CCP splits vote on golf cart zone, hears update about wastewater
The Captiva Community Panel voted to recommend to the county an extension of the golf cart zone down to the ‘Tween Waters Island Resort at its recent meeting, as well as received a wastewater update and approved adding septic tank regulations to its list of suggested amendments to the Captiva Code.
On Jan. 14, the panel voted 5-3 to relay to Lee County that it supports extending the existing zone permitted for golf cart operation to ‘Tween Waters, which is currently the only commercial property not included within the zone. The issue has been under recent discussion since ‘Tween Waters raised it.
President David Mintz, Vice President Mike Boris and Panel Member Mike Kelly voted against the recommendation, while Secretary Rene Miville, Treasurer Antje Baumgarten and Panel Members John Jensen, Jay Brown and Mike Mullins voted for supporting the recommendation that it be extended.
Panel Member Tony Lapi recused himself from the vote, noting his conflict of interest.
Panel Member Mike Lanigan had an excused absence.
The panel’s recommendation on the extension will be submitted to the county now, along with the record of the public comments made at the meeting and other recent CCP meetings when the topic was discussed. The next step would be for the Department of Transportation to conduct a safety study.
Prior to discussing the possible extension, Florida Transportation Engineering Senior Vice President Oliver Rodrigues – hired by ‘Tween Waters – presented the findings from its study of the area.
Rodrigues explained that the study examined the feasibility of extending the zone based on traffic volume, speed and composition, such as passenger vehicles, bicycles, scooters and such. His firm also reviewed traffic crash records over a four-year period and compared what other communities have.
“Our recommendation is to expand the golf cart zone to include the ‘Tween Waters area,” Rodrigues said. “The property has three driveways where U-turns can be made – to return to the Village.”
In a back-and-forth discussion, panel members debated if lowering the speed limit on the section of Captiva Drive along ‘Tween Waters might make it safer for golf carts and allow for the extension. They also covered vehicle passings, youths driving golf carts, safety belts in golf carts and night-time use.
Miville was one of the first to support a recommendation for the extension.
“I can’t wait to make a motion to approve this,” he said.
Others appeared to be more on the fence.
“I think people would appreciate the ability to drive golf carts along the Gulf,” Brown said, noting that renting carts is a visitor favorite. “But we already have safety risks in operating them in the Village.”
He added that he supports the extension, but also working to make golf cart usage safer.
Mintz explained that he is sympathetic to the situation ‘Tween Waters faces.
“I can’t support it so long as you have people driving 30 mph on that stretch,” he said, explaining that golf carts operating on the road will most likely go slower. “There’s going to be (vehicle) passing.”
“If we dropped the speed, I would have a completely different view,” Mintz added.
Also at the meeting, Brown – the Wastewater Committee chair – informed the panel of two separate meetings with Lee County Public Utilities Director Pamela Keyes and Sanibel officials and staff.
“I got a lot of input from both of those meetings,” he said.
Brown provided a summary of the central sewer alternatives available to the island, if that is the direction the community decides to take, along with the estimated costs for each alternative.
Based on the county-funded TKW study, he reported the following options:
Sanibel’s Donax plant processes all of Captiva (including South Seas Island Resort)
– South Seas properties: $16,429 each ($893 annual fee)
– Captiva septic properties: $23,429 each ($1,274 annual fee)
– Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva: $16,429 each ($893 annual fee)
Sanibel’s Donax plant processes part of Captiva (excluding South Seas Island Resort)
– South Seas properties: Status quo
– Captiva septic properties: $37,995 each ($2,066 annual fee)
– Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva: $30,995 each ($1,685 annual fee)
Brown noted that if Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva do not participate, the cost increases to $44,550 for each residential septic property, plus $2,422 annually, due to fewer properties for cost allocation.
He reported the additional following alternatives:
FGUA plant processes all of Captiva
– South Seas properties: $3,738 each ($203 annual fee)
– Captiva septic properties: $44,969 each ($2,445 annual fee)
– Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva: $37,969 each ($2,064 annual fee)
If Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva do not participate, the cost increases to $54,140 for each septic property, plus $2,944 annually, due to fewer properties for allocation of plant expansion costs and new collection system costs.
FGUA plant processes the Village only
– South Seas properties: $3,505 each ($191 annual fee)
– Village septic properties: $38,392 each ($2,087 annual fee)
– Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva: $31,392 each ($1,707 annual fee)
If Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva do not participate, the cost increases to $47,265 for each septic property, plus $2,570 annually, due to fewer properties for allocation of plant expansion costs and new collection system costs.
“The numbers are going to be dramatically higher (with FGUA) because now you have a plant expansion cost to allocate over everybody,” Brown said.
As for the meeting with Sanibel, he reported that both parties felt if the partnership was to move forward then Sanibel would design and build the collection system, then maintain the system.
“It would all be done under an interlocal agreement with Lee County,” Brown said.
He explained that Captiva would have to set up a municipal taxing authority to fund it, which will require the approval of 50 percent plus one of the property owners via the return of a notarized letter.
Brown also provided the panel with an estimated breakdown of what it might cost if the community decided to join Sanibel’s Donax system. By divvying up the approximate $18.9 million project between the 29 percent of commercial and 71 percent of residential property owners, he concluded that it could cost about $1,000 per year per residential property over 30 years – without including the annual fee.
Also during the meeting, the panel voted unanimously to include language on regulating the island’s existing septic tanks in the package of recommended Code changes that will go to Lee County.
Prior to the vote and discussion, Mintz reported that the proposed language is consistent with the pending state legislation on the issue and the county’s voluntary septic regulation program. Basically, it requires conventional systems to be pumped and inspected every five years to maintain operation.
“I really think we should do this,” Brown said, adding that it will create a database. “We have roughly 80 systems that are not permitted or undocumented. We ought to know something about those.”
“How do we advocate for water quality as a community if we don’t even inspect?” he added.
IN OTHER NEWS
– Mintz reported that Johnson Engineering completed and presented its study to the Lee County DOT on the sidewalk planned from Andy Rosse Lane to the post office and that the DOT accepted it.
“They said it meets their specifications,” he said.
Given the design and layout, Johnson Engineering is now working to determine how much land is needed from each of the six adjacent properties to allow for the construction of the sidewalk.
“What we have to ask each to donate for the right of way to make it happen,” Mintz said.
– The panel decided to ask Lee County if it can have an extra year on trying to create an MSTU for iguana control services on Captiva, rather than continuing to work toward the April 1 deadline.
– The panel instructed Administrator Ken Gooderham to request funding from the Lee County Tourist Development Council for proposed improvements to the beach entrance off of Andy Rosse Lane.
– The Sea Level Rise Committee reported that work on the vulnerability assessment started.