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Fire rating draws Planning’s attention

By Staff | May 11, 2012

JIM LINETTE Sanibel Fire District achieved an insurance rating of 5 in January 2011, but one Plan Commission member raised the idea of improving the rating even further.

The Plan Commission continued its review and updating of the Evaluation & Appraisal Report (EAR) of the Sanibel Plan addressing sections on safety, historic preservation and other human support systems at Tuesday’s commission meeting in City Hall.

Sanibel achieved a goal in January 2011 when the city was reclassified by the Insurance Service Office with a rating of 5. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is the best rating. Before January 2011, the city had a rating of 6.

Commissioner Chuck Ketteman raised the the question of satisfaction with the improved rating.

“I’m glad that we went from a 6 to a 5 because it apparently was set as a goal,” said Ketteman. “Do we have a cost analysis of what this saves residents on their insurance rates? More important, why not a 3? Would it be beneficial savings to residents for what it would cost to do whatever we can to reach 3?”

Staff was asked to look into the issue with the knowledge that Governor Rick Scott is reviewing state plans that includes merging fire districts where possible.

The human support systems section also outlines police, power, library, medical and public health facilities as well as education and insect control.

Vice chairman Phillip Marks challenged an item on electric power that reads: “For aesthetic reasons, existing utility service should be placed underground where legally appropriate, practical, reliable, readily repairable and economically feasible.”

“That is extremely expensive and, quite frankly, I don’t think we will ever see it,” said Marks. “I’d just like to know why it is in there.”

When mosquito control issues were discussed, City Manager Judie Zimomra reported, “We put out a proactive email to residents telling them to contact the mosquito district directly with a complaint. It seems to have more impact with the district when an individual contacts them instead of the city gathering several complaints and reporting it.”

Commissioners had few issues with the historic preservation and safety sections, but evacuation procedures, shelters, recovery, damage control and public education provisions are still fresh in everyone’s minds from Hurricane Charley.

Two public hearings are set for discussion at the next Plan Commission meeting on May 22. One is a consideration for a certificate of appropriateness to construct an elevated deck connecting the existing Bailey’s House and an accessory cottage with an ADA compliant ramp.

The second is consideration of a conditional use permit application by the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club to implement a 10-week summer camp program for children ages 5-14.

The meeting closed with an inquiring tale of another close call for bicyclists failing to observe “bike stop” signs at a busy intersection. That story raised a second tale of multiple riders on the roadway instead of the bike path and failing to yield to motorists.

It is not the first time similar issues between bikers and vehicles has been raised to planners. Parties were assured the City Council and staff are looking into what can be done to protect both the motoring and biking public before anyone is seriously injured.