July 8, 2008

Panel Members in Attendance: Ron Gibson, Gordon Hullar (chair), Dave Jensen, Rene Miville

Audience: 20

1. The meeting convened at 9:00 a.m.without a quorum. Hullar explained that the panel bylaws stated that the panel would meeting every month even if there was no quorum in attendance, but that the panel could take no official action with a voting quorum.

Gooderham explained that the minutes from the June 10 meeting were not completed in time for this meeting due to time conflicts, but that they would be sent to panelists this week.

2. Safety shoulder:
Randy Cerchie with Lee DOT noted that the safety shoulder work was essentially complete. However, guardrail work at the Blind Pass bridge was not yet done; he had discussions with Gate Castle with the City of Sanibel and they planned to build a bike path from where it currently ends to the bridge to make it a continuous facility. Gibson asked how contractors determined where to put the carpet down, the green stuff along the roadway. Cerchie said it was called Puralex, it has seeds and fertilizer inside it and it will help stabilize slopes next to the road (which is how they decide where to put it). Mike Kalinski asked about bushes and trees encroaching on the shoulder, and whether it is up to the individual owners to maintain. Cerchie said they'd want to cut their own bushes, believe me. If it becomes a hazard, we would hope the residents would take care of it. If we do it, the results won't be pretty due to our equipment. Hullar noted that sand is also encroaching in spots, and was that also the owners' responsibility. Cerchie said he thought that would stabilize after a while, but that DOT crews do sweep the road throughout the year. Staffer Betsy Hyatt will be planting the berm to stabilize it. He was not sure how the Andy Rosse Lane curb fix area is getting sand in it; will have our maintenance guys come out and clean up problem areas. Kalinski asked about asphalt debris cleanup. Cerchie said to contact him when you see it. Kalinski said it was at his house at 17121 Captiva Drive.

Hullar noted that a number who opposed safety lane have been worried about increase in driving speeds, particularly passing. Drivers are passing very fast along the southern end. Sharon Michie said she was still riding on the road (not the shoulder) to avoid getting hit when people pull out of their driveways, and drivers are speeding on the road. Gibson asked who determines passing zones. Cerchie said our guys look at that, but we entertain requests for certain areas. Jensen asked if the panel could bring it up at the next meeting. Gibson said the public has to be made aware that cyclists have the same rights as a automobile.

Maybe we need to put something out to remind people of that. Hullar said the pane should put the passing issue on the next agenda so people on both sides can speak. It's only on this one section on the island now. Cerchie asked for the panel to let him know so he could get someone here for the discussion. Kalinski said people who want to pass are going to pass. Hullar said then it's an enforcement issue. When we dropped the limit at the Tween Waters stretch, we saw people slow down. If we had no passing on the whole island, it could make a difference. Overall, thanks for the shoulder. We're seeing a lot of people use it.

4. Finances:
Hullar said that Stilwell had contacted him this morning to let him know she was not feeling well, and she provided a two-month report (which was handed out to the panel). He asked whether we could we post it online. Gooderham said he would check with her and see what we can do.

5. Water quality:
Jensen said there was nothing new to report. He hoped SCCF could start ahead water quality monitoring of the Blind Pass project, but money may not make that possible. Gooderham noted that he had heard from Dr. Loren Coen at SCCF's Marine Lab, and they had line dup someone to work on the Captiva project to be hired shortly and acquired one of the pieces of equipment needed to allow them to do the analysis in house.

Miville arrived at 9:17 a.m. to create a quorum.

Jensen said Mike Kalinski had asked to make a presentation today. Kalinski said at the last panel meeting it was mentioned that Captiva generated 200,000 gallons in wastewater daily. It was the first time I had ever heard an estimate like that, I ran some numbers and looked at two things -- package plants and septic systems.

Based on that estimate, the island generates about 41.7 pounds of nitrogen per day. That doesn't appear to be a whole lot, but we don't know what that means. Nitrogen feeds two kinds of algae phytoplankton, that can shade the sea grasses, and ????. The question is: For how much nitrogen, how many pounds of algae are being produced, Also, what does the natural system need as a nutrient baseline? To find out what it means, Brian LaPoint at Harbor Branch and others are starting to get a handle on how many pounds of nitrogen generates how much algae.

Now how can we neutralize those effects? How do we create a zero footprint for Captiva? I'm working with South Seas Resort on a project that's still pending. Hullar said he doesn't know if this makes the case to get rid of septic systems. Kalinski said Sanibel came up with the same number, we need to know what that means and how to neutralize Captiva footprint on what's going into the environment. Hullar asked about the recently announced plans to acquire U.S. Sugar's property in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Jensen said it was phenomenal news, will help reduce the problems we're having. Does that negate us doing anything here? I would not know. Gibson said the plans will allow for more lake storage, more time to self-filter polluted discharges from Okeechobee.

Gooderham noted that the Blind Pass project coming before Sanibel City Council July 15 for a noise variance to allow 24/7 construction. Sharon Michie noted the owners had no issues expected with rentals at Blind Pass during this construction, that those units would rent daily so there was no long-term issue to address. Miville said construction was now expected to begin in October, not September. Call CEPD or the county to find out when mobilization is expected. Two Sanibel council members are new, may need to be lobbied Kevin Ruane and Peter Pappas. Expecting no resistance against the proposed waiver. Mike Mullins said Captiva needs to be represented on their concerns at this meeting.

Doris Holzheimer urged islanders to get your plan together, notify the Captiva Fire District about whose allowed to check your house, look at for information. Michie asked how the turnout was for June 25 event. Holzheimer said it was lower than last year. Sharon brace noted the event picked up a couple of Sanibel people who could not attend the city's program.

8. Other business:
Mimi Schwartzel noted that they had finished their home on Captiva Drive and wanted to put a fence in front of property; don't want to use solid vegetation but to recreate canopy. The fence we want to build would be pillars and wrought iron. By county code, pillars only allowed to be four feet high, railing can only be three feet; we want ours to be five feet high all the way across to help keep animals in or out of the property. While this issue was not on the panel agenda for this meeting, she was asking for input or any objections from the panel and audience.

Michie said she had to deal with the same issue on Sanibel trying to control gator access; I had to raise the iron fence on the pillar. Mullins said the Sheets house looks to be like what you want to do, did not ever hear of a variance for that. Lee County has very specific requirements for a permit. Miville said a fence is great but he hoped they'd plant stuff in front of it to be sure it is vegetated. Will there be vegetation in front of the fence, or will it be a manicured area on the road side? Schwartzel said there would be vegetation on the road side.

Hullar noted that this can't count as the public meeting required by the plan. Schwartzel said she understood and will be back at the next meeting. Just trying to get input or comments today to be ready for the next meeting. Mullins said it will be a lovely house at 16898 Captiva Drive, and it would be good to have a landscape plant to show people to alleviate any concerns. There was a discussion about power pole placement at the front of the property, Schwartzel explained the situation and said they were negotiating with the neighbors to switch easements. She said the fence is allowed there, but the variance we're asking for is that the pillar be one foot higher and the fence be two feet higher.

Had they known they needed this, they would have been working on it sooner; but they were not aware of the county regulations until they went to get a permit to construct the fence.

The meeting adjourned at 9:50 a.m.

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