Matlacha residents had a lot on their minds May 1 when they crammed into the Matlacha Community Center to discuss the proposed Overlay Plan and the bones of contention residents have about the plan.
Among the biggest complaints are lot coverage of a home, total replacement of structure, variances and setbacks.
The Board of Lee County Commis-sioners is set to vote on the measure next month. The workshop was set up to resolve issues and to determine the language of the ordinance.
The plan, designed to curtail the growing number of "McMansions" being built in the historic village, has some fearing the unintended consequences of the overlay plan will cause some property values to plummet and force the building of two-story homes to get any square footage on their tiny lots.
Among the main issues many residents agree with have been height and vertical plain limits of 32 feet and 21 feet, respectively.
One of the biggest contentions of the plan has been the 35 percent lot coverage limit for a new home, down from the existing 40 percent.
That means a home on a 50-by-70-foot lot, like the one 28-year resident Ron Schlegel has on his house, the maximum living area for a two-story home would shrink from 2,204 square feet to 1,889 square feet, including porch and garage space.
"At $100 per square foot, that's $31,500 less for the building," Schlegel said.
However, the plan's inflexibility with variances has people wondering what they can do if, for example, their home is damaged or destroyed by a hurricane.
"You should be able to get a building repaired as long as you meet code requirements," Schlegel said. "You should be able to replace a structure exactly as it was if destroyed.
"Variances should be applied for. They're a basic right," Schlegel said. "Look at the geometries of the 352 properties affected. A canned plan can't do that."
The variances would be most needed for the smaller lots with small side setbacks between the home and property line, where they can be as little as 5 feet as opposed to the Lee County standard of 7.5 feet.
The question Schlegel asked is whether the replaced structure can be built so it doesn't conflict with new codes.
Not everyone is against the ordinance. Fifty-year resident Jacqueline Reichart said it's time to stop nitpicking and come together again.
"I'm looking at all of you and seeing division. We should all be talking about preserving our community," Reichart said. "We worked hard to do the overlay. Let's approve it and put personal issues aside."
Seventeen-year Matlacha resident Patty Murphy, who owns two duplexes, objected. She said the overlay could cost her $150,000.
"I'll have a maximum 1,400 square feet to build on. I'll have to build two stories on my property," Murphy said. "This will cause property values to plummet. People with 25-year-old homes won't be able to build without building up."
Public hearings are scheduled for May 22 at 5 p.m. and on June 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the BOCC chambers.