Captiva Community Panel
MINUTES
Dec. 9, 2008

Attending: Rick Hayduk, Sandy Stilwell, Gordon Hullar, Ron Gibson, Mike Kelly. Harry Silverglide, Nathalie Pyle, Rene Miville.

Audience: 20

The meeting convened at 9:05 a.m. Following a roll call and introductions, the Nov. 11 minutes were unanimously approved on a motion by Stilwell (Gibson second). Hullar noted that panel minutes were posted on the Web site for public review.

Golf cart ordinance: Harry Campbell with Lee DOT was introduced. Silverglide noted that the goal was to figure out what Captivans want to do about a golf cart ordinance. He gave a brief history of carts on island, noted that enforcement is an issue and can be arbitrary. Do we want to set some direction or no direction, leave it alone, effect ordinance developed by county or some iteration that would be Captiva-specific? Campbell said that to increase the cart zone you would need a DOT study, as it's an engineering decision. Will do after the first of the year in peak season, and will include video if possible. An ordinance is something you take to the BoCC for a Captiva-only ordinance, or you decide you don’t want an ordinance. Campbell had a sense that the BoCC wanted to know that Captivans wanted to go forward. Could poll residents on support, but you'd first need to decide on the wording of ordinance. Hullar noted that we get it to say what we want, then take it to BoCC. We should separate the questions and have a discussion. Lt. Joe Poppalardo said the zone in the Village for carts, under state statutes allowed for use by golf carts. Issue is night usage, for heavy usage like on Boca Grande where they had three accidents in the past months. Carts can do serious damage to pedestrians and bikers; it’s still a vehicle. We argued that with the BoCC and got nowhere. Have to have some consensus, either keep it restrictive as is or open it up. Someone has to make some decisions, but we will have to enforce the law if there’s a problem.

Hullar said he hoped to hear from Village residents who are most affected. Pyle said that nighttime use is desirable. With younger kids, it’s kind of scary; that’s why we should consider limiting it to licensed drivers. Other issue is the zone. Like to find a way to have golf carts safely used at night. Poppalardo noted that Campbell spent 2 years trying to craft a countywide ordinance, found out it was not the best time to pursue that. Keep Captiva separate at this point. Campbell said the only legal part is whether we can do an ordinance specific to Captiva. The county attorney has to make that call but the community has to say they want a Captiva-only ordinance. The attorneys consider what will hold up in a court of law, so you need to ask and get an official opinion out of the county attorney. Gibson said he would allow night use in the Village and restrict age of drivers, who's eligible to be driving these golf carts. Poppalardo said the state statue is difficult to enforce; they don’t have to tell us their true age…can drive at 14 by state law. Pyle asked about what the community considered two years ago. Campbell said you could not mandate seat belts, or car seats. Lawyers made minor changes. It's now a question of judgment, not issue of law.

Kelly asked if there was a conflict between use and equipment. Campbell said he was comfortable with the current zone at night, but extending the zone still needs to be studied. Silverglide said that if the ordinance was adopted, it would require all carts to be so equipped. Campbell said that for daytime operation you could use any cart, night-time use requires appropriately equipped cart. Kelly asked about age restrictions. Campbell said the limits are based on Florida Statute, will stand up in front of a judge. Must be based on facts and years of legislation. An audience member asked whether having a license implies you must have insurance? Campbell said not according to statute, but you may have to take out insurance to rent a cart anyway. If you have a tag on a vehicle you have to have insurance. Poppalardo related a story about the damage inflicted on a brand new Mercedes by an uninsured cart operator. It’s a risk of more usage, since insurance is not required. You have to have a tag on low-speed vehicle (LSV); if it has a VIN number you have to have a tag. A vehicle with a VIN number operating on the road has to have a tag; if it’s on a cart area, no tag required.

Mike Mullins asked about the difference between this ordinance and a road-ready car. How much experience do we have with them? Poppalardo said the LSVs have to comply with all requirements. Campbell said an LSV has crashworthiness, carts do not. Not enough data on LSV to say it will be as safe as we think it should be. There followed a discussion of LSV capacities. Hayduk said an ordinance must address rental carts for guests and vacationers, or a vendor that does not offer a fully equipped cart. Also, there's an enforceability issue if people still use them. He had checked with the two companies who rent on the island, and you have to be age 22 to walk out with the cart. Who actually drives it is another issue. Kelly said it's really dangerous if you don’t have a back light…very dangerous conditions now at night. Poppalardo said we need consistency across the board on use and equipment. Gibson noted that lights can be weak if the battery is run down, there's no way to generate power.

Pyle made a motion to approve the ordinance as presented for a golf cart ordinance specific to Captiva (Stilwell second). Silverglide asked if it would OK night-time use in the Village. Campbell said he would have to write up that it is safe in the Village. We feel comfortable that properly equipped vehicles can operate in the Village; it’s an engineering matter. Silverglide offered an amendment to recommend ordinance go forward and recommend nighttime use in the Village Pyle agreed to amend to add "with the inclusion of night-time use in the Village." She asked if there was anything we need to know about that we’re not anticipating. Poppalardo said carts are not as safe as a vehicle. With the slower speeds in the Village, they are relatively safer if used there. Need to worry about kids driving at night; having it limited to age 16 or above helps us considerably. Hullar asked whether "in the Village" means the current zone. Poppalardo concurred. Bob Brace asked if the panel was going to survey the public per its bylaws? Hullar said no, it's the decision of the panel on an item-by-item basis to decide to do polling. Members should vote against it if it's not worthy. Mullins asked about including a sunset provision, to put it in place for a period of time? Pyle said that was not necessary. Silverglide asked if we should include an engineering study for the Tween Waters stretch. Pyle said that was a separate issue. Miville said that Brace was right, a survey is important. He suggested the panel have the Webmaster send an e-mail to let everyone know what’s going on with this, and to let us know if they’re concerned. Silverglide said they should just post it. We’ve been dealing with this more than two years, lots of public meetings with very little opposition. Pyle said we might be a need to poll if we were expanding the zone. Kelly said there was still some wordsmithing yet to do, how do we handle that? Campbell said the county attorney will remove parts that refer to Boca Grande. Language will come back vetted by the attorney in draft form for a revised ordinance. Pyle suggested the motion be amended to read to approve in concept this ordinance, expecting revisions. Stilwell agreed. On re-reading the motion, there was unanimous approval.

Silverglide then made a motion to request DOT to do engineering study of the Tween Waters stretch for safety issues for daytime use of carts first (Miville second). Approval was unanimous.

Miville noted that had recently ridden a bike on the safety shoulder and there were some areas with dirt and glass. He would like to ask the city of Sanibel for use of its sweeping machine if the county will pay for it. Will look into it if there are no objections. Hullar said this came up at a meeting, we were told the county would do that periodically. Call Randy Cerchie and ask for a sweeping, and agree on a frequency. Campbell said to call DOT with serious debris problem at main number, they’ll arrange to take care of it. Go to operations, they have a contract street sweeper. Talk to Clay Simmons to schedule.

Blind Pass: Kathleen Rooker from the CEPD was on hand to report about Blind Pass. Discussion of interlocal agreement for project; CEPD is funding source while Lee County is managing the project. Pass open 23 years since 1960, closed 25 years. Hayduk asked if the pass was natural or manmade. Rooker said it was mostly natural. There was discussion of the dredging schedule – six days a week, closed Christmas Day and New Years Day. Containment cell will start one week from today. Discussion of project areas/phases and sand compatibility and placement. Rooker said the project design was for the channel depth to be 10 feet from the Gulf to SB4 , could go deeper by one foot. Depth for SB4-5 is nine feet, for SB 5 on back is eight feet; dredge allowance is one foot. Updates for CCP and CCA regularly. Rooker also noted that the CEPD office is moving to Andy Rosse Lane in the Celebration Center. 11513 Andy Rosse Lane, third floor. Same hours and phone number. Paul Garvey asked what the funding percentage was from Sanibel. Rooker said Sanibel was not a funding partner. CEPD 1/3, county 1/3, state 1/3. Miville noted that Sanibel agreed to build the Clam Bayou culverts as its part of the project. Garvey asked if the benefit was near to the money the city has put in. Rooker said the total project cost was $3 million.

Hurricane Response: Doris Holzheimer spoke about this item, noting that March 6 is the annual education day at the Community Center, to be held in conjunction with the library. A Structural Safety Inspection training is being planned.

Election of panel members: Hullar offered an explanation of members' terms. He said that Gibson, Jensen, Hayduk and Pyle were nominated by nominating committee. The vote was unanimous to re-elect all four members. Pyle said she wanted to request that the panel commit to strategic marketing to let the community know there are positions available. Miville said there always are few people committed enough to spend this time. Advertising won’t find them, they show up at meetings and get involved in committees; they'll surface by default. Enrollment through engagement is more effective. Pyle said marketing was part of an awareness-raising process, good for groups that exist to serve the community. Hullar said he agreed with both positions, we need to bring people in and identify interested parties. Mullins noted there was presently an open seat if anyone is interested.

Budget: A draft version of a 2009 panel budget was presented and discussed by line item. It was noted that fund-raising would need to be undertaken to meet the year's obligations? Miville made a motion (Hayduk second) to approve the budget as presented. The vote was unanimous in approval..

Web site: The background on this item was discussed, mainly that the current Webmaster wanted to step down from the role and the panel needed to find someone new to maintain and update the site. It was also a good time to discuss what changes or improvements the panel would like to see implemented on the site. Stilwell said she'd like to see the site use captivacommunitypanel.com as a domain name. Hullar said the issue needed more homework. He suggested a short-term contract with Beth Oden to handle short-term issues while panel decides what it wants to make it into. Gibson noted that she makes recommendations, very reliable and part of the community. Stilwell moved (Gibson second) to hire Oden to be Webmaster, to request she change the domain to captivacommunitypanel.com and undertake maintenance of same. Stilwell noted that this would be totally separate from her current Hurricane Response volunteer work. Mullins asked if this would mean creating a whole new Web site. Miville said she could use a forwarder to current CPOA site. Keep old stuff and add good new stuff. He said he would like to continue as Communications Chair. Hullar noted that the panel needed to have input on the site design. The motion was called to unanimous approval.

Finance: Report given by Stilwell, she also noted the panel needed to consider fund-raising and that South Seas has agreed to host an event that might be in mid-February. Miville noted that donated events had raised a lot of funds in the past. He said he would pursue CROW and SCCF to participate in these events.

LDC: Kelly said that the CCA will get involved in draft language. Mullins said the panel needed to invite community at large. He discussed the CCA's use of the mangrove policy developed by the CCP in its opposition to the Harbor Pointe project, to note that broad language has a broad ramification. Interpretation is the critical element, as seen on a federal level. Miville suggested the panel give the CCA two months to get a response. Kelly said this would move forward if they do not respond.

Water quality: It was discussed that monitoring had started with rain events in late November and December, and that an update would be scheduled for the next meeting.

TDC meeting: Discussion of the issue of funding for the new proposed Red Sox stadium and the subsequent reallocation of bed tax funds which would result in a reduction of money for the Beach and Shoreline Fund. Kelly asked if the panel should hold an appreciation event. Pyle requested that a letter be composed to register the disappointment of the Captiva community for reduction approved by TDC in the Beach and Shoreline Fund, send to BoCC with a copy to the TDC (Silverglide second). Hayduk noted the anticipated loss of bed tax revenue in 2009 due to poor economic conditions. Miville said besides an official letter, we look at TDC access through Stilwell's contacts and BoCC access through people at this table. We have the power to do things about it. The language needed to offer an alternate solution. Stilwell said the letter should be honest, not vicious. Approval of the request was unanimous. Hullar would work with Gooderham on a draft letter.

The meeting adjourned 11:10 a.m.

-- Ken Gooderham, administrator

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