Captiva Community Panel


Dec. 12, 2006


Attending: Dave Jensen (chair), Mike Mullins, Sandy Stilwell, Gordon Hullar, Rene Miville, Nathalie Pyle, Harry Silverglide, Mike Kelly and Ron Gibson


Audience: Approx. 15


The initial meeting concerning panel bylaws convened at 8 a.m. After initial panel comments, Steve Cutler took the floor with the following (courtesy Kelly Angstadt):


“I would just like to discuss a couple things from a philosophical point-of-view. I moved to the island in 1985 from Sanibel. This story may take a few minutes to tell but I think it sets the tone for the direction that I would like to see this panel look toward. When I came to the island in 1985, I remember it was Thanksgiving Day, and this woman stopped by that day, stopped by the house and asked me if I was in favor of a beach. I said sure I think the beach is great a great. The woman, Sheila Hoen, was very active in the community and moved away several years ago, but she said there was a meeting scheduled for people that were pro-beach that was the following week. It was either, if my memory serves me, at her house or at Lloyd Wright’s.


“So I attended the meeting and it was filled with pro-beach people. The motivation for having that meeting was that they’d just had an election and the erosion district was now populated with, quote/unquote, anti-beach people. So they were talking about how devastating a blow that was the fact that now the body responsible for putting the beach in was against the beach. They were making statements such as this is what this new group is going to do. I forget specifically what the statement was.


“I was just new to the community, I only moved here to Captiva at the end of October, so I raised my hand and asked, "Well, how do you know they’re going to do that?" And the person who was chairing the meeting -- I forget who it was, it might have been Lloyd -- he said well it’s because we know. So then he started to go along and talk about this and that, these other things this new board was going to get put in place. I raised my hand again and said ‘Well, why don’t you go talk to those people?” And the response was, ‘Well, you can¹t talk to these people,’ that was the response.


“Then I guess they were upset with my question so they appointed me as a committee of one to talk to the people you can¹t talk to. Within two days, three of the members came over to my house, Paul (Garvey) being one of them. It wasn’t a question that you couldn¹t talk to them. The problem turned out that no one was listening to each other.

“It wasn’t that the new board was against the beach, what the board was against at the point in time was being stonewalled, like it didn’t matter, and rolled over and not having their concerns and issues addressed. At that point-in-time things had gotten to a level of pettiness. One of the CEPD board commissioners -- who is no longer around, he moved off the island maybe 20 years ago -- but it got to the point that because he was in favor of the beach they wouldn’t serve him at Timmy’s Nook, I mean, that was how petty this thing had gotten.


“So, I got to speak with all five of the commissioners back then, I met with four of them, and started to attend meetings of the erosion district as a member of the audience. In those days the district was founded by the state Legislature. They had what was called an enabling legislation and that legislation was similar to what our bylaws would be. It was a set of rules that had to be followed and then if you followed the rules the result would be a beach. If you didn’t follow the rules, the result would be a conflict because you couldn’t do anything that was illegal, such as not following the rules, and expect a positive result.


“So one of the things that lead to the success of the beach, and they had been trying to put a beach back since, I think the district started in 1959 and here it was 1985. When they started to follow the enabling legislation, they found such things, according to the fact, the legislators recognized there was difference in characteristics of the island, from the perspective of erosion. They divided the island into what we call reaches. The reaches were supposed to have the similar erosion concerns that separated it from another area. So the area that was developed was split into like five different reaches of erosion and the goal was to address each area specific to its needs. In the process of doing that the erosion district was governed basically by the vote of the populous.


“Back in those days I think we had roughly about 300 to 350 registered voters and because of the excitement of the erosion some how it grew to about 500. What we decided to do was to not really be limited by what the popular vote of the district should do but, find out what the people on the island wanted. We had success. Through the process we were able to solicit the information from the community, we were able to bring together the consensus, and we were able to get a project in and now we follow the same procedures each time and we¹re able to continue protecting the island and the beach.


“When the group that sponsors this panel, the CPOA, was formed, I believe Hal Miller and I were people that started the CPOA, we started it in response to the fact that here we were seeing that the group in power at that time was not listening to the needs of the community. The whole purpose of the CPOA, it’s a property owners’ association and its purpose is to represent everyone on the entire island and to find out what they want and what there needs are.


“As one of the co-founders of the CPOA, I want to take the success, translate the success that we had with the erosion district and bring that over into the community in general.


“My hope with these bylaws is that I don’t think the people on the panel should view themselves as leaders of the community. Their purpose, in my opinion, is not to lead; their purpose here is to serve. In the process of serving they have to find out what the people in the community want. It’s okay to do some work and present some ideas. We’re blessed to have a community of very intelligent people, very proactive people, they love this community. A lot of the people by the very nature of their ability to afford to live here are Type A, they’re very busy, a lot of people have, it turns out that their home-away-from-home on Captiva has more value to them financially than their home back home. They do have vested interests here, they¹re all concerned.


“It’s very obvious, to me anyway, that if you look at the community, and you look at one end of the island, called the Gold Coast, and you look at the other end of the island, called South Seas, they have different needs and different interests. In the process of coming up with the best solution, I believe, it’s the responsibility of the panel to solicit those needs. I don¹t think that any particular solution they can come up with is going to work all over the island exactly the same way. If you can come up with a solution, I’ll just pick sewers for example, that can serve the island, but it may turn out that the way it serves it on the south end is different than the way it serves it on the north end and what I’m hoping is that in the formation in these bylaws is that they’re expanded to encompass the philosophy that this panel is here to serve the community, that this panel is dedicated to a process that regardless of whether it’s looking at sewers or bird preservation or electric or whatever the issue is at hand, that it grates the community into its logical areas and solicits the opinions of each area and doesn¹t try to impose on one end of the island what the needs are of people on the other end of the island.


“My feeling is that if you don¹t include that philosophy in your bylaws and use it as your basis for serving the community then all you’re going to do is wind up not being different than any other organization that is in power for the moment. People who are representing a group or a philosophy, they tend to think that their idea is the idea and another person¹s idea is not the idea. It just stirs back and forth, back and forth.


“I think this panel should have a goal of moving beyond that. That’s basically why I came here today is just to communicate my thoughts and communicate my descriptions of what has worked in the past and what hasn’t.”


The bylaws discussion is reflected in the draft version provided to the panel, and the review and revision is scheduled to resume at the Jan. 9, 2007, meeting. The panel took a break at 10:30 a.m., and reconvened at 10:45 a.m. with the same members attending.


On a motion by Kelly (Jensen second), the panel approved the minutes from the Nov. 14 meeting unanimously.


The next discussion concerned the goal-setting questions that had been included on a previous agenda for this meeting, but were not covered during the first session. Ken Gooderham explained that those had originally been carried over from a previous meeting, but that he had dropped them in ensuing agendas to focus on the bylaws exclusively in hopes of being able to get through them in the December and January meeting so they could be put out for public comment and approved during this season. Panel members asked that these questions be addressed at the end of this meeting if time permitted, or put on the agenda for the Jan. 9 meeting.


The next item was the Community Budget Issue Request submitted at the panel’s request to the Lee County Legislative Delegation by the Dec. 4 deadline for the Dec. 18 hearing. Gooderham explained the process and result, and the CBIR for a water quality study was provided as a handout to the panel and public. He understood that panel members wanted to broaden its language to include more than a sewer study, and hoped to get the necessary language in order to revise the request prior to the delegation hearing.


Silverglide said the study needed to be more comprehensive than sewers, to include nutrient runoff, fertilizers, what is an acceptable septic system, and a comprehensive look at water quality around the island. He hoped the panel could look at other grant options for water quality studies. Mullins said the panel needed to define the water quality committee. Hullar said it needed to communicate to the committee what we’re doing, not just about sewer. Silverglide asked whether the committee needed a chair, and that it should focus more on water quality rather than having a solution looking for a problem. Pyle made a motion to give Gooderham the latitude to expand on water quality language in the CBIR to be more comprehensive in time for the delegation hearing (Kelly second). Gibson noted that SCCF was installing water quality sensors in Pine Island Sound now, with at least two to be off Captiva. The vote on the motion was unanimous. It was determined that Gooderham would provide any revised language back to the panel. Mullins would attend the delegation hearing, and Silverglide would attend if possible.


Moving to the proposed underground utilities project, Miville said attorney Schef Wright was discussing a revised template for easements requests and was in discussions with the county’s MSTU office to confirm numbers for an assessment. Mullins asked if there was a budget for a lawyer, and what has the panel authorized to expend on his efforts. Miville explained that the $85,000 raised by John Madden for the utilities study had covered the attorney fees so far, but they will need more funding for his efforts. Silverglide asked for an accounting of funds raised by recent fund-raising efforts at the panel’s January meeting. Miville said they needed to define a scope of work for Wright, but had gotten a lot of bang for the bucks. He had the autonomy to spend money from the utilities fund to this point, but now the panel needed to decide how money was expended. Gibson asked whether the funds recently raised were solely for the CCP? Miville said those funds were in the CPOA account for the express purpose of the CCP. Kelly said the panel needed a budget. Mullins noted he had sent an e-mail requesting budgets, and had been told that budgets had been done in the past but not formally adopted. He hoped the panel could address a budget and fund-raising accounting in Jan meeting. Miville said he would work to give a financial update at each panel meeting.


On the safety shoulder item, Jensen noted that the committee was to meet right after this panel meeting. Gooderham provided an update on the committee’s action and questions to date, and what he had been able to provide them for background. Mullins noted that the city of Sanibel was holding a bike path referendum to deadline on Dec. 19. He also asked whether the committee could tell the panel when a report on its findings could be expected. There was some discussion of language and discussion provided by LDOT’s Harry Campbell on possible safety shoulder survey language, and there was additional discussion on establishing a timeline for committee action.


Doris Holzheimer noted that the Lee County Emergency Operations Center had received funds to sponsor hurricane training for islanders at no cost to them. This training would be held Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 13-15, on the incidence command system to understand how it works and how it fits with the first responders and command structure. So far, Jeff McDermot was going Wednesday, and Doris and Beth Oden were attending Thursday and Friday. There was a hurricane committee meeting Jan 8, ask Doris if you’d like to join.


There were applications for tree subsidies from Ventimiglia, Fisher, South Seas Island Resort, Hall and Rheinfrank. Miville made a motion to approve (Jensen second), vote was unanimous. Paul Garvey suggested the panel should promote the subsidy program to island property owners. Miville said that would create goodwill and awareness of the panel.


Gooderham provided members of the panel with sections of the state’s “Government in the Sunshine’ manual, to help clarify some questions that had been raised recently. He also noted that the mixed-use development amendment to the Lee Plan submitted by the panel last spring would go before the county commission in a transmittal hearing Dec. 13, as part of the consent agenda items.


Miville asked about thank-you notes for donors who had contributed to the panel during recent fund-raising events. Mullins said that 30 notes had been written, other contributors had been contacted personally. John Likakis was drafting language for the CPOA/CCP Web site, coordinating with Robin Bennett on lists. Gibson suggested that Gooderham could draft a letter on behalf of the CCP, have Jensen sign it. Silverglide suggested the panel look at hiring a part-time administrator for CCP actions. Mullins suggested that person could act as secretary as well.


In discussion, it was decided that the Jan. 9 CCP meeting would start at 8 a.m. again to continue on the bylaws, and that the goal-setting questions would be included as an agenda item. The panel confirmed its desire to work on Land Development Code draft language, and Kelly noted that the CCA had offered legal help on code issues if desired. The other questions would concern becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the panel’s existing structure and panel members’ vision for the panel. Jensen noted he would not be able to attend the Jan. 9 meeting, and the panel moved to approve Gibson as chair of that meeting.


The panel adjourned at noon.


-- Ken Gooderham