January 8, 2007

Panel Members in Attendance: Ron Gibson, Gordon Hullar, Mike Kelly, Mike Mullins, Nathalie Pyle, Harry Silverglide, Sandy Stilwell

Audience: 25

1. The meeting convened at 9:05 a.m.

2. Goal Setting:
A draft of six goals was presented by Hullar for review and to be decided in February. Mike Boris suggested using the Panel Web site or blog to give feedback on the 2008 goals. Hullar said the panel was seeking public input on panel activities. Mullins asked is a monitored blog was a problem, and to check with the Webmaster. Boris said you should look for feedback, not interaction. Mullins was concerned about timing of responses if the blog is moderated. Hullar read the goals and mission statement, and said it all will be on the Web site.

3. Captiva Drive update:
Randy Cerchie with Lee County DOT asked the assembly when they wanted to start shoulders, would it be on April 15th as planned. He said DOT was still on target for that; two contractors were selected to handle the project and he will bring them to a Panel meeting first. On the golf carts rules, he said Harry Campbell was looking for a committee to review the document prepared, will solicit input from users and renters. Silverglide asked if draft language was ready. Cerchie said it was and he would disburse it to the community through Gooderham. He noted that the review committee does not have to be the panel. Hullar asked is Silverglide would take the lead on review, and Silverglide agreed. An audience member asked what is the issue was with carts? Silverglide noted that it was about extending legal usage down part of the Tween Waters stretch of Captiva Drive, to extend golf cart usage into night-time hours in Village, require signals/lights/windshields as appropriate, and to not allow anyone under age 16 to operate a cart at any time.

Mullin said since the roads could be done soon, could we extend usage further south? Silverglide asked to schedule time at the next panel meeting to discuss extending scope. He said it is possible to have your golf cart legally registered by the state, but you have to take it to Bradenton as that's the only place in the state that can put a Vehicle Identification Number on a cart if it's been upgraded. If any member of the public wanted to participate on this committee, they were asked to contact Silverglide at Hullar noted there had been a significant number of complaints about the condition of Captiva Drive for walking or riding. Could anything be done in the most difficult areas? He said he had spoken with Rusty Isler at Island Water Association, who said they're doing what they promised and did not know what else they can do. Cerchie said that south of the Jensen curve is the roughest area, but it's settling as it is supposed to do. He would look at having IWA fix that. Otherwise, that's what DOT asked IWA to do to fill in trenching from the main replacement. Cerchie said IWA was grouting the old lines in place rather than removing them altogether, which was necessitating some additional excavation. An audience member asked that, if the underground utilities project does go forward, how will this be coordinated with roadwork? Hullar said that while the project will require tearing up the roads, such projects are years away and may or may not happen. In the meantime, we're asking DOT to do what we said we'd do, do it now and as well as we can do it.

4. Sewers:
Gooderham offered an explanation of the Dec. 14 meeting with officials and staff from the city of Sanibel and Lee County to discuss options regarding water quality and possible sewer service to the island. (A separate handout was provided to the Panel for review see text at end of minutes for summary.) Major points were that Sanibel does not have existing capacity to handle Captiva's wastewater; that Denham would act as an advocate for working together if that was the course chosen; that monitoring was essential to define the problem and possible solutions; and that short-term options and funding needed to be explored.

Stilwell said it was clear that we need Sanibel, they don't need us. Other issue was that we won't know costs for such a system until we know capacity needs. It was essential to know costs and to make a public decision on future needs for the island. Mullins felt that Sanibel was noncommittal in general. He had hoped they would understand that we are all in this together pollution-wise. We don't know how septic systems perform if they were pre-1984, and there is no state policy for septic systems on barrier islands. Sanibel was not recommending a legislative approach, but encouraging voluntary compliance.

Gooderham then discussed a subsequent meeting held with Doug Meurer (director of Lee County Utilities) and Karen Bickford (the county's TDML coordinator) on Dec. 26 to explore some of the issues raised at the Dec. 14 meeting. (Summary at the end of these minutes was provided to the Panel.) He discussed the seven summary points listed as the next steps he and the county would undertake if the Panel concurred.

Hullar said we needed a data-based solution here. Don't put the cart before the horse, get the facts first and get data now. Mullins said these efforts were not presuming sewers, but we needed to have these calculations and facts to make informed decisions. Gooderham reiterated that the funding and studies discussed were focused on monitoring to determine if there is a problem and its scope, as well as to develop short-term solutions that could be implemented in a reasonable time while the larger decision about future direction was discussed and decided. Kelly noted that the panel had applied for a state grant to start study, which was vetoed by Gov. Crist. We need to look at alternatives for funding. Mullins said the island still needed to go to the county for funds.

Silverglide said Captiva needed to start a study first. Other islands have gone to off-island treatment; we need to consider it as well.

Jeff Shuff was asked whether Tween Waters would hook up its package plant to sewer service if it was made available, and responded that they would move to sewers depending on the cost. Stilwell said sewers will obviously be expensive, but we need to find out the numbers to make an intelligent decision. Silverglide said a scope of work was necessary to get a study done. Stilwell offered to assist with any committee working on the issue. Hal Miller noted that he thought something was planned to start water quality monitoring on the island; what happened? Hullar said Dave Jensen and others were working on it, but they did not have a plan yet.

Stilwell said the Panel needed to have a point person for the island, and suggested Gooderham to be the main contact with the county. Silverglide noted the issue was not just human waste; lead-based paint, pesticides and other chemicals could be a problem as well. Pyle asked when a monitoring plan will be done. Gibson explained discussions that had been held with SCCF and that the foundation was very interested in being part of any monitoring effort. He said they will have a meeting with SCCF and others to see what potential help our local lab can offer. Mullins noted that some of their monitoring does not monitor bacteria in the water, which is crucial to determine if septic systems are at fault.

5. Land Development Code:
Kelly gave a history of the process which had been undertaken to develop draft language for the county Land Development Code to implement already existing Captiva policies in the county comprehensive land use plan. He hoped to schedule a public meeting within the next month to review and develop code language based on the draft that had been developed by him and Gooderham. He stressed that this effort was important for Captiva planning, and that the Captiva policies were online at the Panel Web site.

6. Finances:
Stilwell gave an overview of the Panel's financial status, noting that some $24,000 had been raised from the mailing done last fall. Hullar noted that there was a good spread of donors and many new names therein. Gooderham noted that receipts would be sent to 2007 donors pending Panel approval of a letter for that purpose, which was OK'ed by general assent.

7. Utilities:
Gooderham said that Elizabeth Walker with the county MSTBU Office might be ready by the February Panel meeting to present the revised cost estimate and proposed MSTU petition language if the Panel was ready to review that (agreement that it was). A suggestion was made to find a larger venue for that meeting in light of an expected good turnout, and Gooderham said he could check with Tween Waters and South Seas on availability.

8. Nominating:
Mullins noted that there was no new activity since 2008 officers had selected, but that the panel was always interested in new people who wanted to serve. He asked that an ad to solicit public participation be run in the local paper in the next few weeks.

9. Hurricane Committee:
Doris Holzheimer said the Storm Ready designation for the island had been received once they had fulfilled National Weather Service requirements. A Community Celebration was planned Jan. 26-27 to celebrate a good thing, to provide information and encourage people to understand the organizations that work for mitigation and recovery, and to encourage people to participate with the committee. The event was set for Saturday noon-3 p.m. at the Community Center for a picnic with vendors. On Sunday, a NWS rep will give us our designation and there will be a SkyWarn training at Tween Waters Inn at 2 p.m. to teach us how to look at the weather.

Holzheimer said that Le County Commissioner Bob Janes will read a proclamation congratulating the island's designation on Jan. 22 at the county courthouse (islanders are invited), and will present it again on Jan. 26 at the Community Center. Sanibel School kids may write stories about what they think it means to them to be Storm Ready. Structural Safety Inspection (SSI) volunteers are always needed, contact Harry Silverglide. Holzheimer said to contact her at to participate in the committee. Islanders can also make checks out to the Panel and designate it to the Hurricane Committee. All this info is also on the Web site, Silverglide gave a brief explanation of the SSI training.

10. Blind Pass:
Gooderham offered a brief update based on information from Robert Neal of Lee County. The main point was that the state had deemed that the permit application was substantially complete, meaning that no further Requests for Additional Information (RAIs) were expected. This would mean that once the final pieces were received by the state, the 90-day clock would start ticking. In addition, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service also needed to issue a Biological Opinion, which was dependent on a mitigation plan that was due to be delivered Jan. 7. (That opinion was needed to have the application deemed complete.) Neal's estimate was that a permit would not be received any later than July 2008. By working concurrently with the federal review, project bidding could be in the second quarter and construction in the third quarter of 2008.

Noting the dwindling audience, Gibson said the panel needed to finish meeting in an hour to keep its audience. He noted that the Yacht Club was hosting a public forum by Phil Martz about medical concerns of the boater Jan. 9 at 11 a.m.; it was open to the public. Mullins reminded the audience that effective Jan. 15, the county was going to Phase 3 watering restrictions, watering one day a week. It's address-driven so check out the IWA Web site for restrictions.

Kelly said that holding meetings at the Yacht Club was intolerable, and asked why the panel could not change its meetings to Wednesday to be able to hold meetings at the Community Center. Mullins said that last fall he had made a proposal to do that, but it was cut off quickly and the panel voted to hold meetings on Tuesdays in 2008. He had objected at the time due to no debate on the issue, to no avail. Since the panel had to publish its schedule by the end of the year, it needed to decide. He hoped the panel could find a space and keep the Tuesday date. Hal Miller asked what the issue at the Community Center was. Hullar said he was told it was due to parking and conflicts with other events held there. The Captiva Civic Association has said Tuesdays are not possible, but Wednesdays are OK.

Pyle said the Yacht Club was not a good space between limited size and background noise. Kelly said the panel could amend its bylaws easily. The issue is does the panel want to sit in a crappy space? Silverglide said he had a problem changing the day due to other commitments for the next few months at least, and suggested they look at other venues to stay on Tuesday. Mullins asked if the panel could use the dining room area if we had volunteers to help reset it. Gibson said that could affect presets for Tuesday evening events. He noted that the Yacht Club was originally offered as an alternate site when he volunteered the space, and agreed that a larger space would be nice.

Hullar said the Yacht Club was not a good space for this meeting, but it was not crappy. He also wanted to look at other choices. Mullins offered whether the panel wanted to look at the new Sanibel Rec Center, which was not acceptable to anyone. He also suggested Hullar write a letter to the CCA board to make the case that parking is not a real issue, and prevail on them to revisit a bad judgment. Hullar said he will work with Gooderham to write such a letter. Consensus was the concern was date, not venue, and a number of people suggested finding out when the meeting could be switched later in the year.

11. Adjournment:
The meeting adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

Hullar, Kelly and Gooderham stayed on to review the current draft of Land Development Code language to define what work remained to be done before the next meeting or public workshop, completing the discussion around 12:30 p.m.

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