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Majority of surveys support islandwide height standard

By Staff | Apr 15, 2011

During Tuesday’s Captiva Community Panel meeting, the results of the survey related to proposed changes to building restrictions in the Land Development Code were announced, with a large majority — 59 percent — indicating their support for an islandwide standard.

A total of 330 surveys were mailed to all residents of the village, with only 10 returned to the panel as undeliverable. A total of 139 surveys were returned before the April 1 deadline, with 82 respondents in favor of the islandwide standard and 57 surveys supporting the current building standards in the village.

According to the handout provided at the meeting, addresses for the property owners — from the northern end of Captiva Drive to 15300 Captiva Drive — were obtained through the Lee County Property Appraiser’s database. Survey packages, which included a cover letter and a stamped survey reply card, were mailed first-class to ensure forwarding.

Among the 54 comments received:

• Small lot sizes were a reason to maintain the current height standard

• Keeping the current standard would maintain the village ambiance.

• Structures along Andy Rosse Lane were a reason to keep the current height standard for the village.

Matt Noble, principal planner for the Lee County Planning Commission, requested that the panel conduct a special meeting to discuss how changing the height restriction standards in the village would impact property owners, answer and questions residents and panel members might have and provide additional education.

“I’d view this as kind of the last hurdle,” said Noble.

The process of proposing amendments to the county height standards on Captiva began almost one year ago, with Ken Gooderham and Max Forgey meeting with several county staffers in late February. As a result of that meeting, Forgey later met with Bob Stewart, Lee County Building Department chief, to discuss proposed height standards.

On April 8, Forgey, Gooderham, Noble and Stewart had additional discussions on flood zone restrictions, base elevation requirements and the proposed content standards on “For Rent” signs appearing on Captiva. At that meeting, Noble stated that the staff report on the Lee Plan building height amendment needs to be completed by mid-May in order to make it through current the legislative cycle.

In addition, Stewart requested that the panel provide community education on height standards once the draft language has been adopted, so island property owners are not “educated by citation.”

After some debate, with objections raised by Mike Mullins and Rene Miville, the panel voted 7-1 — with Mullins dissenting — in favor of holding another meeting.

“I think that this will be the last meeting… the buck stops here,” said Paul McCarthy. “We are a public entity and we provide a public forum — speak then or forever hold your peace.”

The Captiva Community Panel will conduct a special meeting on Tuesday, April 26 at 9 a.m. in the Wakefield Room at ‘Tween Waters Inn, located at 15951 Captiva Drive.

Also during Tuesday’s session, Rich Dickerson of the Captiva Fire District delivered a presentation on advanced life support systems and the district’s plans to acquire the system by mid to late 2012.

According to Dickerson, the district currently uses basic life support systems and equipment. However, when extreme life-threatening emergencies arise, islanders are reliant on Lee County EMS officials stationed on Sanibel.

“Response time is the biggest issue out here, which is the main reason we’re working towards advanced life support,” said Dickerson, who reported that the average response time for CFD personnel is two minutes, 58 second. For Lee County EMS responding to Captiva emergency calls, the response time averages 15 minutes, 42 seconds.

Dickerson also noted that while his district typically responds to about 300 calls per year, they are expected to exceed that total in 2011.

“We have already surpassed 100 calls this year and we’re only into the second week of April,” he said. “We’ve been really busy this season.”

The startup cost for the advanced life support system is $101,075, which includes the purchase of a Lifepak supply kit, $14,000 for an ALS training mannequin, $5,200 per trainee to take the certification course at Edison State College and a salary increase of $8,200 annually for certified advanced life support system personnel.

Dickerson added that he hopes to have the advanced life support system up and running within a year and a half. Funding for the system is provided through ad valorem property taxes. The current CFD budget is estimated at $1.2 million.

Dates for future panel meetings are tentatively scheduled for May 10, June 14 and July 12. For more information, visit www.captivacommunitypanel.com.