August 8, 2006

Panel Members in Attendance: Ron Gibson, Dave Jensen, Rene Miville, Mike Mullins, Nathalie Pyle, Harry Silverglide, and Sandy Stilwell.

Audience: 15

1. The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by a roll call of members. A motion to approve the minutes from June 13, 2006, and July 11, 2006, was made by Mullins (Silverglide second), approval was unanimous.

2.Miville provide a brief background of the proposed project. He said the group who donated the funds for the binding LCEC estimate hired attorney Schef Wright to assist with the project. Wright met with LCEC on July 20 with R.L. Willoughby, vice president of Power Services, and Ken Gooderham to review the project plans and discuss using the county right-of-way where possible to bury the lines.

Wright said the plans were good, but LCEC was initially reluctant to work in the ROW. Miville said they were more interested after discussions. Wright will discuss options with count attorney David Owen re: Municipal Services Benefit Units and possible ROW indemnification. Mullins asked how will the burden be reassigned and who will be responsible? Miville said he had discussed that problem with the mayor of Jupiter Island, who said responsibility was a very small price to pay for the investment of burying the lines. Why would the county want to move the road? Islanders could enter discussions with the county if the county wants to make move vs. islanders want to make the move.

Mullins said that to indemnify there had to be an entity. If the county will not accept that responsibility, who will be the entity? Miville said the entity will be the MST/BU. Mullins asked whether that body would need to have perpetual life. Miville said Wright was working on options. LCEC was willing to discuss working in the ROW, now have to talk to the county attorney about how to settle the details. Looking at MSBU to assess according to benefit, which could be more equitable to all while benefiting the island. We're working on a compromise for LCEC and county to bring back to the panel and community for discussion.

Gibson asked that using the ROW will save us what? Gooderham said the estimate from County Lands was $6-$10 million for public utility easement, but we still will have some easements needed for transformers along the county ROW. Miville asked whether a FEMA subsidy was possible. He said we needed to get LCEC in a letter of commitment, then talk to people who have needed easements and work with the county on indemnification. Gooderham noted that the process will still ask property owners for the approval to move forward, with costs estimated you'll have to pay provided to you upfront.

3. Silverglide said that carts have reduced island traffic, and he proposed to extend their legal use into nighttime hours with the proper equipment -- brake lights, turn signals, headlights. He proposed keeping it at a minimum of 14 years of age for cart use, and he would not extend the cart-use zone further than it is now, keep it to the Village. Silverglide then made a motion to extend use into night hours, with proper equipment (Gibson second).

Gibson said it was not originally discussed day vs. night use in the panel's previous discussion, was it a rule of the county? He also thought it was age 16 for use. Mullins asked whether we can make rules more restrictive than state regulations. LCSO Lt. Joe Poppalardo said yes, Lee DOT can set parameters and include night prohibition. DOT would need to make change and set mandates. Can set limits on night driving, and limit to licensed drivers.

Mullins said the zone had been limited due to the Jensen S-curve. Were we setting limits to reduce risk due to curve? Silverglide said he proposed the existing area only, but he wanted night hours due to warnings that have been given out to island residents which meant we needed to clarify the issue. His proposal was strictly within the current boundaries, extending hours to night time with proper equipment and age. Pyle asked if the panel could amend the motion to include licensed drivers only? Silverglide asked how that would be enforced. Poppalardo said DOT approves road use issue and it can approve with specific restrictions. LDOT's Randy Cerchie asked whether an ordinance was passed for original changes?

Stilwell suggested making it age 14 during the days, and age 16 at night. Poppalardo said the panel should propose what it wants, and let DOT look at it to see what's possible and necessary to enact it. Cerchie said to come up with specific request, e-mail it to me and he'd send it to DOT's traffic guy. Mullins asked what's been the experience since the current restrictions have been put into place. Poppalardo said there were no major incidents, some warnings, have stopped some kids at night. It can be a problem to give them transportation at night. He noted that Boca Grande has golf carts with an age limit of 14, and they have a lot of problems up there, a lot of thefts at night or they throw them in the water. Accidents on Boca typically deal with kids, and it does present a lot of problems. This is a main road; more kids on carts will create more issues. You can make it more restrictive, which still allows them to use carts and use them properly. After discussion over licensed vs. unlicensed drivers and whether unlicensed drivers can be cited for reckless, Silverglide suggested that use during nighttime hours would only be for licensed drivers.

Paul Garvey noted the unintended consequences of allowing unlicensed drivers. They were using carts to go to the beach, letting younger children drive carts, roads are narrow, carts very difficult to see if near the shoulder. No problem with licensed drivers, but inexperienced drivers can be dangerous. Carts added more traffic to roads, and were a boon for house rentals by using carts to get to the beach. He felt I the proposal was asking for an accident to happen. Mullins suggested limiting use to licensed drivers all the time. Silverglide suggested age 14 days, age 16 at night. He said the problem applies to everything with wheels. His intent was to allow adults to use them at night, to extend use through the evening with proper equipment and operated by a 16-year-old or older.

Poppalardo said DOT needed to do some research to justify modifying a state statute. He said parents were renting the carts and allowing younger kids to drive. Silverglide said the parents will be held liable if anything happens. Mullins said we all are bearing responsibility, and he would prefer licensed drivers 16 and over day and night. He asked if making it age 16 and over would deal with the issues raised here. Poppalardo said the panel may not be able to make that change, state statute may require those age 14 be allowed to drive. You can suggest it, but the state may not allow it.

Mullins said the panel needed to get answers before it voted on this matter, asking if there was a sense of urgency to act. Silverglide restated his motion to extend golf cart use in the current zone into night hours for carts with proper equipment driven by licensed drivers at night. Sharon Michie noted that 14-year-olds were not subject to a night curfew for driving. Poppalardo encouraged the panel to e-mail a proposal to DOT and let them make recommendations at a future meeting. Miville said if the concern is about 14-year-olds driving at night, try it and see if there is a problem. Pyle made a motion to table action on the pending motion to the September meeting (Mullins second). The vote was 5-2 in favor of that motion, with Silverglide and Miville opposed.

4. Jensen said a final process draft was ready for discussion by the committee. They could not yet find a time to meet via phone, but would try again. He asked the panel when it would like to see a process statement. Mullins asked what the prerequisites were to doing this project, that the panel would need a rough time frame of when it will go into effect. Cerchie said if the utility project works out to go into the ROW, that would have to go first. You're two years away for construction alone. Mullins said he would want to see a survey done in season, and asked whether it should be done this season. He noted the committee had some momentum, but we do not need an artificial deadline. Jensen said the committee will keep working at it. Cerchie hoped everyone had a chance to see the black-plastic strips DOT has put down in a number of places showing what the proposed shoulder would ad to the overall width of Captiva Drive. He was going to take up those strips today, but he could try to put them back down in season. Mullins asked if DOT could leave them in place longer since most of the community did not know they were there, and Cerchie agreed to leave them in place until later in the week.

5. Mullins offered thanks to the volunteers and professionals who have contributed to this effort to date. Nothing done so far about a budget for preparation efforts. We have needed funds for Web site, which needs an overhaul; have proposal from Celeste Langer for around $1,000 to design The site would post bulletins for islanders to check relative to hurricanes, and offer links to county and island sites. He noted there now was a Captiva-specific window from the Lee County Emergency Operations Center site.

The group faced ongoing costs for the domain, hosting, uploads, etc. He said the voluntary 800 number from South Seas was good for this season, but the group may need to reserve it in the future. He said we still need a meeting area for Captivans off-island. The Bell Tower Holiday Inn was not available, but he has found another hotel and would need a credit card to swipe at some point to hold any reservations. This would be an unofficial place for islanders to meet during and after a storm, to get information, etc. He has had to absorb some costs to date, but would like to establish budget for such items. T-shirts for SSI volunteers, need to be reimbursed. Have to bring sufficient food and water for 7 days, currently have that at fire house, volunteers would need to bring some or get certain types that could withstand loss of refrigeration. He said he will prepare specific budget, and will ask CPOA and CCA if they are willing to participate.

Mullins said there would be a mock event drill by Structural Safety Inspectors on Aug. 15. Poppalardo explained what the teams will to: Help evacuate island, maintain list of who's on island and where they're going to evacuate, and assist post-storm with damage assessment. A number of volunteers were wiling to come up and assist, which would be a big help in reopening the island. Aug. 15 will be a test of process for volunteers and professionals. They will assess mock damage on various houses around the island, and regroup at the fire station and critique the event.

Poppalardo also said the Lee EOC wants Doris Holzheimer and Mike Mullins to go to the Governor's Hurricane Conference in 2007, which was an attaboy for that team. Mullins said he met with Sanibel officials on use of San-Cap Road when Hurricane Dennis was looming. Professionals helped facilitate discussions with city. Katrina made it clear that you have to survive on your own for 3-5 days, switched to getting community involvement increased. We were ahead of the curve in recognizing you can't rely on government for preparedness.

There were reminders to contact the City of Sanibel for hurricane passes, as well as to register any caretakers who would need to get to your property post-storm.

6. Mullins asked about expanding the list of approved trees, which Gooderham said he would look into. Stilwell made a motion (Mullins second) to approve the two requests before them, approval was unanimous.

7. There was a discussion of rules and restrictions currently in the county Land Development Code pertaining to Captiva. Mullins suggested that if you have concerns over a particular sign you contact the company directly first and let them know before going to code enforcement for action.

8. Gooderham noted that a committee coordinated by the county was planning opening celebration events for the causeway, which was tentatively set for the weekend of Jan. 27, 2007. Participation from Captiva was welcomed, and anyone interested could contact him for information.

Mullins gave an update on the Dunbar Hilton property on Captiva Drive. He had contacted the county building dept. due to dilapidation form storm damage. Owners were given 60-days notice to commence repairs, then the county has right to come in and make repairs and assess homeowners. A lawyer for the owners requested a two-week extension, and had not contacted them since. Mullins said he will contact the building dept. again. Miville said he had talked to demolition firms, who said it was a massive house that would be difficult to handle. Mullins said there was concern going into hurricane season with a house that is not structurally sound due to extensive damage. We have vacant lots still covered with debris from post-storm dumping; have seen increase in vermin and other issues. County cannot enforce removal of dead trees, so he's urging them to encourage cleanup of property.

Alison Hagerup noted that the Captiva Erosion Prevention District was waiting on an opinion from its attorney on single-source bids issues, but hoped to apply for the tree subsidy for the beach access south of South Seas Resort. She said the district has reviewed its agreement with the resort on easement and responsibility.

Miville asked whether the island could get a "Welcome to Captiva" sign in the county ROW. Cerchie said it was a good idea, but who will maintain it and will it be lit? He needed to know the details to answer. Stilwell suggested a fund-raiser for a sign and to get rid of the newspaper kiosks. Poppalardo said there were First Amendment issues with the newspaper boxes, but that the county parks & rec dept. and board could work with them on a sign.

9. The meeting was adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

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