CAPTIVA COMMUNITY PANEL
June 10, 2008
Panel Members in Attendance: Ron Gibson, Dave Jensen, Rene Miville, Nathalie Pyle, Harry Silverglide, Sandy Stilwell (vice-chair).
1. The meeting convened at 9:05 a.m.
2. Roll call and introductions:
Meeting convened 9:05 a.m. Motion to approve the May 13 minutes by Jensen (Gibson second), unanimous approval.
3. South Seas Island Resort update:
Byron Blount with Luxury Resorts offered a PowerPoint presentation on current and planned enhancements at the resort, which included amenities on both the north and south ends of the property, new restaurants, a mixed-use project at the marina, additional dwelling units at the north end, a boutique hotel at the south end and reconfigured and relocated employee housing. (The presentation is available as a PDF if desired.) Blount stressed that the proposed projects would conform to all current land use and zoning regulations, as well as the 912-unit limit. He also introduced Rich Hayduk as the new regional manager for the LXR holdings on the islands.
Some of the questions raised by the audience (members did not provide identification, so not all questioners are known):
What is the status of permitting for these projects? Blount explained where the various effort stood, many of which were still under preliminary review by the county.
How will the square footage of the new units compare to the existing employee housing units? Blount noted that the new units will obviously be larger to accommodate resort guests, extra amenities and additional usage.
Miville asked why an "Old Florida" look was not considered for the proposed projects. Blount commented that the staff was not comfortable with that look.
Silverglide asked where the mixed-use projects would be located at the marina. Blount said it would be on the southern end near to the existing cruise office. He also noted that the north-end projects would have no overall impact on the golf course, since holes would be reconfigured as part of the redevelopment.
Sharon Michie asked if any of the new retail space would be open to island businesses. Blount noted that there would be options for that, bu that they had a specific business mix in mind for some of the projects.
Silverglide asked about the timeline for the proposed projects. Blount noted that some of the projects might be done in the next year, while the hotel and relocated employee housing would hopefully be completed within three years.
Sharon Brace asked how many of the proposed units would be for sale vs. being owned by the resort. Blount noted the hotel units and employee housing would be resort-owned while the other 40 units would be sold to individual buyers. No timeshare units were being proposed.
Bob Brace asked how the loss of employee housing will affect traffic on the islands. Blount noted that many of the off-island employees already utilize the existing shuttle and bus service provided by the resort, which would continue to accommodate any additional need. He said their studies had shown a decrease in overall traffic expected once the "residential" trips of on-site employees were eliminated or reduced.
Ann Bradley asked about off-island housing being planned in a centralized location, which might make recruitment and transportation of employees easier.
A question was raised about how the new employee housing/reception plan would affect the entrance to the Bayside Villas area. After a brief explanation of what was proposed, Blount observed that the proposed plan might actually be both more attractive and more accessible than the current road way.
There were diverse comments about the employee housing plans, current issues with employees and concerns about possible problems with these changes.
4. Hurricane committee:
Ann Bradley reminded the audience about the June 25 event at the Captiva Library, which will include the response team, TV presentations, meteorologists and local information to be helpful to islanders. Hurricane passes from Sanibel would be available as well.
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 www.mycaptiva.info. 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 discussed the current status of water quality projects, including a meeting he and Jensen had with Judie Zimomra and Gates Castle with the City of Sanibel on May 28 to discuss Captiva's interest in possible participation in wastewater studies the city would be seeking proposal for later this year. Gooderham asked the panel for their comments on this, as well as pursuing funding for such studies from a variety of grant or government sources. (A handout detailing this meeting and follow-up was provided to the panel and audience at this meeting.)
Gooderham reiterated that any such participation would not be construed as a commitment to pursue sewer service for the island, but would allow information to be gathered concurrent to (and perhaps influenced by) the planned water quality testing program the panel had been pursuing through county funding to begin in October. The hope was that by working both projects concurrently, information on options for the island would be further along when the water quality monitoring results were in, so that the community would be in a position to make informed decisions on how to act next if action was deemed necessary.
Bob Brace asked if there had ever been a show of interest by the community on this issue. Miville replied that this was an effort to begin learning how to work with the city, but that perhaps we should ask the community now how they felt. Brace observed that was not a good idea right now, the issue was too conceptual with no facts. Miville said they could do a mass e-mail to see what the response is. Feelings will come out. Then we could treat it like the safety shoulder Ð set up a committee with both pro and con to amass and report data. Gibson noted they were looking for funds to start the water quality monitoring ASAP. Jensen noted that the upcoming SCCF fund-raiser being organized by Paul McCarthy was a good time to show community support. Mike Kalinski said the island should look at output from septic systems and package plants as a way to model a solution. He cited a Sarasota Bay study on Total Daily Maximum Loading as a source for calculations.
7. MSTU update:
Gooderham noted that the county commission had been reviewing possible changes to the Municipal Services Taxing/Benefit Unit rules at a recent Management & Planning session, with proposal that could have made it more difficult to form such a unit Ð something the island has looked at for a number of options in the past. However, at this time the only change commissioners seemed to endorse regarding formation was to put a time limit on petitions so that costs remain reasonably accurate and reflective of reality. The proposal affecting how units would be dissolved would likely more forward, which was necessary both for practicality and due to problems with units elsehwre in the county.
Stilwell noted the panel had received no income for the month with the regular expenses. A full report would be prepared for next month's meeting.
9. Water quality:
Jensen reiterated the SCCF fund-raiser on Captiva Cruises June 19, People could contact Paul McCarthy for information.
Other business: A question was asked whether the safety shoulder roadwork was it done and would DOT repave whole road? Miville noted he had discussed this with Randy Cerchie and that DOT planned to layer the whole thing in the next two weeks, including driveways lines and sloping.
The meeting adjourned at 10:20 a.m.