South Seas Confirms Community’s Worst Fears

On Dec. 14, South Seas announced that it is seeking to amend its current zoning to radically increase its allowable building heights and density. With its planned rezoning application now filed with the county, South Seas has confirmed the Captiva and Sanibel communities’ worst fears – fears that the Board of County Commissioners would never acknowledge.

Currently, South Seas is permitted 3 units per acre for a total of 247 units – consisting of a combination of hotel rooms and condominium units.

Its rezoning application seeks 272 multi-bedroom condominiums and up to 435 hotel rooms. This application reflects an increase from 247 units to 707 units – a radical increase in density.

  • The plans show new beachfront condos and a new hotel at the south end of the resort, as well as new bayfront condos and a new hotel at the north end of the resort.
  • The plans also reflect a radical increase in intensity of use. The current 247 units consisted of 140 units of employee housing at the south end and 107 hotel rooms at the north end.
  • The proposed development will replace the low-density employee housing and hotel rooms with 272 multi-bedroom condominiums – increasing the population of the island significantly. Then – there are the additional 435 hotel rooms of unknown size.

In order to increase the density to this extent, South Seas is proposing all of its buildings have three floors of guest rooms above lobbies and parking areas with building heights up to 64 feet in flood zone areas – significantly taller than any other buildings on South Seas or Captiva.

It is obvious that these plans were not developed overnight. However, they were not shared with the community before or during the public hearings on the Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan amendments that opened the door to this increased development.

The Board of County Commissioners, the County Attorney’s office, and anyone else who claimed that the Code and Plan changes were not about increasing density on South Seas was dead wrong. The warnings issued by the “Protect Captiva” coalition were correct from day one.