30 p.m. at the Murdock County building.
You can also write an email. Address it to email@example.com or Beth.Scott@charlottecountyfl.gov and ask that copies be given to Paul Bigness, Michael Gravesen, Paula Hess, Kenneth Chandler and Peter Gerhardt.