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Council expected to name new Planning Commissioners Tuesday

By Staff | Dec 31, 2008

Interviews are now under way for the five candidates who have applied to fill the two Planning Commission seats that are due for appointment by the City Council at their next meeting on Jan. 6.

In addition to the two incumbents — Dr. David Berger and Dr. Philip Marks, who currently serves as the Commission’s vice-chairman — Sanibel residents Jim Rainville, Daniel Wexler and Holly Smith have all thrown their hats into the ring.

Rainville, a newcomer to Sanibel Island, is a self-employed commercial real estate broker who is licensed in three states, with the State of Florida pending.

“I enjoy working with people and all aspects of real estate and development,” said Rainville in his formal application for the position. “Being a new resident to the island, everything is fresh and new to me, and I believe my work experience would be a valuable addition to the commission.”

Rainville has a B.S./B.A. in Management and worked for 15 years in restaurant operations, design and development before embarking on a career 12 years ago in brokering commercial real estate. He has owned his own business for the past seven years.

His community service experience includes participation in, and positions on the boards of directors, for cancer summer camps, special education and training endeavors, and a non-profit pre-school.

Wexler, who serves as Vice President of Capitol Associates, Inc., a government and public relations firm, has been a resident of Sanibel since 2005 and has been a frequent visitor to the island since the 1960s, he said in his formal application.

“This is a terrific community and serving on the Planning Commission would be an excellent way to use my experience and background to volunteer my time,” said Wexler.

With a B.A. in Economics from Boston College, Wexler has held a number of management positions in government relations, and has worked in the financial industry for various employers. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Special Assistant to the President of the United States. He has held his current position since 1998.

His community service experience includes membership on the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society’s Board of Directors and coaching Sanibel Youth Soccer and Girls Softball.

Smith, who is a Florida state-certified residential real estate appraiser owns her own business, Appraisal Associates.

“As a full-time resident who is deeply committed to the island, I see the need for qualified, unbiased community members to step up and participate in the local government process,” said Smith in her formal application. “I have a deeper understanding than most of island construction, code compliance and conformity of single family residences. I have limited understanding of commercial properties as well.”

Smith said that she has developed a specialty in her business, which focuses exclusively on appraisals on the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, due to the depth of understand required to interpret the Sanibel Development Code and how it relates to various other federal state and local requirements.

Smith attached an extensive list of community service endeavors to her application, including — but not limited to — involvement in Sanibel Captiva Cares, Sanibel School PTA, Sanibel School Advisory Board, Sanibel School Capital Campaign Committee, and the Sanibel Sea School Fundraiser Committee.

Incumbent Planning Commissioner David Berger, M.D. has served on the Planning Commission for the past two years, and said in a letter to Council requesting reappointment that the experience has taught him that “vox populi” — or the “voice of the people” — is alive and well in Sanibel.

Berger, who has been a full-time Sanibel resident since 1999 and a property owner since 1991 said that he holds no interest in the position other than of a full-time resident dedicated to upholding the Sanibel Plan and the Land Development Code.

“I highly value every aspect of my life on Sanibel and serving on the Planning Commission has given me the ability to demonstrate my continued commitment and gratitude to this community,” said Berger.

Fellow incumbent Dr. Phillip Marks, who currently serves as vice-chair of the Planning Commission, asked Council in an e-mail to consider him favorably for reappointment, “to allow me to continue my commitment to the goals and work programs of the Sanibel Planning Commission.”

Council is expected to appoint the two new Planning Commissioners at

their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 6.