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Captiva Community Plan is further discussed

By Staff | Jan 27, 2016

David Mintz

Another discussion was had about the Captiva Community Plan during the Captiva Community Panel’s monthly meeting regarding feedback they received from the county attorney.

David Mintz, a member of the Captiva Community Panel, presented an updated document of the plan that included suggestions from Michael Jacobs, the county attorney. He said Jacobs shared which policies he had difficulties with.

“Michael Jacobs explained why he would have some difficulties with it, but did not suggest that we change it,” Mintz said. “He wants direction and he wants to be able to enforce the documentation. What the county is trying to do is meet the specific codes and the general vision in the plan.”

The panel spent time going over the various policies to talk about the additions and subtractions, many of which were just word smithing changes.

A policy that received a great deal of discussion was 13.1.4: Quality of Adjacent Waters. The revised policy reads, “Lee County will encourage and support efforts by Captiva to investigate and recommend measures that will improve water quality in Pine Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to Captiva. Such measures may include regulation of the maintenance of septic systems, or other onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems, and the introduction of sewers only if sized to limit development to that permitted by the Captiva Plan and Land Development Code.”

Newly elected president, Jay Brown said suppose they all decide that it makes sense to hook up to Sanibel for sewers.

“If we hook up to Sanibel and they have twice the capacity, as I read this language, it means we couldn’t hook up to Sanibel,” he said. “Do we want to preclude ourselves from finding a sewer option? I don’t want to exclude a very cost effective measure, or solution, because it might have more capacity than what we would need. I don’t want to increase density and I don’t want to limit our options.”

Bob Walter, also a panel member, said if they hooked into Sanibel they are not going to downsize a pipe to build a high-rise.

“They are going to build that system to handle full capacity,” he said. “You are saying that there is nothing stopping anyone from coming down and building a high-rise in Captiva?”

Walter went on to say that zoning does not change without a public hearing.

“There is a perception on the island that sewers ultimately lead to density and high-rises,” Mike Mullins, panel member, said. “In order to deal with that is if we hooked into sewer it would be acceptable if we put restraints on that, so we don’t increase density.”

Walters suggested that they add such verbiage as “adding a sewer system for the sole purpose of removing septic and not to increase density, or anything else” could be added to the plan to further clarify the intent.

Mintz agreed that he would work on the wording and present another edited version at the February meeting.

Another policy that received discussion was objective 13.5.1: Trees along Captiva Drive. The policy currently reads “Indigenous or native trees and non-invasive species must be planted and maintained along Captiva Drive between Blind Pass and the north end of Captiva Drive to facilitate the restoration of the historic tree canopy and vegetation buffers. The use of indigenous or native trees and vegetation requiring minimal irrigation once established is encouraged on Captiva.”

There was much discussion about the meaning of the first sentence and what that meant for the residents along that patch of road.

Mintz said when a resident plants trees, they have to be indigenous, native or non-invasive.

“We are now saying when you plant these trees in this area they must only be these,” he said. “We want to encourage, not requiring to plant.”

The majority of the panel agreed that if they changed the punctuation and verbiage in the sentence it might be a little clearer. The suggestion was “indigenous, native trees, or other noninvasive species.”

The document will be brought back before the panel at the Feb. 9 meeting before it is sent back to the county.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.