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SANIBEL | Flying high but not blowing up: new ideas for 4th of July

City Council discusses fireworks alternatives, building height increases, and beach renourishment project.
Posted at 10:27 PM, Nov 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-07 22:46:48-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — The Sanibel City Council met to address several critical issues affecting the island, including the potential discontinuation of traditional 4th of July fireworks in favor of alternative displays like light shows or drone performances. Concerns were raised regarding the $20,000 budget allocated for fireworks, with Vice Mayor Mike Miller proposing alternatives inspired by a drone show he experienced at a festival.

"A bulk of 500 drones with music accompaniment, all kinds of colors, and three-dimensional displays, it was great, but I expect the festival's budget is probably larger than $20,000 dollars," Miller stated.

The City Council is also considering amendments to building height restrictions on the island in response to new FEMA maps requiring higher elevation for the first living floor. The proposed changes would allow for an increase in the height limit for single-family homes, with a potential 7-foot increase, up to a total of 45 feet. Public input on this proposal has been encouraged, with concerns raised about the baseline elevation calculations.

A Sanibel resident voiced their concerns, stating, "I have not seen anything in relation to the baseline elevation in the calculus of your new height."

The Beach Renourishment Project, initially set to conclude by February 15th, is facing delays due to an unexpected $14 million increase in funding requirements. This extension will carry the project into shorebird nesting season. The City Council has pledged to collaborate with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) to minimize any potential adverse effects on local wildlife.

The next Sanibel City Council meeting is scheduled for November 20th at the Big Arts Center off Dunlop Road.