TO: Local Planning Agency

FROM: Bill Spikowski

DATE: May 12, 1997

SUBJECT: Community Design Element


Attached for your review is a draft of the Community Design element for your comprehensive plan. Although considerable work remains to be done on this element, it is relatively complete as to subject matter and scope of the proposed objectives and policies.

Also attached is an initial outline of goals and objectives for the Future Land Use element. It is being presented at the same time as the Community Design element to illustrate the suggested division of subject matter between these two elements.

We will discuss this material at your meeting at 12:00 P.M. on May 20.



GOAL: To remain a healthy and vibrant "small town" while capitalizing on the vitality and amenities available in a beach-resort environment.

OBJECTIVE 1. Maintain the pedestrian character of the Town, which allows people to move around without their cars (providing mobility even in the midst of peak-season congestion).

Policy A. Maintaining the Town's current "human scale" is a fundamental redevelopment principle. Fort Myers Beach is best enjoyed from outside a car; new buildings should be designed to encourage use or admiration by people on foot, rather than separating them with gates, walls, excessive setbacks, or unnecessary building heights.

Policy B. Easy walking access to the beach is a key element in the Town's human scale. Development trends that inhibit this access are undesirable (including traffic improvements to Estero Boulevard that would make it a barrier to the beach).

Policy C. Frequent beach access points are another key element of the Town, and shall be maintained and even expanded where possible.

Policy D. The beach itself provides incomparable recreational and environmental benefits; careful management of the beach, including renourishment when necessary, can increase both.

Policy E. The back bay also provides great benefits to the Town, and can be enhanced by improving public access and reversing the decline in water quality.

OBJECTIVE 2. Avoid further overbuilding.

Policy A. Judicious planning could have avoided the kind of overbuilding found at Fort Myers Beach by limiting construction to match potential capacity of roads and the physical environment. Since such planning came too late, the Town must deal with today's congestion plus the impacts of future development that has vested rights to proceed. These conditions have shaped the vision of this plan, as development rights once granted are not easily or lightly reversed; great care will be required while implementing this plan in order to balance important public and private rights.

Policy B. The Town hereby adopts its Future Land Use Map to govern future development activities within its boundaries. The categories on this map are as follows:


Policy C. When evaluating proposals for new or expanded commercial activities, the following principles are applicable:

-- Commercial development shall not expand or intrude into residential neighborhoods.

-- No rezonings for commercial development shall be allowed in the __ category.

-- Shopping districts that contribute to the pedestrian character of the Town are more desirable than those designed primarily for vehicular access.

-- Shopping opportunities for residents and overnight guests generally reduce congestion, while shopping for day visitors contributes to peak-season congestion.

Policy D. The intensity and density levels allowed by the Future Land Use Map may be increased through formal amendments to this plan if such increases are clearly in the public interest, not just in the private interest of a petitioning landowner.

Policy E. The Town commits to ensuring the availability of public services at the levels of service specified in this plan concurrently with the impacts of development, and will cooperate with other entities to improve the ability to safely evacuate when a hurricane is approaching.

Policy F. Despite its largely suburban character, the Town still contains many important natural resources. Preservation of those resources is of the highest importance and is a frequent theme throughout this plan.

Policy G. To carry out this plan's policies and other public purposes, the Town shall adopt new land development regulations within one year of the effective date of this plan. Until that time, the pre-existing development regulations adopted by the Town's charter shall remain in effect, except where they are superseded by clearly contradictory provisions of this plan.

Policy H. [building heights]

Policy I.


OBJECTIVE 3. Preserve the current variety of neighborhood and housing types.

Policy A. [recognizing older neighborhoods at slightly higher densities, and newer neighborhoods to stay strictly single-family]

Policy B. [accessory apartments]

Policy C.


OBJECTIVE 4. Take positive steps to resolve major land-use conflicts such as redeveloping areas that are reaching obsolescence or beginning to show blighted characteristics.

Policy A. [innovative LDR techniques]

Policy B. [historic structures]

Policy C. [compatible adjacent uses]

Policy D. [reference to Community Design element regarding Villa Santini, other areas]

Policy E. [signage]Policy A. [motel densities]

Policy F. [Estero Blvd near Bay Oaks]

Policy G.


GOAL: To minimize the damage and disruption that a hurricane can inflict on Fort Myers Beach.

OBJECTIVE 5. Allow pre-storm improvements to strengthen buildings.

Policy A. [changes to floodplain ordinance]

Policy B.

Policy C.


OBJECTIVE 6. Provide evacuation opportunities . . . .

Policy A.

Policy B.

Policy C.


OBJECTIVE 7. Plan ahead for the healthy reconstruction of Fort Myers Beach after a major storm.

Policy A. [buildback policies]

Policy B.

Policy C.


OBJECTIVE 8. Establish a system of clear and consistent rules and guidelines governing both public and private development.

Policy A. Develop a concise and graphically illustrated land development code to illustrate the permitted uses and dimensions in various zoning districts and overlay districts needed to implement this comprehensive plan.

Policy B. Develop a clear and efficient process for administering the Town's development and design regulations.

Policy C.