Captiva Community Panel submits counterproposal, votes to file forms
The Captiva Community Panel recently approved offering a $10,000 contract to a land planner for assistance with the island’s code and zoning, as well as agreed to file financial disclosure forms.
At the March 13 meeting, the panel unanimously supported an offer for retaining David Depew to review the new Captiva Community Plan and to assist the panel with its ongoing work of updating the Captiva Code. The idea behind hiring Depew is for him to help the panel with bulletproofing it all.
Members of the panel met with Depew and explained the extent of what the panel is looking for. Afterward, Depew drew up a contract outlining the proposed work, estimating the cost at $33,200.
“Basically, there were two or three elements of his proposal that we didn’t really request,” panel President David Mintz said.
He explained that one element was a general overview of what land use planning is, while another element was assisting the panel in terms of meeting with Lee County officials and committees.
“It’s not clear that we need that at this point because we’ve been doing it ourselves,” Mintz said.
The major difference, however, was the panel had requested that Depew create a presentation identifying the relationship between the various zoning on Captiva and the interplay between the various zones – which have different rules and regulations – Captiva Code and county code.
He noted that the island has an estimated six to 10 different zones.
“We needed to understand, if we’re talking about how we’re going to preserve our density, what the relationship is between the zoning and the ordinance and what’s possible,” Mintz said. “We, basically, wanted to have a sense of what was possible density-wise in each of the various zones on Captiva.”
In Depew’s contract, he had it tasked as a lot-by-lot examination for a fee of $8,400.
“I think what we were looking for is a more general zone-by-zone area of what we can do,” he said.
Panel Secretary Mike Mullins agreed, noting that they need to know density allowed by zone.
“We’re trying to predict the maximum allowable,” he said. “I’m saying I don’t think you need to look at lot-by-lot to do that.”
Some on the panel felt going lot-by-lot would provide a baseline for future decisions.
Panel Member Antje Baumgarten voiced concern that the overall aim might not be focused.
“I would like to know what our exact goal is,” she said.
Mintz used the example of if something happened to the Sunset Captiva area.
“So if a hurricane wiped it all out, this is what you can build there under the current zoning and the current ordinances – and the same thing he would do in every other zone,” he said. “It’s the difference between having a sense of what the zoning will permit versus an inventory of what we have on the island now.”
Mintz explained that he responded to Depew with a counterproposal, again outlining the panel’s original tasks and goals, along with offering $3,000 for a zone-based rather than lot-based analysis.
The panel voted to approve the counterproposal, which totaled $10,000.
Asked about the timing for the presentation, Mintz explained that he had hoped it would be ready in April. However, Depew is dealing with health issues, so the presentation could get pushed back.
“If we can’t do it this season, we’ll do it right at the beginning of next season because we think it’s something that everybody should be here for,” he said.
After locking horns at the February meeting in a tied 5-5 vote, the panel members voted unanimously this time to file financial disclosure forms. According to Mintz, only four of the 11 had not done so.
“There is some ambiguity as to whether you need to fill out the form if you’re not getting county funds,” he said. “And, as we’re sitting here right now, we’re not getting county funds.”
Mintz noted that the panel has approached the county for funding for the next budget year. He added that if the panel wants the $50,000 or such that it received in the past, it will have to file the forms.
The panel’s administrator, Ken Gooderham, will confirm the information.
After a brief discussion, the panel voted to simply file the forms.
Panel Member Mike Lanigan, who has been working with the Lee County Department of Transportation, provided an update on the Captiva Drive speed and safety issues study.
“Right now, it’s incomplete,” he said.
Last fall, the panel requested that the DOT perform a speed study. In December, the study was performed along Captiva Drive and some preliminary results were available in January. Lanigan reported that it found only 2 percent to 3 percent of drivers were going over 10 miles per hour.
“They didn’t feel there was a speed issue concern,” he said of the DOT.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Sawicki agreed.
“They’re not seeing a huge problem as far as the data goes,” he said. “They’re not seeing a situation as dangerous as described.”
The next planned step was for the DOT to conduct an onsite visit with Sawicki.
“There are some other things we can do in order to maybe increase caution on Captiva Drive and maybe signage,” Lanigan said, referencing some recommendations provided by the county.
One suggestion was to ensure vegetation is trimmed back from the right of way.
Mintz suggested that the panel come up with five points of concern.
“For example, the sand on the ‘Tween Waters stretch has got to be dealt with, the vegetation on the street has to be dealt with on Captiva Drive,” he said.
Mintz noted that the panel can work to solve the issues and if it cannot, it can turn to the DOT.
Panel Member Jay Brown, with the Wastewater Committee, also provided an update.
He reported that he had been notified by TKW Consulting Engineers that it is beginning to write the first draft of the report for the panel on the wastewater alternatives study. Brown added that Lee County instructed TKW to hold no meeting with the Captiva panel until the county had a one-on-one review.
The county meeting was reportedly that day and TKW would try to provide an update.
“He could give me a summery of what was discussed and then work with us to schedule a review meeting for us, but also including the Lee County people,” Brown said.
IN OTHER NEWS
– Mintz reported that Lee County staff rewrote the proposal on the Coastal Construction Control Line LCD amendment. The county has reinstated the 1978 line, which disappeared inadvertently in 2005.
“It’s a line of prohibition,” he said. “You can’t build anything seaward of the ’78 line, which on Captiva is really the beach.”
Mintz added that to do so would require a variance.
Staff also grandfathered in the one North Captiva septic that previously had been granted one.
“They have recognized the ’91 line, which is more landward, which is the state line jurisdiction,” he said. “So, basically, what they’ve done is reinstated what we originally wanted.”
A final public hearing is set for March 20, then the proposal goes before the Lee County Board of County Commissioners for approval.
– As president, Mintz recommended residents Hall Miller, John Dale and David Rohn to serve as the nominating committee for one potential vacancy coming up on the panel near the end of the year.
“It’s not a big job this year,” he said. “It’s only one position.”
The panel voted unanimously in support of the recommended names.
– Panel Member Dave Jensen, chair of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District, reported that the commissioners would be interviewing candidates at its March 14 meeting to fill Kathleen Rooker’s position. She had recently resigned as the administrator and registered agent for the CEPD board.
Jensen noted that Commissioner Richard Stegmann had also resigned.
“So we do have an opening on the commission is anyone is interested,” he said.
– Captiva Island Fire Control District Fire Chief Jeff Pawul reported that the district took part in the annual Fill the Boot drive on March 9-11 to help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“It was very successful weekend, even with all the rain on Saturday,” he said.
The district collected just over $4,000. Pawul noted that last year’s drive raised about $3,000.
“That’s the most we’ve ever had,” he said of this year’s collected total.