CAPTIVA COMMUNITY PANEL
November 9, 2004
Panel Members in Attendance: Hal Miller, Ron Gibson, Chris van der Baars, Dave Jensen, Harry Silverglide, John Madden
Absent: Rene Miville, Peter Koury, Gordon Hullar
1. The meeting was called to order at 1:05 by a roll call of members.
2. The minutes of the Oct. 12 meeting were approved as presented. Motion to approve by van der Baars, second by Silverglide.
3. Variance request for street setbacks at 15181 Wiles Drive.
Homeowner Stephen Wu and his builder are applying for an after-the-fact variance for an existing porch. The porch was rebuilt by one builder; the second builder discovered the construction of the porch encroached on the setback limit for both Wiles and Captiva Drives. The setback area is 50 feet from the center of the road. They are seeking a variance to keep the porch on the house as it is currently constructed. The builder, Dan Budd, presented several letters from neighbors who had no objection to the porch size or the look of the home. Gibson questioned whether the setback would be different if the house was not on a corner, and it was pointed out that the measurement would then be to the neighboring property line with a shorter setback required. Madden made a motion to accept/approve the request for a variance, but there was no second from the panel, and therefore no discussion. The variance request will now be taken to Lee County for disposition. Silverglide presented a motion, seconded by Jensen, that all issues brought before the Captiva Community Panel be put in writing, and submitted to the Chairman two weeks before the next meeting. Approved 6-0.
4. Discussion of the Oct. 12 motion to comment on the proposed Harbour Pointe Plan.
Bob Taylor and Ray Pavelka of the Mariner Group were present to discuss the proposed Harbour Point development on Captiva Island. Kevin Irwin, a Consulting Ecologist, was present to discuss the impact of the hurricanes on the mangroves on Captiva. Taylor feels that the plan for Harbour Pointe at South Seas is consistent with the panel's proposed mangrove policy, which states that "mangroves on Captiva Island will be protected to the greatest extent possible." Their plan impacts only 2.6 acres, less than 4 percent of the wetlands currently owned by Mariner, and puts 71.5 acres into permanent preservation.
Taylor said the initial plan presented to the CCP last spring was designed to achieve a balance between the wetlands and creating an alternative means of access to the property that is to be developed. This would allow for elimination of the existing roadway to the site, which is adversely impacting the quality of the 35 acres of mangroves located behind it and which were significantly damaged by Hurricane Charley. The revised plan expands the scope of work with regard to enhancing the quality of the 71.5 acres of mangroves, and decreases the amount of mangrove wetlands to be impacted by development of units from 3.5 acres to 2.6 acres.
Mariner has included as part of its plan a clean-up of the debris and broken limbs resulting from the impact of Hurricane Charley, removal and restoration of most of the 2,000 feet of existing roadway, and dedication of the entire 71.5 acres of undeveloped wetlands into permanent restoration.
Access to Harbour Pointe will be by a new drawbridge, which will span the channel leading to Bryant Bayou. Mariner feels that the impact on the mangroves due to the roadway associated with the new bridge is more than offset by avoiding the impact of widening the existing road to make it usable.
Irwin noted that removal of the existing road is absolutely necessary to restore the 71.5-acre parcel to a healthy state. The canopy material is on the forest floor, blocking tidal flow to the mangroves. Miller stated that he went on a tour of the area the day before, and feels now that taking care of the mangroves should be the first priority prior to any development on the point. Gibson agreed that the road must go, and reinforced Miller's description of the great destruction left behind by the hurricanes.
Mike Mullins asked for an estimate of time and dollars to restore the mangroves, and was told it could be several hundred thousand dollars. He also asked whether there was a possibility of building a boardwalk or constructing some sort of viewing area so residents could continue to use this area for observation of birds and nature.
Silverglide questioned whether Captiva should promote its own foundation or land trust to oversee the care of the mangroves. Stella Farwell asked, "If there were no Harbour Pointe proposal, would there be a restoration project planned by Mariner?" Taylor indicated that Mariner could not afford to take this project on without the benefit of the Harbour Pointe development. Van der Baars stated that he felt that the mangroves saved South Seas Resort from much more serious damage, and SSR is making every effort to preserve the mangroves on the resort property.
Ray Pavelka gave his phone number (481-2011, ext. 103), and urged any audience members or homeowners to call him if they wanted a tour of the area impacted.
Gibson presented a motion that the Captiva Community Panel not act on the motion offered at the October 12 meeting opposing the destruction of wetlands to build Harbour Pointe. Motion approved, 5-0, van der Baars abstained.
4. Blind Pass Project.
Alison Hagerup, Executive Director of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District, was present to give an update on the Blind Pass Project. She has initiated petitions which will go to Governor Bush, urging him to put pressure on the organizations involved to move as quickly as possible. As part of its hurricane relief appropriations, the federal government has offered to pay 100 percent of the storm loss beach costs, and will do a cost-share program on the upcoming beach renourishment, which will start sometime after January 2005. She noted that there is now a Web site with information about the project, www.cepd.net. Updates will be available here on both the Blind Pass project and the upcoming beach renourishment.
5. Expansion of Sewer Services to Captiva from Sanibel Island.
Gerald Hartman, of Hartman & Associates, was present to discuss Captiva joining in the expansion of the Sanibel sewer project. Captivians must decide whether they actually want to move ahead on this, and then create a credit-worthy entity to handle the official role of negotiating with the City of Sanibel. There is currently a window of about six months to get this started. Costs can be presented as a tax on the homeowners, which would then be deductible, plus a monthly fee would be charged for the service. After a few questions were asked from the audience, Miller asked if Hartman would be willing to stay until the end of the meeting and answer any individual questions, and he agreed.
6. Restoration of the canopy on Captiva Drive.
Bill Fenniman was not able to be present for this meeting, and anyone with questions was asked to speak to Bob Brace after the meeting.
7. Underground utilities on Captiva Island.
Van der Baars indicated that he had spoken with Curtis Bostic and Pam Mays of LCEC about providing an estimate of the cost of burying the utility lines, and they will be providing a report in the near future. The plan would provide for burying the utility lines, from Blind Pass to the gate of South Seas Resort. Homeowners would be faced with some assessment charges, plus they would have to pay for their individual property hookup.
8. Bike Path, or Safety Apron, on Captiva Drive.
Dan Mosher spoke about the feasibility of adding a safety apron of four feet (along with a 11-foot driving lane) to each side of Captiva Drive to serve as a bike path or pedestrian walkway all the way from Blind Pass up to the Village area. Estimated cost would be $750,000 (which could be absorbed by the county or other agencies) and serious cooperation of homeowners as far as granting easements would be required. Matt Hall discussed the willingness of Robert Rauschenberg to work with Captivans on creating space for a lane at the corner by his property, but wanted to work on liability concerns as the lane would be on Rauschenberg's property as there is no county right of way left there. Residents were urged to speak to Dan after the meeting if they had more questions.
9. Financing Options for Captiva Projects.
Ken Gooderham stated the panel must now decide what they want to spend on all of the projects, and then create a MSBU (Municipal Services Benefit Unit) to oversee the financial aspects. Based on Hartman's explanation, it made sense to keep funding for any sewer projects separate due to the lifespan of the work. However, putting utilities underground, plus any bike path or supplemental costs for canopy restoration could be rolled into one MSBU if compatible terms and apportionment could be structured. The first step would be an informal petition to start the process with the county, which would be discussed at the next CCP meeting.
10. As there was no other business to come before the panel, the meeting was adjourned at 3:35 PM.
11. The next CCP meeting will be Dec. 14, 2004, at 9 a.m. at the CCA Building, 11550 Chapin Lane, Captiva.