CEPD discusses renourishment project, assessment process
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District continued its discussion on the island’s future beach renourishment project and proposed assessment methodology during its recent meeting.
On May 9, the board reviewed the project apportionment and referendum timeline. Administrator Damon Grant explained that APTIM Coastal Planning & Engineering is expected to present a report outlining the engineering, storm damage analysis and project cost to the board at its June meeting.
He noted that a methodology is being developed for the assessment process.
Prior to the presentation, staff will try to set up local meetings with the Boca Raton-based firm.
“We’re going to work on bringing some of those meetings here,” Grant said.
Also in June, economist Dr. William Stronge will present to the board the results of the recent Recreational Use of Captiva’s Beaches and Economic Impact study, taken in February and March.
For the study, roving surveyors sought data from island beach-goers. According to CEPD documents, annual beach attendance and spending numbers assist in obtaining grant funding for beach nourishment and provide a basis for the recreational benefit calculation for a project’s assessment.
The board expressed interest in seeing drafts of the reports prior to June in order to prepared.
After the meeting, APTIM will coordinate with Stronge on an updated report for July.
Vice Chair Mike Mullins voiced concern over the recreational use millage rates and how rental properties are assessed. He pointed out that any properties not homesteaded – single-family homes or condos, currently rented out or not – are rentable and should face a higher assessment for that.
By law, properties with a homestead exemption cannot be used as rentals.
“When we come up with an assessment, it’s based on the next eight years, not the last eight years,” Mullins said.
Since 1988, island-wide renourishment projects have taken place about every eight years. The upcoming one is planned for 2021, with a ballot referendum to go before voters in March.
The previous ballot referendums proposed to voters passed.
The most recent project took place in 2013 and involved 783,369 cubic yards placed along the shoreline from Redfish Pass to Blind Pass, rehabilitation of dunes, installation of 318,750 native dune plants and 80,823 cubic yards pumped onto northern Sanibel as part of an interlocal agreement.
Chairman Dave Jensen suggested creating a future video on the referendum for the public.
“Maybe a comparison of the previous before and after beach renourishment projects,” he said, recommending the addition of graphics showing the rise in property values after their completion.
Mullins also expressed concern over proper easements not being in place for the project.
They provide the CEPD with the right to access any involved properties for the renourishment.
“I did a random sample of one and guess what? It’s got some issues,” he said.
“I really think we need to pull out every easement and eyeball them,” Mullins added.
Hans Wilson, president of a marine engineer and environmental consultant firm that has worked with the CEPD for several years, explained that the CEPD was granted “perpetual” easements for any of the renourishment projects and and none of the related paperwork for the properties should say otherwise.
He recommended a review for handwritten notes that changed the access to less than 10 years.
John Bralove, CEPD assistant to the administrator, volunteered to examine the documents.
He noted that there are only 100 to 300 shoreline properties that will need review.
“It’ll be a fairly simple thing to do,” Bralove said.
Also at the meeting, Grant reported that the CEPD was reimbursed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a down payment that it had provided to the agency five or six years ago.
“We did receive a little over $29,000,” he said.
Grant provided the board with a Turner Beach Shoreline Stabilization Project update, reporting that Sanibel has applied for Lee County Tourist Development Council funds to move forward with it.
The city is also working on securing an engineer for the project.
He noted that staff will likely recommend APTIM.
“I see nothing but positives in what they want to do here,” Mullins said of the project.
“I think it’s all good,” he said.
Grant also provided an update on rope and bollard repairs and replacements along the beach, which were installed during the 2013-14 renourishment project. Following an inspection and tour of the area, staff roped off posts and ropes that required attention, and they next will gather contractor estimates.
He asked the board how quickly it wanted the project finished.
“If we want until Oct. 1 (the next fiscal year), it makes our life a lot easier,” Grant said.
The board agreed, asking that the public be notified closer to the project’s start.
A discussion of if and how to control the island’s iguana population also came up at the meeting. The board debated briefly before agreeing the Captiva Community Panel has rightfully taken the lead.
IN OTHER NEWS
– Grant reported that staff is looking to fund a CEPD beach vehicle through the TDC.
“It will have to be a middle-of-the-year request,” he said.
Gator Sports has provided a $10,798 estimate for a 2018 Polaris Ranger 570.
Grant suggested that a part-time monitoring employee be brought on to use the vehicle and travel the shoreline, identifying any issues that involve the dunes, vegetation, rope and bollards, and such.
He added that the person could educate the public and remove trash or even fish kills found.
“It gives us eyes and ears on the beach on what’s going on,” Grant said. “I think that could be packaged up and presented to the TCD.”
Wilson noted that a mid-year request may work with the county.
“This year they have a surplus of funds,” he said. “You might get them to agree to funding this.”
– Grant reported that the April budget reflects an increase in parking lot revenue – about $40,418 compared to the budgeted $28,833. Staff attributed the change to raising the fee from $4 to $5.
“There is a noticeable increase in our revenues,” he said.
In addition, the CEPD’s debt service stood at $700,000 as of the April budget.
“But each year we give an additional $100,000 to pay that off quickly,” Grant said.
He also noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering $1.139 million for reimbursement for storm damage. The assessment was passed off to engineers for a review.
“To make sure that we’re comfortable getting back that,” Grant said.
“The FEMA money goes toward the next beach renourishment,” he added.