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Plan Commission revisits beach monitoring

By Staff | Aug 31, 2012

SHANNEN HAYES No one was on Lighthouse Beach during Tropical Storm Isaac as angry water lapped at the edge of a walkway that usually leads to the beach.

On a day when life was returning to normal after a weekend brush with Tropical Storm Isaac, the Sanibel Plan Commission Tuesday revisited the notion of monitoring human use of beaches on the island.

The lively discussion came as the commissioners heard final revisions associated with the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR)of the Sanibel Plan. Revisions hammered out in previous meetings over the last several months were made to the text of the document’s goals, objectives, policies, official maps, CHR housing and beach carrying capacity sections.

Commissioner Tom Krekel and vice chairman Phillip Marks had the most to say about the beach carrying capacity section, agreeing that baseline data collection, such as a head count of people using the beaches, should be made.

“I think the city should do a study, but what they do with the figures is another story,” said Krekel. “We need a baseline to go by in case studies are done in the future. That way we will know if more people are using the beaches or not.”

Six residents attending the meeting also spoke on the matter, encouraging the use of volunteers if necessary to conduct such a study. Of particular interest to all is the trend of tour buses dropping off 40 to 60 people at a time at beach accesses and the impact that number of people might have on the beach and its natural wildlife.

Commissioners adopted a resolution approving the EAR and recommends Sanibel City Council also adopt the report. The panel also elected to cancel the next scheduled meeting on Sept. 11 due to a lack of agenda items.