Captiva Community Panel


Feb. 12, 2008


Attending: Gordon Hullar, Rene Miville, Mike Kelly, Ron Gibson, Sandy Stilwell, Harry Silverglide, Nathalie Pyle, Dave Jensen, Craig Schwan.


Audience: ~70


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


Safety shoulder: Randy Cerchie with Lee County DOT introduced the contractors who will be handling the shoulder project: Ron and Todd with PMI will be doing the north and south portions, while Cougar Contracting will handle the Tween Waters segment. DOTís Rodney Jacobs will be the project manager.


Cerchie said stakes now installed along Captiva Drive are mostly four feet from the road leading to the Village, marking the new edge of pavement. Staking process explained, there are marks that indicated how far off the new edge of pavement some stakes may be, and Cerchie noted there were some offsets around Andy Rosse Lane. The staked area designates for owners what needs to come back from the right-of-way. Cerchie said two banyans were coming out of the Jensen corner, plus a few other small trees; they tried to work as much as possible to minimize vegetation impact.


The project was on target to start April 15. Contractors will work jointly; they are used to working in tandem. Process described: A mill machine will grind out a swath 4 feet wide and 4 inches deep on either side of the road (except in the Village and other areas where there is not enough right-of-way for that width. Asphalt will follow right behind the milling. Jacobs is available during work hours and will come to your house to answer questions if necessary. DOT will need to raise grates on a few drains.


Question: Will there be separated lanes? Cerchie said no, discussed the right-of-way amounts the county has to work with. Bob Lloyd asked if there would be signs to warn bikers about the S-curves, he was worried about fatalities out here. Cerchie said they would stripe and sign it, including ďNo ParkingĒ signs. Hullar suggested the county might suggest that people who rent bikes are aware to warn their renters. Mike Mullins noted there is a sign at Blind Pass already. Cerchie urged owners that for anything you value, remove it yourself. The crews will replace driveway aprons. They had to straighten road out in some areas; offered an explanation of stake marking and road markings.


Question: Was it staked in relationship to cost of removal/replacement, such as vegetation? Discussion about the Tween Waters stretch west of the road. Discussion of permits needed from DEP and county, Cerchie noted the county will have to mitigate for some exotics on the Gulf side, will replant as part of our permit.Mullins suggested contacting the County Extension Service for recommendations on relocating plants. Rodney Jacobs cell phone number was announced -- 707-0398.


Question: I am concerned about the speed limit, construction trucks speeding on the island. How can we change that? More signs, speed bumps? Cerchie: More enforcement. Hullar: This was raised during discussions leading to this. It often found that most often speeding is done by locals. Speed limit has already been reduced on parts of the island. Silverglide: What about power poles inside staking area, will they have to be moved? Cerchie: Trying not to move poles until we know whether the underground project will proceed. Silverglide: What about fire hydrants? Cerchie: IWA had relocated them. Embarq equipment will be moved before April 15. If there is no undergrounding project, we may revisit moving the poles at that time.


Schwan: What about existing crosswalk markings. Cerchie: Will go back the way they were. Miville: What about adding more markings for people who have deeded easements for beach access? Cerchie: Talk to DOTís Harry Campbell about that. Mullins: As to speeding, after the last project cars were going faster right after the work was done. Then vegetation had grown into the shoulder, neutralizing widening. Can we establish a baseline about revisiting speed limits again, and what is policy about keeping shoulder clean? Cerchie: Could commit to revisiting limits after everything is in place Ė 85th percentile study. Edge of pavement not a nice neat line, need room for equip to pass; vegetation will fill in at that space. Edges groomed on a regular basis. Will remove the railing on Blind Pass Bridge 20 feet from the end, will work at the Sanibel side as well. Silverglide: Will canopy be trimmed? Cerchie: Donít need much vertical clearance, no trimming really planned except in a couple of spots. One continuous overlay for shoulder. Tween Waters wants to reduce speeds in front of resort Ė planning a speed monitor like the one in front of Sanibel School.


Underground project MSBU: Elizabeth Walker and Robert Clemens were introduced by Miville. He noted that the panel has had 30 meetings on this project, opportunities for people to come and voice their concerns and we bring the people involved out here to discuss issues. He gave a brief history of project.


Walker: Discussion of petition language and process. Needs 51% support from property owners to go to the Board of County Commissioners to create the unit to do this project. Itís necessary to have the support of the community to go to the commissioners. Hard to get realistic cost estimates that arenít going to change in one month or six months. Bottom line cost is $9.4 million Ė construction in todayís dollars, current interest rates, current financial program with the county. Canít speculate about the future financially. Normal fees to do the project Ė County Lands easements, process docs, get releases, permit fees, cost to borrow money during the project (short-term paper) to do the project. Some closing costs included, capitalized interest etc. On use of the right-of-way, LCEC and the county have discussed options. Have a conceptual agreement that where possible will put the project in the ROW. If we have to move later, the property owners would have to pay for it in the future. Miville: That was one of the biggest roadblocks, looked at how other areas dealt with this. Small chance to take that we might have to move the lines in the future Ė same chance as bacon becoming kosher.


Walker: Weíre here to present the petition language. There are a lot of details to be worked out until we know if the property owners want to pursue this project. Here to see if the panel wants to move forward to see what the property owners want to support. Discussed methodology on how to charge property owners Ė full payment and partial payment, to be fair and equitable, based on just valuation. Have decided on full payment outside South Seas, 50% value for those inside South Seas. Project will underground electric and CATV lines to South Seas, includes secondary streets but not the lines to your structures from your property line.


Jensen: Is there a map we can access? It was noted that the PowerServices report on the Panel and county Web sites has a map. Kelly: Current means 2008? Walker: Yes. Kelly: How many properties would need to donate easements? Walker: Approx. 400 properties. County policy is not to acquire, would prefer a donation. Additional costs from any acquisitions go back to the property owners. Miville: Equipment boxes would sit on the edge of the property, LCEC access area in ROW. Walker: Schedule for the petition is up to the panel and the community. Will attend at least one informational meeting. Kelly: Cost to extend private lines per linear foot? (That figure was not available.) If the project fails due to easements cost, what happens? Walker: Never had one fail, not sure. Kelly: Is this proposal too uncertain about the future? Walker: Have to make this decisions based on todayís dollars, canít project the future. Itís the county commissionís decision whether to form the unit at a public hearing. Iím not spending your money without the board giving me that responsibility.


Jensen: Great idea, send things out and let people ask questions. Miville: South Seas benefits, whole island benefits so whole island pays. Schwan: What about reliability? Hullar: Put off question and ask LCEC directly. Letís talk about costs and process. The panel is here to represent all Captivans and follow their wishes, educate the community and let people decide. Save technical questions for an informational meeting. Miville: Is there other funding available, how will it impact costs and assessment? Walker: Any grants brought in will reduce costs to property owners. Stilwell: Are there photos of boxes being discussed? Gibson: Who will hook it up to my house, and what will it cost? Miville: LCEC has a set fee.


Lloyd: Reliability is essential for including South Seas. Will they be paying for something real? No proof of increased reliability in a storm situation, fewer outages but much longer ones. What gives you any feeling that reliability at South Seas will be improved because of this project and why should we pay anything? Walker: Very few studies about reliability, very mixed results, up to individuals to look at studies and see what their opinion is. Safety, aesthetics biggest driving forces. Hullar: Thatís a very important question for informational meeting. Lloyd: Invite Dr. Mark Jamison with the Public Utilities Research Center at the University of Florida, believes service will be less reliable here.


Question: I appreciate the detail of the petition. Boxes are easily camouflaged. Question: What will be the cost for South Seas owners? Hullar: Look on the back of the petition for a breakdown by assessed value. Bill Fenniman: What is the timeframe of the process, is there a deadline? Walker: No cutoff, we need to look at a reasonable time due to owner turnover and costs being outdated. Up to the panel to decide. Fenniman: Approval level was 66%, now itís 51%. How did that change? Walker: Commissioner Bob Janes has decided he can accept 51%. Fenniman: What is the justification for South Seas getting partial and not Sunset Captiva? Walker: This is not a science, looking at a benefit received by owners. Miville: Can that be addressed in apportionment before petition goes out? Hullar: A slippery slope that impossible to manage. Fenniman: Will we include individual cost to put lines underground to house? Hullar: Put that in other informational pieces.


Mullins: County isnít in the business of coming up with estimates, thatís the option for individual property owners. Other communities have done it at $1 million a mile. How much of $9.4 million is actual construction? Walker: $5.5 million. Question: If I sign a petition, I would like to know the cost of the entire project. Walker: Restoration included, Comcast included. Question: If thereís 1,097 petitions sent out, if theyíre not returned, itís not approval. Youíll need 560 petitions sent in. Walker: Yes. Bob Brace: Percentage of approval has dropped over time. What has transpired over this period? Walker: County code says 51%; Janes wanted sign of support from the community. When you meet the code, then itís up to the board.


Question: If itís for aesthetic purposes, everyone should pay for it. Sharon Brace: Will you hold a meeting before a decision to proceed, or after? Hullar: Need to discuss process. Mullins: Can petition be altered to include a percentage overrun trigger before youíd need to act? Walker: 10% increase in construction cost built into it. Can include a higher reserve number if you want it. Miville: Janes felt that the panel had been working on this in the community. The petition deserves the same consideration as in other communities. Bob Brace: Can you document the support that generated this interest? Miville: Web survey showed interest. Discussion of percentage and BoCC responsibility. Walker: Itís a practical decision of the board, their decision to make that day. Question: Can you prepare pros and cons about burying the lines? Walker: Understand whoís responsible for what Ė panel to generate petitions and information, county to take over once we hit 51% level. Pyle: When the panel makes decision, can we include a request to have a higher percentage of approval? Miville: Thereís a process in existence, if people oppose it they will have opportunity for their say. Thereís already a safeguard in there.


Doris Holzheimer: Can you recap steps in the process. Walker: Have a meeting before Easter. Then send out petitions, allow maybe six months to get the necessary petitions. Once they hit 51% level Ė the panel can make decision amongst themselves, but I need 51% -- then I will schedule a hearing to form the unit 4-6 weeks out. BoCC makes the final decision, not always on that date. Once unit is created then we start on the project. Mullins: Those who want it have to get the petitions signed and returned. Question: One parcel one vote? Walker: Yes, by STRAP number. Question: So South Seas could decide it either way. Question: Sewer project coming, could they be done together? Hullar: Sewer is later due to lack of capacity. Electric work will be on the side of the road, sewers in the middle of the street if that moves forward. Mary Ann Cowart: You need to spell out to South Seas owners that their lines wonít be buried. Walker: We can amend the petition to show the scope of the project, add 10% contingency for the entire project. Matt Hall: How will it be phased in to the individual buildings? Walker: Thatís better discussed at the informational meeting.


Question: What the cost to bury lines inside South Seas. Miville: South Seas could explore it along with this project. Question: This is a Venus and Mars issue Ė facts vs. transparency. There are camps by neighborhood; some of us are not privy to information, which erodes trust. County is being helpful about this, some know more and some know less. Forces questions to be answered. Schwan: Need a mechanism for people who cannot attend to participate at community meeting.


Mullins: Could panel separate South Seas from petition and assessment? Walker: Can meet with county attorneys to make adjustments, but I canít do it in a way that is not legal defensible. Thereís a public purpose for which they benefit. Beth Oden: Should not hold meetings here since the room not accessible for those with disabilities. Lloyd: Why did easement cost disappear in estimate? You need to include a contingency for easements? Walker: Condemnation numbers not typically included, should we include eminent domain as part of the cost? If we see that happening, we may need to stop and ask if we want to move forward. Clemens: Description of easement process. Always a few little hangnails, if we go to condemnation there will be costs. If everyone goes to condemnation it will be horrific. But itís an MSBU and is not supported, it wonít go through. Jensen: Who makes decision whether to continue the project? Miville: If I want to sue, I spend $30,000 in fees. If I lose, I get 75% of those fees back. Clemens: MSBU bears the whole expense. Walker: Have to go to the board with condemnation; itís the BoCCís decision.


Hullar: Motion for the panel to move forward with this petition, hold an informational meeting in March where petitions are distributed, communicate complete and balanced information to property owners on Captiva to include petitions. (Jensen second.) Schwan: We need ways to bring property owners who are not here into this meeting. Amend motion to include a telephonic conference call that can include owners who are not present. (Miville second.) Kelly: What if experts raise issues at meeting and itís inappropriate to send petitions until those questions are answered? Donít trigger petition before we have those answers at that informational meeting. Many questions remaining, uncomfortable with dollar amounts. Hullar: Defer petition until after that meeting. Miville: If youíre not happy, you donítí have to respond. Unfair to let it grind in the wheels of bureaucracy any longer. Donít let it linger longer. Stilwell: Wonít be sending petition until the meeting anyway, would prefer to wait and defer decision until after the meeting. Miville: Not fair to hold up people who have already made their decision. Itís not a drop dead date; you can get answers and then decide. Silverglide: How long do petitions last? Miville: No specific time. Walker: I would not accept a petition that is more than a year old. Question: Panel should decide. Mullins: You need to vote the amendment before you discuss the motion. Pyle: Call the amendment. Unanimous approval for amendment.


Lloyd: Was Kellyís comment an amendment? Kelly: Should not send out petition until after the meeting. Hullar: Intent is to hold meeting in March after which petitions will be distributed, with complete and balanced information to all owners. Kelly: Petition sending should not be automatic. Offer as another amendment to have meeting before we send out any petition, and have another vote to send petition after info mtg. (Pyle second.) Jensen: Think thatís wise. Miville: Itís unwise, it encourages lobbying. Hall: Would like to have LCEC here. Without more information, weíre not educated enough to make a decision. Miville: Have to take the first step by sending out the petition. Jensen: Would like to withdraw my second of the motion. Kelly: Motion to hold informational meeting in March, and decide on the petition at the panel meeting after that. (Pyle second.) Walker: If panel does not move forward, will come to another meeting. Petition often gets people to the meeting. Schwan: Amendment to include conferencing option for owners who cannot attend in person (Kelly second.) Discussion. Vote on amendment was unanimous approval. Hullar: Clarify motion, discussion. Stilwell: Petition will bring people out to the meeting. Put it on the Web site, blog, etc. Question: It needs to include a deadline. Discussion. Walker: Scope will be added, what about the South Seas discussion? Call the vote: 6-3 approved. (Miville, Silverglide, Stilwell opposed?)


Hullar: Meeting will be held the week of March 3, followed by a regular panel meeting March 11. Ask experts for a first and second choice in dates, check with LCEC Comcast, etc. Look at Tween Water and South Seas. Mullins: Tight doing it in March. What about changing petition language? Discussion about whether South Seas can be excluded. Holzheimer: Work on petition and timeline for discussion at the meeting. Miville: Contact me if you want to be part of this committee. Gooderham: Contact me if you have people you specifically want to have at this meeting, you may need to make the arrangements.


Due to the hour, the panel agreed to defer the other agenda items except water quality. Gooderham explained that he was working with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Lab on a funding request for a two-year comprehensive water quality monitoring program, to seek support from the countyís Tourist Development Council out of its beach improvement fund. The application is due Feb. 13, and the details were still being finalized this morning.


In addition:


SCCF Executive director Erick Lindblad explained that the study would evaluate and characterize water quality around the island. It was very important for the island and watershed to know the impact on water quality around the island of Captiva, and that a two-year timeframe was necessary to ensure results would be accurate. This would monitor storm water runoff, effluent from septic systems and package plants, river runoff, the impact of the Blind Pass opening. He appreciated the opportunity to work with the panel on this application. Since we may not know status of funding until September, heíd be looking at ways to get funds in advance to allow the study to start sooner.


There was discussion between Miville and Lloyd concerning the Golden Goose committee and its scope. Lloyd explained the committeeís purpose on government spending, and that its actions focused on local government only and did not reach to Tallahassee. Pyle left at 11:55 a.m.


Hullar: Defer balance to agenda to the March meeting. Panel offered thanks to Mullins for his service on panel. Meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m.


-- Ken Gooderham, administrator