GB considers increasing commercial building height

This email is circulating in the Gulf Breeze area (I’m withholding the sender’s name since it wasn’t sent directly to me):

The Gulf Breeze City Council is considering a revision to the Gulf Breeze Comprehensive Plan that would increase the maximum building height in the commercial district from 35 feet to 60 feet. If you think, as I do, that this would be detrimental to the small town character of Gulf Breeze, you can voice your opinion at the Comprehensive Plan Update Workshop at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, April 28, at City Hall.

The proposed Florida Hometown Democracy amendment to the Florida constitution will be on the ballot this fall and is widely expected to pass. It would require voter approval of development proposals that conflict with local growth management plans, which for Gulf Breeze is the Comprehensive Plan. The reason this amendment is being proposed is because local governments are entirely too willing to change those plans to accommodate developers and builders. This amendment will transfer that power to the voters.

The developers who want increased height limits and greater density in Gulf Breeze are pushing a revision of the Gulf Breeze Comprehensive Plan to increase the maximum building height from 35 feet to 60 feet throughout the commercial district. They know they must get the Comprehensive Plan revised and approved before the November election since, after that, voter approval would be required if the Florida Hometown Democracy amendment passes.

I don’t agree with increasing the height limit to 60 feet, but what I really don’t agree with is the way this is being handled. Although there have already been several meetings on this issue, almost everyone I have spoken with was unaware of these meetings or the significance of them. I asked the City Council to put the height limit question on the ballot and let the voters decide. My suggestion was soundly rejected. The City Council, under intense pressure from developers and builders, appears committed to changing the building height limit to 60 feet now, while they still have the power to do so.

The next meeting on this subject will be at City Hall on Wednesday, April 28, at 5:00 PM. Generally, these meetings are attended primarily by developers and others who have a vested interest in increased building height and density, but not by residents who want to preserve the small town environment of Gulf Breeze. It is essential that those of us who want the City Council to keep the height limit at 35 feet attend this meeting and express their opinion. Otherwise, the city council will assume that only developers have an interest in the future of the city. Please mark this on your calendar and make your voice heard.

I intend to follow the process of revising the city’s Comprehensive Plan very carefully and to keep interested residents informed via email. If you would like to receive these email updates, please let me know by emailing me at If you know of other residents who are interested in this issue, please feel free to forward this message to them.