Estero Village Council voted to move an ordinance that will add standards for development of elevated single-family homes to a second reading on March 1.
During the Hurricane Ian recovery process, some Estero residents requested permits to put their homes residing in the floodway on stilts, Village Manager Steve Sarkozy said.
In November, the village adopted updated floodplain regulations, requiring home elevations in certain areas. The new regulations call for additional fill needed or raising homes on stilts to meet flood elevation requirements.
“We don’t have any provisions in our code to address how the home and the underlying portion below the home is finished,” Sarkozy said.
The proposed ordinance adds standards for elevated homes to be more consistent with the neighborhood, including an enclosure to connect the home to the ground, with landscaping, doors or windows to break up the blank wall appearance.
“We’re trying to be proactive about this,” Community Development Director Mary Gibbs said. “We were a little concerned that if we start seeing these sprout up without some type of enclosure and just kind of a plain box, that you really need to have some minimal standard.”
No specifications on style are recommended for the enclosure, allowing the owners flexibility for design. However, it’s the homeowner’s choice to elevate their home.
If a homeowner opts for elevation, either due to protect against flooding or rebuilding from the storm, the enclosure structure would only be needed on the side of the home facing roads.
Council member Jim Boesch suggested staff include photo examples of enclosures for the ordinance at the second reading and to the planning board.
“We need, visually, to see what we’re talking about,” Mayor Katy Errington said. “It can be very detrimental to some people. We don’t want anything that’s going to cause a lot of controversy in the community.”
For homeowners who decide to raise their homes using fill over stilts, there is an existing requirement that a drainage plan needs to be provided with a building permit when elevating 18 inches or more next to a single-family, low-lying home.
Single-family homes in the ordinance also include modular homes permitted in single-family neighborhoods.
The proposed ordinance will return to Council for a second reading in March, and will be presented to the planning, zoning and design board on Tuesday.