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Further discussion had regarding Captiva Community Plan provisions

By Staff | Nov 18, 2015

Further discussion was had during a recent Captiva Community Panel meeting regarding the feedback they received from Lee County staff for their Captiva Community Plan.

“We have a plan that is in effect. It’s a pretty good plan that people worked a long time on and we don’t have to change it,” David Mintz of the Captiva Community Panel said. “But, every five years we review it. We had a series of workshops where a fairly significant number of Captiva residents came in meeting after meeting to express their concerns. The panel respecting that decided to put together a plan that reflected that information, that input.”

The Captiva Community Panel spent close to two hours discussing the plan and the comments and recommendations made by Lee County staff. In an effort to streamline the conversation, Mintz provided a working document with the comments and suggestions, which were addressed individually.

The panel began with Goal 13: Captiva Community Vision, which during past meetings received quite a few comments from panel members that it needs to stay the same.

“We replaced the initial Goal 13 and added a much longer goal and vision,” Mintz said. “The county comments were basically that it was too long. But it was the vision that the panel thought reflected the vision of the Captiva community. I think we would like to keep it as much as possible. We are prepared between now and December to shorten it to accommodate the county.”

Bob Walter, a panel member, said he agrees with the county that Goal 13 should be a vision statement with all the bullet points used as back up.

“They are just saying it’s not a vision statement what you are doing. It’s semantics,” he said.

President Mike Kelly said the vision statement includes input from the entire community in a consolidated format. He said the vision is meant to be a broader look as what the community felt as the most important pieces of the plan.

“I hesitate thinking we would lose it by putting it in an appendix or a another piece of something else,” he said of the bulleted additions.

“If you don’t agree with the county write a paragraph addressing the question and say no we want to keep it there,” Sharon Jenkins-Owen, principal planner for Lee County advised the board.

Jay Brown, a panel member, said they should be responsive by sharing that they want the vision to be included.

Goal 13 read “Captiva Island is a coastal barrier island with a low density residential lifestyle and economic base, augmented by commercial activities, which serve residents and tourists who are drawn toward a tranquil, unhurried experience in a natural setting. As an island community, Captiva’s natural environment -beaches, wildlife and flora – is its most important attraction, and Captiva residents regard the protection of its mangrove fringe, water quality, and dark skies as matters of paramount importance. Toward the end, its residents, owners and the business community must work together with Lee County, and other regulatory bodies to sustain the fragile and limited resources of the island.”

Six bullet points are listed under the vision further expressing what the Captiva community values. An additional seven bullet points further describe how Captiva residents must work together with Lee County to achieve the ends expressed.

Another portion of the plan that received a great deal of discussion was Policy 13.1.2: Building Heights on Captiva Island, which the panel ended up deciding to keep verbatium.

Mintz said the intent of the policy is to reflect that Captiva has four areas that need to be addressed – South Seas, Gold Coast, Tween Waters and The Village.

“There was a discussion with the panel to try to give some opportunity for each of the four areas to recommend to the panel a possible reduction of building heights in the plan if the majority of the people in the area feel strongly about it. They would come back to the panel and the panel would discuss it,” he said. “That is if someone in the Village or the Gold Coast has the ability to change heights. (They would) come back here and make a recommendation to the panel and in no circumstance could the heights be higher than what the plan currently has.”

The other concern the county raised was the panel did not describe the four areas of concern.

The policy states that the “height of buildings and structures may not exceed the less restrictive of the two following options: 35 feet above the average grade of the lot in question, or 42 feet above mean sea level measured to the peak of the roof, whichever is lower, or 28 feet above the lowest horizontal member at, or below, the lawful base flood elevation measured to the mean level between eaves and ridge in the case of gable, hip, and gambrel roofs.”

The panel also discussed Policy 13.1.5: Quality of Adjacent Waters, which touches upon pumping regulations for septic systems.

“The comment of the county was they really didn’t understand what we are trying to accomplish here,” Mintz said.

Sandy Stilwell, a panel member, said she would like to see the verbiage of “regulation of septic system maintenance” included because she would like to see homeowners having to maintain their system once a year.

“Leave it the way it is and see what kind of push back we get,” Brown said.

The issue, Mintz said of Policy 13.1.10: Density Increases Prohibited, is they have lots in the Village that are 75 feet. He said people in the past have bought two 75 lots and knocked down the homes to divide the property into 50 foot lots.

A member of the audience spoke about the Village. She said some of the homes are so close together that it is starting to look like Queens, New York because of the 8-10 foot space between the homes.

After much discussion, Jenkins-Owens suggested that the county attorney attend a panel meeting to speak on the matter.

“I think the problem we have for the county is we have this problem, how are we going to fix it,” Mintz said. “This is our way of exhibiting our intent. We will leave it in for now. We are open to any other rationale reasonable way to accomplish this.”

Another lengthy discussion stemmed from Policy 13.4.1: Short-Term Rental of Residential Units, which states that “residential units on Captiva Island may not be rented for a period of less than seven consecutive days.”

With conversations currently being had with legislature regarding the number of days, the panel decided to leave what they have with the inclusion of “excluding South Seas Island Resort.”

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at South Seas Island Resort Cone Room.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.