Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Stakeholder Discussion Reveals Ambiguity

July 14, 2023
South Seas 3 1800

About 90 people attended Lee County’s public meeting last night at the Captiva Civic Association to show their concern over the county’s proposed changes to building heights and density on Captiva. 

“It was very heartening to see the community and all the stakeholders come together, despite the limited nature of the discussion,” said SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis. “The conversation was limited to height, which is unfortunate because density is a key part of the proposed amendments.”

The meeting was also attended by 265 concerned citizens via Zoom.

“The discussion revealed that there is definitely ambiguity present in both the existing code and the proposed amendments,” said DePaolis. “More discussion is needed among stakeholders to find the best way forward to protect the unique nature of the islands.”

In his summary remarks at the close of the 2-hour meeting, DePaolis reminded everyone of how the community discussion came about.

“It’s all about resiliency. That’s why we’re here today. That’s what it boils down to,” he said. “This started in January with a request to make the Lee Plan and the Land Development Code more resilient and help people build back in a way that can be resilient.”

Without a clear understanding of the code or the proposed amendments, DePaolis emphasized that impacts can’t be accurately assessed.

“We’re not in a position to understand how the decisions we’re making today and tomorrow and in these next coming meetings are going to be affecting that resiliency down the line,” he said. “And, there’s no way we can assess how that’s going to impact traffic or sewer or water or wildlife or the future of the islands.”

The CCA plans to send out a link to the recorded meeting with captions early next week. Due to the size of the room and the number of presenters, there were some audio issues for Zoom attendees. Captions will ensure that what was being said can be understood in the recorded version of the meeting.

The Captiva Community Panel has scheduled a special meeting on July 18 to review the outcome of the stakeholder discussion and to consider next steps. Please plan to attend this meeting as well to stay updated on this critical land use issue.

Tuesday, July 18 at 9 a.m.



  • Review results of Lee County public meeting on July 13
  • Review legal representation (deliverables and fees)
  • Develop fundraising program for legal fees


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