May 13, 2007

Panel Members in Attendance: Ron Gibson, Gordon Hullar, Dave Jensen, Rene Miville, Sandy Stilwell.

Audience: 15

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

2. Roll call and introductions:
Hullar announced Craig Schwan's resignation from the panel as he has relocated back to California. The minutes from the April 11, 2008, meeting were approved on a motion by Gibson (Jensen second), with a unanimous vote.

3. Payment authorization:
Stilwell offered an explanation about receiving bills for services rendered without knowing if that work had been authorized by a panel member. She asked committee chairs to let her know which committee it falls under when the work is authorized. Miville said that the Captiva Property Owners Association had a $500 threshold for expenditures under the treasurer's discretionary approval. Stilwell responded that she did not know that was the case. She said this question arose when some bills came in to her for work that she was not sure had been budgeted or approved by the panel. Miville said he had authorized some work by both an attorney and another vendor as the committee chair for underground utilities. Stilwell said the panel just needed a budget for each committee to know that the payment was OK.

Jensen suggested that the budget process be in place, but to give the treasurer the option of contacting the president for approval of unanticipated expenses. Hullar said the panel could work with expenses that have been budgeted for, but it needed a process to approve other expenditures. Miville suggested that anything that's budgeted is OK to pay, anything that's new should be discussed. He said utilities money had been donated by the community and the overage was allocated to an account, and he planned for funds to be drawn on that. Gibson said funds for committees should be budgeted when formed, anything else should be discussed here. Stilwell noted that attornies charge by the minute, so we need to be careful using them. She would work with Gooderham to review each committee budget and define what expenditures have been approved.

4. Safety shoulder:
Rodney Jacobs with Lee County Dept. of Transportation was in attendance to answer questions. He said crews were waiting for Embarq to switch systems, that the paving crew ready to start today. In 2-3 weeks they expected to have all the new wiring in and be transferring things over. Jeff Shuff asked how much restoration was planned on the beach side, would they leave the rocks? Jacobs said they will move rocks and the state was planning to plant grasses afterwards.

5. Hurricane response:
Doris Holzheimer noted that the annual Governors' Hurricane Conference was this week, a couple of island people were attending. She noted that a drill for Structural Safety Inspectors was planned, and people could contact Harry Silverglide for more information. She expected several people who had done it before, some newcomers doing it for the first time; a total of 14 people, a number of them from SSR. They are always looking for volunteers.

A hurricane preparedness program was planning on June 25 at the Captiva Library; always something new, and it's the most up to date update. She urged people to make sure they had a hurricane pass available from the City of Sanibel or from information at Someone asked whether they could get passes at library on May 20. Holzheimer promised to check on the date. She said homeowners who had not file done needed to get a letter in to Fire District authorizing people who could come on the island to check on your property. The old letter was still in force if the information is correct, send in a new letter if there are any changes. Miville asked is a driver's license was enough to get back on the island post-storm. Bob Brace said Captivans needed to have pass, not just a driver's license. Officials need the pass so they know someone is allowed to be there, particularly since you have to go through Sanibel to get here. Holzheimer said it would make it easier for the Lee County Sheriff's Office to monitor who's here and make the island safe.

6. Water quality:
Gooderham provided an update on the past month's efforts, which focused on ensuring that funding for a monitoring study survived both a funding workshop and final authorized from the county's Tourist Development Council. At the March 23 workshop, the funding made with a lot of questions from the TDC members attending, and the initial vote was to cut the request in half and fund approximately $65,000 in FY2008-09. As the members worked through the balance of the requests (which totaled $8 million vs. $6.1 million in funds available), a couple of projects agreed to withdraw for this cycle. When the TDC still needed to access reserves to cover the final project's costs, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah made an impassioned plea to restore full funding to the Captiva project through the use of reserves as well, and the members agreed. The approved slate of funding requests was then approved at the May 2 TDC meeting, and would now be sent to the county commission for approval during the budget hearings in September.

Gooderham noted the strong support from Commissioner Judah and from representatives of the city of Sanibel in particular, Mayor Mick Denham. He said both he and Erick Lindblad with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation spoke on behalf of the request at the April 23 workshop, and fielded numerous questions during the half-hour discussion. He said that it might be prudent to lobby the county commissioners prior to the September hearings, as the revenue situation was forcing cuts to be considered throughout county departments. While support for full TDC funding was reiterated at the May 2 meeting, it was a situation that still needed to be monitored. Gooderham also said he had been discussing options to raise funds in advance of the October fiscal year (when funds might be accessed) so that SCCF could get some baseline studies in either before the rainy season or before the expected start of the Blind Pass project in September.

Miville asked whether SCCF would expend funds in advance of TDC funds, if the island would pledge to raise a certain amount in the future. He also discussed comments that had come up at a meeting with Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra while they were meeting on another issue. He said Sanibel was interested in pursuing funding from Lee County to prepare a study looking at the needs to expand the city's sewer service to Captiva. He felt this was a worthwhile idea to investigate, so that information was being pursued at the same the water monitoring was underway, so that the island would be able to act more quickly if the data was pointing to the conclusion that there was a pollution problem and that sewers were needed to address it. Hullar said he thought the plan was to get the data first, then look at feasibility and cost studies. However, having information available when we look at options means it may make sense to work in tandem. Jensen said SCCF was already putting money out in anticipation of this project, and it needs community support to show that future support will be there. He urged the group to pursue funding now. Stilwell said they needed to be sure TDC funding would be there as well. Miville said he felt that smart commissioners will spend the money.

Miville offered a motion to recommend the panel start the process to look into the potential sewer cost by contacting Zimomra about a possible study (Jensen??? second). Hullar suggested they get a scope and estimate of what we're talking about doing. Miville said the panel should ask the county to do it, it's their job. Stilwell said they should make Sanibel part of the request. Miville revised his motion to be that the panel should request Sanibel and the Community Panel ask Lee County to begin exploration of funding an engineering expansion study should we need to connect to the Sanibel system, to run in tandem to the water quality study. Mike Kalinski offered comments about the state DEP flushing standards and Total Daily Maximum Load standards that would be forthcoming. Stilwell said this was a good idea; the water is in the best shape in years, but we need to know what's causing any problems. Hullar said the city and county were the right people we need to do it, but there was no point in starting it now. Miville said we need to ask now and get the money in next year's budget.

Jensen suggested the water quality committee work with Gooderham to come up with a game plan by the next panel meeting. Hullar said he was delighted that Sanibel made that offer. He would like to defer this to the water quality committee to come back at the next meeting with a timeline and proposal. Stilwell noted there was a vote taken by the panel in the past they sent the attitude to the city that Captiva did not want to do anything. Now we're starting over fresh and have them on board, we don't want to lose momentum. Miville noted that the prior city request was for a $65,000 study, and we could not get any traction in meeting with them. Now they know it's the right thing to do. What we need is the next step in deeds, not words. It doesn't cost us anything and it can help us; we can keep it simple and ask them to do the work. Let's make a decision in 30 days. The panel agreed to defer this to the committee to develop a plan and a motion by the June 10 meeting; the motion and second was withdrawn.

7. Fertilizer ordinance:
Gooderham explained that a revised ordinance was coming to the county commission that evening at a public hearing, and noted that a summary of the ordinance was prepared and made available at this panel meeting. He urged those who wished to comment on it to contact the commissioners today or attend the hearing to begin some time after 5:05 p.m. There was discussion on the ramifications of the ordinance and whether it was strong enough to matter. Gooderham noted that it was in line with actions taken by other counties and cities along the Southwest Florida coast, and would be a good first step that might send a message to the marketplace to begin eliminating the high-nutrient fertilizers. He said the key was public education as to the rationale and value of the ordinance, which might be the most effective way to get high-nutrient mixes off store shelves as well as to educate DIY fertilizer users how and when to apply. Kalinski noted that some landscaping firms were having problems with the recently approved Sanibel ordinance and wondered why someone had not decided to grind up red drift algae as an option.

8. Finance:
Stilwell offered an explanation of the financial statement she handed out. Miville noted that the panel needed a committee for fund-raising for FY 2009, and asked if it was time to do an event. Stilwel noted that the letter sent last year brought in as much money as the events that had been done in 2006. Miville said it could be a feel-good event timed to spotlight lots of good news and to show things were happening.

9. Utilities:
Miville discussed a recent meeting in the Lee County manager's office, where it was discussed that the County Lands process was flawed with too many potholes and too many unknowns. He had contacted attorney Shef Wright who accessed MSTU experts in his firm and was able to educate county lawyers about legal precedents concerning aesthetics and inclusion of adjacent area. County staff feared that someone from the proposed MSTU area would sue county because SSR would not pay its share. He had discussed with county staff that there were still two areas of strong support the Tween Waters stretch and first quarter-mile north of Blind Pass. He suggested it would be good to get consensus to see if these two areas would like to go underground, then form an MSTU in those areas only. This was a first step, he could report more in a month once the road project was finished. Hullar commented that the county appeared to have rethought MSTU process and who would be affected. Braces asked whether this was rethinking or just the way the MSTU process always operated. Miville said an MSTU allows more homes to be included to create a better project and more democratic process. Communities that have a strong response, let them carry the weight, makes a significant aesthetic difference to the island and one thing can lead to the other.

Stilwell said this sounded like a neighborhood decision, not one for the panel to be involved. Gibson said it was not something the panel needs to be involved in. We can organize the neighbors first, then the panel can share information but does not need to take the lead. Hullar said if these people want to do this, he was not sure what the role of the panel was. Brace asked why the county would have a dog in this fight. Hullar suggested that keeping the county out of it altogether could save a lot of money. Miville said the county needs to supervise LCEC, who has been reluctant. County may be willing to articulate the needs of certain sectors and help coordinate efforts. There is still al lot of county interaction that will be necessary. Jensen said they should have property owners sign a petition to show their support. That's how to get panel and community support. Hullar said that LCEC will ask not to be in the right of way, and if there any ROW issues the county will have to get involved.

11. Land Development Code:
Gooderham said he had heard from Mike Kelly that Matt Uhle, the land use attorney for the Captiva Civic Association, had reviewed the draft language and made some deletions that both he and theca Land Use chair, Bill Riley, felt needed to be restored, Riley and Uhle were discussing these changes, and hoped that a revised draft would be brought back to the panel in the next few months for public discussion in the fall.

The meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

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