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Getting the facts for better future

By Staff | Mar 11, 2020

To the editor:

TPI continues to use social media to justify what was approved by Town Council for its Margaritaville development. Use of social media has provoked division within the town. The legal system is hearing the facts and will resolve remaining issues. Some candidates for Town Council are quoting TPI statements that are not factual. For example, the claim that the area where the new development is to be built used to contain 240 hotel rooms. The facts: 197 hotel rooms existed, or were approved, pre hurricane Charley in all the downtown area, including Crescent Beach Park, which is now owned by Lee County. (Reference: Bill Spikowski memo dated November 2006.) Only 84 hotel rooms were allowed by right on property now owned by TPI. So, why did Town Council agree to 254 rooms? As rightly stated by TPI, their plan provided public benefit to the Town. Our codes do not clearly define how much density and intensity deviation can be allowed based on benefits being offered by a developer. Town Council is allowed latitude. Town codes could use more clarity regarding what is public benefit and how much variance might be allowed. Future land development code changes should focus on preventing costly legal challenges. The LPA and Town Council will continue to make decisions based on unique circumstances, and must assure that accurate facts are considered. Reflection on the TPI development process is an opportunity to evaluate what went well, what can be improved, make changes that will facilitate future decisions and decrease the probability of legal challenges.

Tom Babcock

Fort Myers Beach