CAPTIVA COMMUNITY PANEL
March 13, 2007
Panel Members in Attendance: Dave Jensen, Mike Mullins, Rene Miville, Mike Kelly, Nathalie Pyle, Gordon Hullar, Sandy Stillwell, Harry Silverglide
1. The meeting convened at 9:00 a.m. at the Captiva Island Yacht Club
2. Motion by Mullins (Kelly seconded) to approve the minutes from the Feb. 13, 2007 meeting. Approval was unanimous.
3. Bylaws: Mullins introduced the bylaws discussion by noting that the panel would not be asked to pass bylaws today, only to bring up issues outstanding. A Bylaws Committee meeting on March 16, 10 a.m.-noon, would allow for a line by line review of the current draft. Mullins said the major issue is structure. He and his committee had worked to draft bylaws to get something in place. The proposal was to make it easier to change those bylaws over the first two years, and then amend the bylaws to raise approval percentage to a two-thirds supermajority. Mullins hoped to put these bylaws in place in April, and was looking for feedback from community.
Mullins continued with a discussion of panel setup. The initial breakout of seat allotment was a 5/2/2 CPOA/CCA/CCP setup. Mullins explained how that has evolved, and the addition of another seat in 2006. He noted that former chair Hal Miller stepped down in November, but his seat remains open. Mullins asked the panel for guidance as to how to proceed with this allocation and structure.
Miville encouraged involvement based on a spirit of support of the panel; seats were not a right but a measure of support. He dubbed this a "Pay to play" rule, tying financial support for the panel to allocation of seats on it. Thus, Miville said, if you want to get more involved, you just need to get more involved.
Kelly said everyone says the community should elect panel members, but it has no basis to elect people to do anything, which makes it an appointive situation regardless. Nominating committees, etc., not available in this case. You can argue about who appoints, of course. Kelly said to make open as to who is involved is the right way to do it. Lee County appointed panel to be the body they go to on land use issues, Kelly continued. Its operations are pretty close to what is needed, and he hoped the panel could continue like we're doing now. Current panel is very representative, with commercial and residential interests, good geographic representation, and a broad-scale setup. The panel has done an OK job; how we got there is an issue, but we got there, Kelly said. Panel is fairly representative of the island.
Hullar noted that he was appointed by CCA and had been a board member for 5 years. He felt that CCA is critical and important for the future of this island, and found it very painful that they haven't done this for the past 5.5 years. The CPOA, which created the panel, also very important and critical as it represents a different perspective on this island. He suggested a 10-member panel, with 3 appointed by the CCA, 3 appointed by the CPOA, 4 appointed by the panel itself. He felt that would create a balance that will do a good job representing the island; it would require negotiation to appoint the other four people.
Mullins continued with an explanation of structure and the need for consensus Ð which he said had been abused on the island in its use. The committee has tried to think about consensus, tried to include consensus and forward dissenting points of view in panel deliberations and recommendations. He related a story of the early Supreme Courts and how they arrived at consensus opinions by living in close proximity while in session. Mullins said the goal for the panel is to try and achieve a consensus.
Pyle said she supported the 3/3/4 structure, but noted that it was troubling to see the missing financial contribution on the part of the CCA. She said to note language on public and financial support, which would be an important element of partnership. Would like to see three members from each organization if both groups are willing to support the panel as it has been described.
Miville offered thanks to the bylaws committee, which had spent a lot of time on that and did it because they cared. Ron Kramer noted there was mention of a nominating committee in the draft, that the committee (he is a member) felt was important. Doris Holzheimer (another committee member) noted that arriving at the draft has been a torturous process. She said it also was a rich discussion about what will help make this island work, how to raise issues in a responsible way to the county and the responsible agencies. She urged people to take the time to read the bylaws and come to the meeting on March 16.
Mullins provided a brief overview of how the committee worked and the draft evolved. Hullar said the process may be torturous, but not boring. Hal Miller said the amount of work the committee had done was obvious, congratulations to those involved. This draft expresses what happens when people with divergent views come together, four independent people who worked together. This shows what we can do as a community. Miller urged the panel not to change the panel makeup and the way people are appointed until the end of the two-year window to revise bylaws.
Dave Doherty said 10 members and the 3/3/4 structure was a good idea, but he had no idea that the panel was not being supported by all organizations on the island. Mullins noted that years there was a vote that the CCA would equally support community planning and incorporation. The group did financially support incorporation, but not the panel -- even though certain members tried for four years, they never got a contribution from CCA. Pyle said there wasn't enough time to discuss other sections in detail at this time. She urged the panel to move on for now and encourage people to attend March 16, and provide feedback to panel and Ken Gooderham on their comments and concerns.
Mullins asked to speak to a budget item regarding the hurricane committee as he might have to leave by the time that was discussed. He provided an overview of the committee's establishment and work, and noted that it had taken no support to this point. He was requesting $3,000 from the panel in the 2007 budget for possible expenses.
4. Blind Pass: Captiva Erosion Prevention District administrator Alison Hagerup provided a beach renourishment update. A blind Pass updated was planned for the April 10 panel meeting, but will be confirmed. She noted that one of the beach permit requirements was that the CEPD had to till the beach before turtle nesting season. Some residents were surprised when they saw bulldozers on the beach, but the project was done in four days. Some were for it, some against it--we have no choice as it's required by the permit. Pyle asked whether there was plover habitat on Captiva. Hagerup said the island's beaches were not within critical habitat designation here. She said the CEPD has developed quite a database on compaction data for turtles to help change state rules, takes a long time. To a question about Blind Pass, Hagerup said that Lee County says work would occur no earlier than summer, but that it could happen this year. Discussion ensured on mitigation, sediment issues and sand quality. Hagerup noted that the CEPD's role was as partners with county but not the project managers.
When asked about red drift algae harvesting, Hagerup said that money was available for cleanup. CEPD watches the rules and works with the county on such issues, call her for information. Discussion followed on other beach issues.
Stilwell arrived at 9:55 am. Mullins departed 10:00 a.m. Silverglide arrived at 10:10 a.m.
5. CPOA and the Panel: Miller, as CPOA president, read the following:
"The Captiva Property Owners Association Inc. (CPOA) is dedicated to preserving and enhancing Captiva Island through cooperative efforts with Lee County and the state of Florida. The organization was formed:
*"To help empower the citizens of Captiva so we may make informed decisions about the future of our community.
*"To foster frank and open discussion on issues affecting our island.
*"To offer all Captivans an opportunity to debate the future of our island.
*"To pursue community planning to address current concerns regarding land use and zoning on the island.
*"To develop an interactive working relationship with Lee County officials and staff, and monitor county activities affecting Captiva.
*"To regularly seek input and develop consensus from island stakeholders on major issues affecting the island.
"The CPOA has focused its activities on funding and supporting the Captiva Community Panel as the most effective forum to disseminate information and build consensus on issues affecting all Captivans."
Miller continued that the CPOA has filed an application to become a 501c3 tax-exempt organization with the IRS, postmarked Feb. 28. They will follow up with that in the next few weeks to figure out when an IRS determination can be expected.
Miller said the CPOA is committed to the mission and operations of the Community Panel, and wants to work with the members and the community to build its effectiveness and credibility. They will work to regularly update the panel on our efforts on its behalf, and will look to get the panel more involved in the CPOA. The CPOA is looking at ways to increase involvement by the panel and the community in its operations. The group is planning a membership drive this year to help build support and funding for the organization and the Community Panel, and will look at ways to bring some new people on the CPOA board to increase that involvement.
Mullins returned 10:30 a.m.
6. South Seas Resort: JByron Blount and Craig Schwann with Luxury Resorts provided a presentation on current conditions and changes at South Seas Island Resort. Questions followed, including discussion of access to resort facilities, non-resort resident memberships and the trolley serving the Village. (The computer for minute-taking was in use for the presentation, so minutes were not taken extensively during this time.)
7. Underground utilities: Gooderham provided an overview of the project status to date:
"Discussions with the county MSTU office continue over the amount of financing and easement costs to be included in the MSTU petition. Since this figure has to represent a "not to exceed" amount, there is a tendency to be conservative in preparing these figures. However, attorney Schef Wright felt the figures provided for both easements (about $6 million) and financing (about $5.5 million) were much higher than was warranted based on what he had seen in projects undertaken by other communities.
"Wright has had discussion with the County on both issues and is working to reaching an agreeable compromise. Last week, the county DOT indicated to Wright that there is a consensus that the underground electric facilities can go in the road rights-of-way where easements are not available, and this should have the practical effect of pushing the easement costs to the low end of the spectrum. There is value to the county and to Captiva of having the facilities in easements where possible, e.g., in public utility easements, of which there are at least some along Captiva Drive. Finally, all parties need to recognize that Captiva obtained all necessary easements for beach renourishment projects at no cost. That's a positive track record to work from.
"The county has agreed that the MSTU can be limited to property owners not within South Seas Resort if desired, and that the MSTU can stay in force to provide LCEC with the protection it has requested to construct the project in the county right-of-way. This will greatly reduce the easements needed to construct, mostly to those areas where the various pieces of equipment (transformers, switch gears and other enclosures) cannot be contained completely within the right of way.
"LCEC is working with Island Water to coordinate their designs, so that interruptions will be minimal should the utilities project go forward. This probably means IWA work will be closer to the roadway and LCEC will be closer to the edge of the right of way, since the power lines need to run close to directly under the transformers, etc. (which is also why the easements requested will be on the right of way).
"Wright will be working with the LCEC attorneys and the county attorney to come up with a final agreement on handling the right of way issues, and also working with the county MST/BU office toward "firming up" the total costs to be included in the amounts represented in the petition, so that will be in place before any petitions go out.
"Wright and the panel are also looking into bringing in a project manager to oversee the project under the MSTU financing. DOT was going to provide project management originally, but it may make more sense (and be more cost effective to all parties, including the county) to have someone direct experience with undergrounding conversion projects on the ground to facilitate design and management. Wright recommends the engineering consulting firm, PowerServices Inc. of North Carolina, for this engagement. Wright has been working with several principals in this firm in connection with his work for the municipal underground utilities consortium, a group of approximately 60 Florida municipalities, mostly served by FPL, that are considering underground conversion projects. The principals of this firm include a former city manager and city utility system director, and also an engineer who was engineer of record for the conversion of 88 miles of overhead electric distribution facilities to underground facilities on four barrier islands in Southeastern North Carolina.
"A final design will be done if the MSTU is approved, but the costs detailed in the binding estimate (approx. $3.8 million for LCEC and $800,000 for Comcast) have already been reaffirmed. LCEC has been updating this estimate every six months based on fuel and metals costs.
"Once agreement on the MSTU figures has been reached, the county is prepared to move forward with a petition which will detail the anticipated costs of the project (in a "not to exceed" approach) and what that will translate to in terms of an assessment based on the property taxes you pay (much like the beach projects are funded). These petitions will be sent to property owners for their approval, asking that they be signed and sent back to the county for compilation. The Community Panel will hold public meetings and provide information on the project in conjunction with this petition drive, and the goal of petition approval will be ascertained before this begins as well.
"(An initial goal of 60+% was discussed 2-3 years ago, but it would not be surprising to see the MSTU office take this back before the BoCC to affirm since there have been changes on the board.) When sufficient petitions are returned to reach this approval goal (and the panel expects that follow-up efforts will be necessary to deal with questions and remind people to send their petitions back), the MSTU petition will be taken to the county commission to actually form the unit. This allows the county to borrow the money necessary for construction, which will then proceed over two summers after LCEC mobilizes. Only when construction is complete will property owners be assessed for the actual cost of the project. Owners will also need to pay for putting the utilities running from the road to the homes and buildings underground if they so desire."
Kelly suggested the panel include a question to ascertain support for the underground utilities project with the proposed safety shoulder survey. Gooderham asked what cost basis would make the most sense, and the consensus of the panel was that an assessment based $1 million in taxable value would be clear enough. The consensus was to make the survey a separate postcard from the safety shoulder question, and to consider eliminating properties inside South Seas Island Resort, but that Gooderham should re-address both issues at the next meeting. Kelly made a motion to approve a dual survey in conjunction with the proposed safety shoulder survey. Hullar seconded that motion, nothing that they should be discrete and separate points and questions. Mullins said that to date private money raised from interested islander had funded the efforts, but if panel funds would be committed it made sense to ask the community to see if it wanted this project to move forward. He stressed this was not a vote on the assessment, just to assess the pulse of the community. Motion was approved unanimously. Miville noted that a private study on the cost-effectiveness of undergrounding electric distribution facilities in Florida would be provided to library. He commented on a letter Wright had received from Elizabeth Walker, the county's MSTBU coordinator, and that in discussions he had had prior to the CCP meeting Randy Cerchie with Lee DOT was interested in finding a way to bring Willoughby on to the project.
8. Budget: Gooderham made an initial presentation of the draft figures, asking for guidance from the panel as to what they wanted to see in a final format. Silverglide said the panel should see what it needs to operate and how to keep the budget balanced. Miville noted the group had seen a return on initial investment in LCEC estimate expense, and that he felt they needed administrative help for the committees. Pyle asked what there was to discuss Ð administration and the committees. Mullins said Kelsey Angstadt has been supporting the bylaws committee and would help on the membership drive. He noted that for some times all CPOA funds have gone into the panel budget, evolving the CPOA and the CCP into a more unified unit. Stilwell wanted to see what we've committed to vs. what we want to do and will need to raise money in support for. Stilwell made a motion to pay Angstadt an amount not to exceed $3,000 (Mullins second), and requested she bill her time by the hour. Miller asked whether the panel aware that Angstadt was doing this work? It's a precedent he wanted them to consider. Miville said the CPOA gave him authority as treasurer to pay her. Silverglide said the panel did need an approval process delineating what's been spent, what's been committed to and what's optional. Pyle said she did want approval rights and an independent contract for prior review, including a scope of work and terms. Approval was unanimous. Hullar made a motion (??? second) to include the utilities figures somewhere in the budget planning to show that we are fully committed, but to footnote if to indicate that those expenditures will be based on future actions. Motion was approved unanimously.
9. Hurricane Preparations: Doris Holzheimer noted there were two upcoming meetings:
*March 29, 9-11 a.m., training for Structural Safety Inspector volunteers. Those interested can contact Harry Silverglide. Also a Sanibel hurricane prep meeting that same day.
*April 11, 2-4 p.m. at the Captiva Community Center. Program as before, updated information and speaker. Details on the mycaptiva.info Web site.
She noted the group would be doing training on Captiva March 29. They have handed out a letter about getting a hurricane pass from Sanibel; will have those at meeting on March 29. Information on the city of Sanibel Web site, need proof of residency to get one. Property owners need to authorize someone to check your property post-storm; contact the Captive Fire District or LCSO Lt. Joe Poppolardo. She concluded that the budget request made to the panel previously was for expenses incurred in doing the work.
10. Safety Shoulder: Jensen mentioned the public informational meeting held on Feb. 27, another would be set once DOT had been able to come up with some options for the Jensen curve. Expected later in March of April.
11. Tree Subsidy: A report on the current draw against the Division of Forestry grant was provided, and the two pending requests (Mullins and Hullar) requiring panel approval were discussed. Stilwell made a motion to approve both (Kelly second), the approval was unanimous.
Jensen mentioned the Chico's Red Cross fund-raiser March 24. Mullins reminded the panel that they needed to be ready to discuss the bylaws and budget at the next meeting, and requested that hurricane prep be an earlier agenda item than usual.
The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.