Two island surveys could affect your future… do your part and fill them out

March 6, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

BY MARCY SHORTUSE
The Boca Grande Community Planning Association, Inc. will soon be sending out the survey they spoke of in their meeting held in January, but hope the numbers on their email list increase by that time.
According to Peter Solmssen, chairman of the panel, there are only about 150 people signed up by email to take the survey.
“It would be wonderful if we could get a large audience,” he said. “The real purpose of this isn’t so much to get technical advice, but to make sure that we are addressing all the topics that the community wants us to address.”
The email to write to in order to complete the survey is bocagrandecpa@gmail.com. When the time comes to send out the survey, you will be notified by email as well.
There are six questions regarding island issues. Each question has a comments section at the bottom. They are as follows:
1.Residential density:
   The current Community Plan restricts density for residential uses. Residential density is currently limited to three dwelling units per acre.
Should the Community Plan continue to restrict density at this level?
2. Residential zoning
    The Community Plan, or land-use regulations derived from it, may be clarified to include or exclude certain uses from areas now zoned as residential.
     Should the Boca Grande Community Plan allow the following uses within residential neighborhoods?
      – Group homes, including rehabilitation facilities
      – Assisted living facilities
      – Short-term rental housing (i.e. Airbnb, Vrbo, etc.)
3. Marine park zoning
To protect marine life, provide for emergency water access and to regulate the construction of marine facilities in a manner consistent with current Boca Grande practices, a Marine Park Zoning Plan may be adopted.
Please select from the following list those items that should be included within any proposed Marine Park Zoning Plan (check all that apply): Provide for regular maintenance channel dredging to ensure emergency access to Gasparilla Island in the event of causeway or bridge storm damage; Update boat house and dock construction codes with dimensions large enough for modern boats; Protection of seagrasses (anchorage & water depth restrictions); Provide for removal of derelict boats; other.
4. Downtown amenities
The revised Boca Grande Community Plan may allow sidewalk amenities, such as outdoor dining and seating. Which of these sidewalk amenities, if any, are important to you: outdoor dining, sidewalk tables; casual seating, benches; commercial displays, store racks. 
5. Downtown appearance
New zoning rules could restrict building reconstruction or new construction in the downtown area to conform to current appearances. This may have the effect of limiting future uses.
How important is it to you that new or rehabbed construction conforms in appearance to existing downtown structures? Extremely important; very important; somewhat important; not so important; not at all important.
6. Noise control
Revisions to the Community Plan could include restrictions on ambient noise. Some communities in Florida have, for example, restricted the times during the day when gasoline-powered leafblowers may be used. Other communities have general noise limitations that restrict loud social occasions to certain hours.
Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: Noise limits are important to qualify of life in Boca Grande – Strongly agree; agree; somewhat agree; somewhat disagree; disagree; strongly disagree.
7. Bike path safety
Lee County owns the bike path south of First Street going to the southern end of Gasparilla Island. There have been a number of accidents, some with injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. Should Lee County make safety improvements such as signage and a speed limit similar to what the Gasparilla Island Conservation Improvement Association has made on its bike path north of First Street? Yes; no; no preference.
The survey also asks for residency and work information, whether the surveyed party works on the island or not, primary residence location and principal work location. Contact information is also requested.
Every seven years, Lee County government looks at unincorporated areas, such as Gasparilla Island, and sends representatives to each unincorporated area to see what the major issues are. In 2018 the County started this process again, and soon it will be time for them to examine Gasparilla Island. That was why the Boca Grande Community Planning Association was resurrected.
The group’s ultimate plan, Solmssen said, is to provide more consistency in the language in the Lee County/Gasparilla Island plan, remove vague and unnecessary language, add more reference to the Gasparilla Island Conservation District Act and to better define the unique circumstances that make up the Boca Grande Historic District.
Please do not send your results to the Boca Beacon office; use the link provided. Keep reading the Beacon for updates on when the survey will be sent out.