July 11, 2006

Panel Members in Attendance: Ron Gibson, Gordon Hullar, Dave Jensen, Rene Miville, Mike Mullins

Absent: Mike Kelly, Hal Miller, Nathalie Pyle, Harry Silverglide, Sandy Stilwell

Audience: 10

1. The meeting convened at 9:07 a.m.; a quorum was not in attendance.

2.Miville began by noting that developments were occurring. Regarding the Jupiter Island project, he had called Mayor Charles Falcone for background. He also spoke with Schef Wright, a Tallahassee-based attorney whose forte is undergrounding utilities. Miville hired him to do a little work based on funds still in the bank account from LCEC study sponsors. He felt the island could have best of all worlds, seeking to form a Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) where the affected parties who benefit the most will pay a little more than someone with similarly valued property who is not getting lines buried. The apportionment would be similar to the current CEPD process for beaches. Mullins noted that this concept was what the panel originally intended, but Lee County did not support the idea. He asked whether the county would agree to do it now. Miville said the county went with boilerplate answer, but he felt Wright could change their minds. An explanation of MSBU vs. a taxing unit (MSTU) was offered. Miville said Wright 2was coming on July 20 to see the island, and would be bringing a peer who is versed in underground engineering and could review LCEC's plans to see if they're adequate or over-priced, in hopes that the project might be engineered better or cost reduced. Wright will talk to County Attorney David Owen when he's back from vacation. Miville felt we had some incredibly competent people to take us to the path of least resistance n the underground project.

3. Jensen said the committee was working on process statement, and that Mullins had been helpful in getting it jump started. He believed the group had come a long way, but was not quite finished yet. He hoped for a draft process statement by the next meeting for panel review. Hullar hoped they could reach out to the community without bias in information.

Miville asked whether anyone had measured the current road, said it was 9.5 feet from centerline to centerline. Fire Chief Jay Halvorsen noted it was very close for his trucks, that the storms' reduction in the trees along Captiva Drive had saved our mirrors on that side. Hullar noted that the process will be valuable for handling other issues as well. An audience member said he had cleared up the extra shoulder space by his property. That has made a difference, and he felt the shoulder was plenty big enough now.

4. Mullins said he raised this issue because of what DOT was doing in responding to a complaint from Sanibel resident Lorraine Cowl. At the previous CCP meeting, DOT representative Randy Cerchie had said the county wanted to grind the stumps left behind from the Australian pines destroyed by Charley and remove rocks/boulders in the "clear zone" of the shoulder. Mullins noted the signs debacle from the 1990s, and had hoped the county would give people time to mitigate citations after they were issued. An audience member said he had been warned in advance by DOT about the cleaning. Sharon Michie said she had been given 10 days for corrective measures. Mullins said DOT may have felt they informed the community at that CCP meeting. He felt the panel needed to be aware of these dialogues and be involved.

Hullar asked why the county listened so well to one complainer. Ken Gooderham noted that it was one person but far more than one complaint, that Cowl had sent many e-mails to many people over a month. He said if it's in the right of way without a permit, the county has a right to remove it. Mullins discussed the nature of Cowl's complaints, and said he felt the county was moving to get what they wanted anyway. He noted that the county had staked the road when a bike path was discussed in the 1990s, and that would be useful when it's being discussed now. Miville asked if the fire district was OK with 9-foot lanes on Captiva Drive. Halvorsen said they could do that, but it will be tight.

Gooderham noted that the safety shoulder committee had raised some questions about how the panel was planning to deal with any survey results if one was conducted, that there were concerns about whether such information would be handed over to the county without interpretation or changes. Mullins said that when they were provided to the panel he would make a motion to accept them and forward to the county, that the panel had a responsibility to pass those opinions on.

Doris Holzheimer said past surveys had been problematic due to the questions that have been asked. The committee needed to develop a balanced group to look at questions and seek input on questions. Some survey questions have been so blatantly biased the results were predetermined. We need to agree on questions before they're sent out. Mullins agreed, saying that was the reason to write it down to have a process set up--to avoid push polls, to seek balance in makeup. How is information handled and who gets to vote must be handled right. Do this right and we have a process we can use in the future.

Hullar said if any results will be certified, then the panel must approve survey. Miville said we'd have to show pictures of what is being proposed; Jensen said the committee was working on that. Mullins suggested that the county stake the road, nothing could be more visual than that. An audience member urged an open vote. Mullins hoped the community would send the panel its information and opinions. Jensen said the committee was here to bring forth what the community wants.

5. Mullins updated the panel on the Structural Safety Inspection training. They had 15 names, but more volunteers are needed; he described the duties and training. The goal was to help first responders and get post-storm assessments completed sooner, which can help trigger FEMA action. Halvorsen noted there would be a mock drill on Aug. 15, to see how long it will take to assess the island. Teams will be checking every house outside South Seas Resort. They will not go in to anyone's home, will call in professionals to do that. Mullins reiterated the SSI teams will err on the side of caution, taking a superficial look at what resources will be needed post-storm. Holzheimer said there would be another hurricane meeting July 13 at 1:30 p.m. to provide different information than at other meetings. (A handout was listed on the back of the panel agenda.) Holzheimer said the group was frustrated at disseminating information. Hurricane guides were still available, and the letter to island property owners was hard to get out. She said if you plan to return to the island (or have someone come on island to check your property), you needed to send a letter to the Captiva Fire District as to who is a legitimate caretaker for your property. They had just four letters on file now, and need more.

In other items:

  • Hurricane passes are available from the city of Sanibel.
  • A training session was schedule for Thursday, July 13.
  • South Seas Resort will provide an 800 telephone number in the event of an evacuation.
  • For after a storm: Phyllis Gibson and Nathalie Pyle are working on plans to get information on the island's status to off-island contacts.
  • We can't get a room at the Bell Tower Holiday Inn due to space.

Mullins said the Vacation Planning Center used for South Seas may be available for use, in the interim Captivans may be able to use his condo's clubhouse at Riva del Lago if it's available as a post-storm gathering point for information. Holzheimer said an incidence command center will be in place; Chief Jay Halvorson and Sgt. Joe Poppolardo will be in touch to provide us information. She felt the island and the hurricane prep team had a good relationship with Lee County and the Emergency Operations Center, etc. -- better than they were for Charley.

Mullins noted the county provided great support on an impromptu basis for Charley, and we were trying to anticipate needs for the next storm. The city of Sanibel believes governments should talk to governments, but their first responders have been very cooperative. South Seas Resort and Captiva's emergency responders have been terrific. Holzheimer noted that the Lee EOC Web site has a Captiva area on it now, which will help get accurate information to Captivans still in Southwest Florida and those who are elsewhere but want to know what's going on. Mullins noted this would be general information, not on specific properties. Property owners needed to make relationships with someone locally to get that information.

6. Jensen wanted to offer thanks to Lee County Commissioner Bob Janes (who had come in during the meeting), especially on for his work on water issues. AN audience member suggested a “Welcome to Captiva” sign at the Blind Pass bridge, which would be better than the first thing you see now - the rusted newspaper boxes. Miville said as the representative to the county Parks & Recreation board, he'd bring it up at the next meeting. The group is in pursuit of funds to beautify public beach areas on the island, he said, and perhaps we can organize a kiosk for the boxes. He was checking on the contract for maintenance of Turner Beach with Sanibel.

7. CEPD administrator Alison Hagerup said crews were planting sea oats on the beach yesterday as part of dune repair. The Web site shows planting areas. She asked Captivans to resist the urge to water them, as the sea oats were planted with gel mound on the root ball so they'll be self watering.

8. Mullins commented on the Dunbar Hilton code enforcement issue, noting that the county responded quickly. The 60-day window to start work should have begun July 3. They received a call within two weeks, asking for a two-week extension. Also, a house near Bali Hai had also been called in to code enforcement, and the builder has started some work. Miville said the Dunbar family had called demolishers; one would not touch the job, another was looking into it. He said the building was structurally sound, they just needs to remove fascia, etc. Hagerup said the family was aware of the problems, but it was now a bunch of siblings dealing with it. She said the building's foundation would not withstand rebuilding; they were looking at demolition and moving ahead with it. Mullins asked Captivans to let us know about other properties that pose hazards, that the county was very responsive.

9. The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 a.m.

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