EVALUATION AND APPRAISAL OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
ISSUE: After five years' experience, are the Comprehensive Plan's "buildback" provision working properly, or should they be modified or repealed? Should the plan allow conversions from over-density hotel/motels guest units into over-density residential units? If so, would this policy cause a fundamental change in the economy of Fort Myers Beach, displacing the tourist economy and its locally-owned motels, restaurants, and shops in favor of condominiums? Would such a change be good or bad for Fort Myers Beach?
Background: The plan established a new concept for "pre-disaster" buildback of existing buildings that exceed the post-1984 density limits. Many questions have arisen from the town's initial experience implementing this policy. For instance, should over-density buildings be allowed to expand further during the rebuilding process? What happens when motels are proposed for conversion into dwelling units should the new dwelling units be required to meet current density limits (which have been in place since 1984) or should they be allowed to disregard those limits? Also, federal and state coastal regulations apparently require new beachfront buildings to be elevated so high that the ambience of the pedestrian environment will be degraded by the new buildings; creative ideas are needed for the town to ensure that new beachfront buildings can improve the look and feel of Estero Boulevard while still meeting coastal regulations.