Meetings
 
City Council
CITY OF PUNTA GORDA
9/21/2016
 
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Quasi-Judicial Public Hearings*
Title:

SE-04-16 – A request by Hans Wilson & Associates, Agent, for Vent, LLC, Vivante at Punta Gorda Property Owner’s Association, Inc., Palm Isles Condominium Development, LLC, and Vivante at Punta Gorda Condominium Association, Inc., owners, for a Special Exception pursuant to Chapter 26, Section 16.8, Punta Gorda Code, to construct a private marina with up to 264 private dock slips for the sole use of the residents of the Vivante development; to create a navigable channel connecting to the Peace River through vacant common area on the North end of the development, and to install a seawall along the lands abutting the proposed channel, since none of these activities are considered permitted uses or structures, but may be approved as a Special Exception. APPLICANT IS REQUESTING CITY COUNCIL CONSIDER GRANTING A CONTINUANCE OF THE PUBLIC HEARING.

Funds: N/A
Recommended Action:

The Planning Commission and City staff recommend approval of the request with the following conditions:

  1. To ensure appropriate review of any possible impact to the quality of the water, wildlife or mangroves, the applicant must obtain approvals from the SWFWMD, FDEP, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), US Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and any other State agencies that would have jurisdiction on this request prior to any work being commenced.
  2.  To allow for the applicant adequate time to obtain such approvals, the Special Exception approval shall not expire prior to 3 years from the approval date.
  3.  Separate dock permits must be obtained by the building division prior to commencing construction.
  4.  The applicant will be responsible for moving and relocating any utilities that may be in the area of the proposed channel, as stated by staff at the Development Review Committee. 
Summary:

The proposed application is to construct a private marina with up to 264 private dock slips for the sole use of Vivante residents, to create a navigable channel connecting to the Peace River through vacant common area on the North end of the development, and to install a seawall along the lands abutting the proposed channel.

 

Findings

 

The following findings can be drawn concerning this request for a Special Exception.  These findings are based upon the information submitted by the applicant attached herein, and upon the written provisions of the Punta Gorda City Code pertaining to this type of request.

 

The Planning Commission and City Council shall use the following criteria, in addition to other reasonable considerations, in making their decision regarding approval or disapproval of a special exception application:

 

Criteria #1      The proposed use will not adversely affect the use of neighboring properties.

 

Finding #1: With the design of the proposed navigable channel, the closest edge of the channel being at least 114 to 116 feet waterward of the existing shoreline and condominiums, the boat traffic should have no negative impact on existing conditions in this boating community.  The proposed use will not adversely affect the use of neighboring properties, and if approved will have a positive impact on all properties that abut the existing lake.

 

Additional permitting through the Southwest Florida Management District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is necessary.  These agencies will ensure all environmental and marine life concerns are properly addressed.

 

Concern was raised that the lake is a City owned lake.   The City does not and never has owned the lake.   The lake is owned and maintained by the PGI Section 24 property owner’s association per restrictive covenants recorded in 1984 by Punta Gorda Isles, Inc. 

 

Criteria #2      The use shall comply with applicable district regulations and applicable provisions of the adopted Comprehensive Plan and downtown plans.

 

Finding #2:  The proposed use has no impact on the downtown plan, and is consistent with the City of Punta Gorda Comprehensive Plan, specifically;

 

Objective 2.1.4, “Punta Gorda will continue a development pattern which is characterized by the location of water dependent and water related uses in its waterfront areas.”

 

Policy 2.1.4.1:    Structures and uses in waterways, waterward of the man high water line or bulkhead line, will be limited to water-oriented uses and structures which support water-oriented uses, and such uses and structures may be further regulated or restricted depending upon adjacent upland land uses, consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and zoning.

 

Policy 2.1.4.2:   Punta Gorda’s waterfront will be characterized by water-dependent uses, (e.g., boat ramps, marinas, dock facilities, fishing piers, etc.) and by other water-related uses such as waterfront parks, boardwalks, hotels, shopping and restaurant uses, waterfront residential uses, etc.

 

Policy 2.1.4.3:   The siting of boating related facilities in Punta Gorda will be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations and will incorporate developmental and environmental criteria:  vacant adjoining parcels, acreage, land use, landside infrastructure, (water, sewer, road), aquatic preserve, wetland, seagrass, water depth adjacent to parcel and boat access.

 

Goal 2.2: Public Access:  “To promote the City of Punta Gorda as a “Boaters’ Destination” by enhancing public access between the land and the waters of the State of Florida for all residents and visitors of the City of Punta Gorda based upon current and projected demand. “

 

Objective 2.2.1:  Improve access from the waters of the Peace River and the Charlotte Harbor to the City of Punta Gorda by improving the number and quality of boat slips, moorings and shore side support facilities for cruising boaters.

 

Policy 2.2.1.1: The City shall promote joint ventures, development or redevelopment of projects which support design standards that promote or improve public access from the Peace River to the City.

 

Goal 2.5: Enhancement of the Viable Traditional Economy:  To enhance economic development opportunities within the City of Punta Gorda that more fully connects the community to its waterfront.

 

Objective 2.5.1:  The City shall maintain and enhance its traditional economy in the areas of boating, fishing and tourism.

 

Policy 2.5.1.1:  The City shall promote sport fishing events and other similar activities.

 

Criteria #3 The location, size and height of buildings structures, walls and fences, and the nature and extent of screening, buffering and landscaping shall be such that the use will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent or nearby land and/or buildings.

 

Finding #3:  No new buildings are proposed on the site.  The proposed docks are in the water, and are consistent with the surrounding neighborhoods and other waterways. 

 

The proposed navigable channel will allow boat traffic to access the harbor directly and will not impact boat traffic in other existing canals.  The maintenance of the lake, seawalls and channel will remain the responsibility of the property owners abutting the lake.  This was denoted in the Original Covenants and Restrictions for PGI Section 24 which were recorded in 1984.

 

The proposed jetty will be set at 1 foot below mean high water line, and will only be exposed during low tide, and will be marked with channel markers as required.  Therefore the jetty will not block any views of the water, and the proposed channel will not hinder or discourage the appropriate development and use of adjacent or nearby land or buildings.  

 

Environmental and lake water quality concerns have been raised, and will be addressed by the applicant based on the scientific environmental studies done of the area.

 

Criteria #4 The proposed use will be such that pedestrian and vehicular traffic generated will not be hazardous or conflict with the existing and anticipated traffic in the neighborhood and on the streets serving the site.

 

Finding #4.  The proposed channel is approximately 116 feet waterward and away from the existing shoreline of Colony Point Drive and the existing condominiums.   The community, by its very nature is a boating community, and seeing boat traffic is commonplace. 

 

No additional pedestrian or vehicular traffic will be generated as the result of this request.

 

Concerns raised of a ‘boat super-highway’ that would be created.  In reality, only a small percentage of boat owners use their boats on a daily basis.   For those that live on Tarpon Inlet, there are approximately 200 lots on the north side of the bridge, not counting any boat slips at Colony Point Condominium.  How many watercraft actually travel through Tarpon Inlet to the harbor on any given day?

 

Conclusions

 

Based upon the findings presented above, the Punta Gorda Urban Design Division offers the following conclusions leading to its final staff recommendations.

 

Conclusion #1:   The lake ownership and control was granted by the Restrictive covenants for PGI Section 24. On page 5 of the restrictive covenants for Punta Gorda Isles, Section 24, recorded February 15, 1984, all lots and condominium units which may be built upon lands immediately adjacent to the lake shall have an undivided interest in all of the lake, which interest shall be equivalent to the owners’ obligation to pay maintenance thereon as set forth hereafter. 

 

  1. PGI Section 24 is not part of the PGI Canal Maintenance Assessment District, and therefore the District would not be responsible for any costs associated with the lake or seawalls.
  2. Additionally, the covenants state that “Nothing shall prohibit the Association or the majority of the adjacent unit owners from seeking an outlet from the lake to the harbor.” This was clearly contemplated in 1984, when PGI Section 24 covenants were recorded.  
  3. The request complies with Policies, Goals and Objectives of the City’s adopted Comprehensive plan.
  4. The request meets the required criteria and the application is in order.
Department/Division: Urban Design
 
EXHIBITS:
1.Notice of Public Hearing
2.Letter to request continuance from applicant
3.SE-04-16 Application
4.Notice of Intent to Intervene
5.Intervenor Request Letter
6.Letter of Objections
7.Letter of Support
8.News Articles
9.Excerpt of 08122016 DRC meeting
10.Excerpt of 08222016 Planning Commission Meeting