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CEPD discusses beach nourishment apportionment process

By Staff | Sep 16, 2010

At the monthly meeting of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District Board of Commissioners, Coastal Planning and Engineering Economist Dr. William Stronge and Engineer Chris Day presented a report to the board detailing the process through which Captiva property owners will be assessed for a portion of the costs of the 2013-14 beach renourishment project.

In the mid-1980s, when Captivans were strongly divided over beach nourishment and how and who should pay for it, Stronge developed a benefit analysis to fairly assess and spread the cost among private properties, commercial properties and County properties.

According to Stronge’s analysis, assessments are based on benefits. Properties benefit from projects such as beach renourishment by experiencing an increase in their values as a result of the project.

“The basic principle is if you widen the beach, you’ll see an increase in property values. The values increase because of particular types of benefits that result from the project. In particular we’re looking at storm protection benefits and recreational benefits,” Stronge said, noting that those two criteria are what the Army Corps of Engineers uses to evaluate beach projects.

“The core of the benefit analysis is that your residential properties benefit as a result of storm protection and recreational opportunities are provided to those who occupy those properties, thereby making them more valuable. Commercial properties benefit because they get an increase in profits as a result of the expansion of the economy as a result of people spending money in connection with the beach,” Stronge said.

Stronge did two surveys, one during the winter and one during the summer, to determine the recreational benefits of Captiva’s beaches and CP&E engineer Steve Keehn made observations based on erosion patterns to determine the potential storm protection benefits.

According to Stronge, recreation benefits account for 68.9 percent of the total annual benefits and storm protection benefits account for 31.1 percent of the benefits for Captiva.

“In the report, I do evaluate the cost benefit analysis. We have a benefit to cost ratio for the Captiva project of about six. It’s a very well-justified project in the sense that usually the cost benefit ratios are something like two. It’s a very economically justified project,” Stronge noted.

Private property owners on Captiva will not be asked to pay for road benefits, public beach benefits or benefits received by day visitors to the island. Those benefits are the responsibility of Lee County.

Keehn, who developed a model unique to Captiva based on his and Stronge’s observations, estimates that the project will cost approximately $22,477,000. Of that amount, Keehn estimates Lee County’s share of the cost at $7,617,224, leaving Captivans to pay, beginning in 2014, $14,859,776.

Stronge divided Captiva into five zones for storm protection benefits to spread the cost share among property owners. Zones run from north to south on the island and are determined by beach profile numbers, the Lee County parcel I.D. numbers and street addresses.

The northernmost zone consists of the golf course and ten residential properties in South Seas. Zone two runs from zone one to the Hagerup Beach Access. Zone three-A runs from the Hagerup Beach Access to Jensen’s on the Gulf. Zone three-B contains the section of road that ‘Tween Waters sits on. Zone four and five are divided between the end of the ‘Tween Waters stretch and Blind Pass.

“The actual assessment will be the sum of the storm protection assessment and recreation assessment. The properties not on the beach will have a zero storm protection assessment. All the residential and commercial properties will have a recreation assessment. Some properties will have two sources of assessments, some will have only one source,” Stronge said.

Because 5.1 percent of the combined storm protection and recreational benefits go to residential properties in zone one, 5.1 percent of the cost of the project will be spread across properties in zone one. Zone two will take on 9.4 percent, zone three-A will take seven percent, zone three-B will take 0.1 percent, zone four will take 6.4 percent and zone five will take 8.6 percent of the cost.

Because the apportionment process is very complex, the CEPD will host a special informational apportionment meeting for residents with questions and concerns on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 5:01 p.m. in the Auger Room at South Seas Island Resort.

The day prior to the apportionment meeting, the CEPD will host an informational beach nourishment town hall meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. in the Wakefield Room at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

The CEPD will also discuss the Nov. 2 general election, during which, Captiva property owners will be able to vote on a referendum that would allow the Captiva Erosion Prevention District to get an early start on planning the 2013 beach renourishment project.

For more information, call the CEPD at 472-2472 or go to www.MyCEPD.com.