Sanibel Planning Department

With just over a month to go, hurricane season in the US is just about over for this year. It’s been a pretty  quiet year on the home front for any kind of bad weather on Sanibel; but many of us still remember Hurricane Charley in 2004.

Why bring that up now? Well those memories might include how we felt returning to Sanibel and Captiva and looking at all the damage done during this major storm. We were lucky but we also had to cleanup, restore, and in some cases, rebuild our properties. On Sanibel we had an amazing team of City employees, led by Sanibel’s remarkable City Manager, Judy Z tackling the job to reopen the Island, clear the roads, evaluating and securing properties that were damaged, getting utilities going again, and setting in place recovery plans.

City of Sanibel Planning Department Director, Jim Jordan, was Rotary’s guest speaker on Friday morning.

Jim Jordan

Jim is almost a native of Sanibel having lived on the Island, since he was three years old. He has witnessed the incorporation of the City and all of the changes the city has gone through over the years. The fact is he has worked in the Planning Department for the last thirty year becoming its Planning Director in 2009.

It’s been an incredible 10-year’s plus on Sanibel, since Charley  With the City Council and City Manager improving on rebuild and redeveloping codes, non-conforming building regulations, Sanibel’s density plan, resort area rebuilding and improvements, etc.

Five years after Charley, the Island itself was looking better, trees were finally growing along Periwinkle and things were getting back to a normal routine but it had become obvious during this recovery process that some of our non-conforming buildings on Island particularly in our resort areas were in need of improvement and some of the City regulations in place had discouraged resorts and short-term rentals from reinvesting money into these properties and the time to do this was at hand.

The City Planning Department has certainly been kept busy with these important improvements and changes to City codes and regulations keeping in full view the: Sanibel Plan, Federal Emergency Management and National Flood Programs, State Building codes and the important value of the natural environment on Sanibel and the very reason people visit and move to this unusual Island.

Transparent and open Planning meetings have improved the understanding and value of changes to Planning Department codes, ordinances, and regulations particularly to pre-existing non-conforming properties on Island. Exploration of this topic was thoroughly addressed and pre-existing non-conforming property owners now feel comfortable investing in the updating of their properties particularly in resort and short-term rental unit areas.

Things do change in time, these are good changes, and Jim and his staff are doing an incredible job. Yes, I know they are a pain sometime but… No pain, No gain…as they say.