How Big is Too Big?

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The Fort Myers Beach town council wants to stop the construction of large homes being built on multiple pieces of property. Council members are concerned about the sizes of the homes, some refer to as McMansions.

The way the council plans to do this is by passing what is called “zoning in progress.” Technically it’s not a moratorium on the construction of the big homes but it would slow things down. It would send a message to homeowners that the town is in the process of changing it’s zoning requirements with a goal of stopping this from happening.

What has council members concerned is when residents by two, three, maybe four lots then build one gigantic home on that lot. Currently there are no restrictions on how many lots you can build on.

Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros, who was in favor of the three-story building at Bayside Park, wanted to ram through the changes Monday, without hearing from the public. “The public doesn’t necessarily get a chance to weigh in it. They were on notice that this was being discussed at a prior meeting. Mayor Ray Murphy told her the public does have a right to come in and voice their opinion.

The rest of the council did not want to ram it through voting against her motion to approve the plan Monday.

Town councilman Jim Atterholt said there needed to time allotted for public input. And he believes people will support what they are trying to do. “We have an obligation to give some notice to the public that this action is being taken. I think it would help with the broader buy-in if we move to take steps to reduce the size of these house.”

Town attorney John Herin said if the “zoning in progress” is approved, no new applications would be processed until new zoning regulations were adopted. This does not impact commercial development, only residential.

The issue to invoke “zoning in progress” on two or more lots that are being combined to build a single residential home will be on the agenda at the next council meeting which will be at 5:00 on September 9th.

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