Proposal to bring new development to Sanibel

Published: February 15, 2022 10:02 PM EST
Updated: February 15, 2022 11:28 PM EST

A proposal to add new development is coming to the Sanibel Causeway. Lee County Commissioners plan to build pavilions, picnic areas, restrooms and add some free designated parking.

Yet, some island goers aren’t too thrilled about the project. They are worried about the spacing on the island. Meaning, space for them to launch and set up their windsurfing equipment, especially since they’ve been doing it the same way for decades.

Feeling the rush of the wind as they rip through the water is what windsurfers like Jay Landry live for. That’s why they spend their time on the islands along the Sanibel Causeway.

“No matter which way the wind blows, you can come here and know you’ll be able to sail,” Landry said.

Larry Miller enjoys windsurfing too. “Part of the reason we bought a house on Sanibel is because that’s where I like to windsurf,” said Miller.

These windsurfers appreciate the amount of space they have on the beach. They can park anywhere, set up their equipment, and then hit the water.

“You’d like to have your vehicle close to where you’re rigging because you got a lot of different parts coming in and out of your vehicle. And so we like to have a grassy area where we rig, so the sails don’t get all sandy,” Miller said.

A new concept design shows that the designated parking area is close to the shore, limiting these windsurfers’ precious space. “I don’t like the idea of coming down here not being able to park because it’s limited,” said Landry.

Bill Schroeder enjoys windsurfing as well. “The way it was proposed, it would be like any other island where it would be almost impossible for us to set up our rigs and go sailing,” he said.

During a meeting on Tuesday, Lee County Commissioners discussed the plan and approved the improvements to the island. However, the look of those improvements is still up in the air as it’s too early to say for sure.

Kevin Ruane is a Lee County Commissioner. “We’re in the really early stages of this. So we hear you. Passing what we’re going to today is a preliminary process. It’s not final,” Ruane said.

The project could cost around $8.5 million, and it will all be funded by FDOT.

Lee County is working to develop designs to meet the needs for non-motorized sports. To participate in the survey with your thoughts on the preliminary plans, follow this link.