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CCP reviews report on island Plan, Code

By Staff | Apr 16, 2019

TIFFANY REPECKI The Captiva Community Panel discusses at the recent meeting island Plan and Code subjects highlighted by consultant and local planner David Depew as part of his research.

Having concluded discussions on issues raised by islanders as part of its process for updating the Captiva Code, the Captiva Community Panel turned to Plan and Code topics highlighted by its consultant.

At its April 9 meeting, the panel reviewed information from local planner David Depew.

Over the summer, he was charged with reviewing the new Captiva Plan, current Code and county ordinances on land use and development, then proposing any additional steps that the panel could take to protect the island’s Plan and zoning from future amendments that increase density and intensity.

Depew submitted his findings to the panel in September, and a review was set for April.

At the meeting, the topics discussed included: notification to the panel for any permits requiring removal of mangroves; providing the panel with copies of dredge and fill requests for island properties impacting uplands, wetlands and submerged lands on or within 500 feet of the high tide demarcation; impervious surface ratios to be determined and placed in the Code; and other highlighted issues.

After separate discussions, the panel decided to look further into the subjects of the dredge and fill requests and the impervious surface ratios and directed its staff to conduct additional research.

On the notification for mangrove removal permits, the members on the panel discussed the current process of going through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and questioned if there is a problem that needs to be addressed. They decided to keep it on their radar, but not look further into it.

The panel also agreed to see what comes from its new Sea Level Rise Committee on the topic.

One of the other issues highlighted by Depew and discussed by the panel was evacuation routes on Captiva and Lee County’s future plans for the maintenance and upkeep of Sanibel-Captiva Road.

“I think it’s very important,” Secretary Mike Mullins said. “I think we should try to preserve the evacuation routes.”

Mintz proposed asking county staffers to attend a meeting to discuss the subject. The panel voiced agreement for the plan, noting that staff could also touch on other issues like storm drains and speed.

Over the past few months, the panel has focused on discussing and deciding whether to look further into several topics raised by islanders through an online survey and at public workshops conducted last year. At last week’s meeting, it reviewed concerns written in the comments section of those surveys.

On the topic of cleaning up and landscaping the entrance to the beach on Andy Rosse Lane, panel members and those in the audience debated whether to simply fix the issue or get the county involved.

“We can fix it, landscape it,” Panel Member Rene Miville said. “The county is not going to care.”

Resident Wendy Childers, who brought the issue forward with her husband, explained that doing so would only be a temporary solution as the area would require ongoing maintenance to keep it up.

“We need a plan that’s enduring and can last,” she said. “That’s easy to maintain.”

All agreed that a committee would be formed to come up with a plan.

As for the issue of an island-wide bicycle path and sidewalk or boardwalk needed for pedestrians, the panel and attendees discussed and agreed that there is some concern for safety on some of the roads.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Sawicki recommended that the panel consider creating and enforcing a required setback for vegetation along the roads throughout the island. He explained that it would provide shoulder and safety space, without the time and money needed for road expansion.

“It would be the most readily available solution,” Sawicki said.

The panel directed staff to research possible existing setbacks and ones that could be adopted.

The panel decided not to do anything on the subjects of: burying power and cable lines, trolleys and other alternative transportation, affordable housing for island employees, alert system to limit vehicles on Captiva, toll on Blind Pass Bridge, cohesive plan and image for dissemination, and rabbit control.

Two issues – better hurricane communication, and better facilities and parking lot improvements at Alison Hagerup Beach – are being handled by the panel’s new Hurricane Communications Committee and the Captiva Erosion Prevention District, respectively.