The Voice of Fort Myers Beach (VFMB), a coalition of citizens and stakeholders on the island that formed to bring clarity to the very important issues that development creates on the island, announces the release of its report detailing the specific obligations of the Town of Fort Myers Beach’s current Comprehensive Plan. The report clearly states the maximum number of units or rooms permitted by the existing Town Comp Plan on the parcels owned by Grand Resorts FMB is less than half of what Grand Resorts FMB is proposing in its development plan.
VFMB believes in responsible development that is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan that has guided development for the past 17 years. In order for VFMB and all interested citizens to understand what the Comp Plan allows VFMB has enlisted Beverly Grady of Roetzel & Andress, to interpret the code and to clarify what is allowed under the Comp Plan as it is currently written.
The Town’s Comprehensive Plan is very specific as to how hotel densities are to be calculated and Florida requires strict compliance with its’ provisions. The policies and goals are not suggestions. They are mandatory requirements. Stating there is a suggestion of using FAR (Floor Area Ratio) to increase density is contrary to the clear requirement for density calculation. (See attached schedule for historic application of the Comprehensive Plan). The inclusion of the county’s densities and properties in the Grand Resorts proposed plan is unclear as to what process or authorization has taken place.
VFMB recognizes that the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code must be strictly followed unless changed by the Local Planning Agency and the Town Council and there are very clear steps that must be taken to do so. VFMB welcomes development that is consistent with the Comp Plan, but also that respects the problems that currently exist in the Town.
Traffic is paramount and it is a problem that screams for relief. Any new development must alleviate, not exacerbate, traffic flow.
Selling a public park for private development is a threshold issue that requires public debate and input prior to any authorization to file application for intense development.
Density and intensity must also be consistent with the code and the Comp Plan, and the character of the Town of Fort Myers Beach does not have the luxury of abundant infrastructure nor vast stretches of undeveloped land. Intensity that exceeds the current Comp Plan would be very hard to accept.
There are many issues at hand but VFMB hopes this report will help focus the debate and help all parties reach a plan that is in the best interest of all stakeholders on Fort Myers Beach. More information, the official report and additional support documents may be found online at VOICEofFMB.com.