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CEPD eyes postponing renourishment’s start

By Staff | Mar 10, 2020

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District recently provided an update to island property owners regarding the status of the future beach renourishment project being planned for Captiva.

In early March, the district reported via its “Beach Brief” e-newsletter that the island’s beaches have been holding up so well that the CEPD is considering postponing the project “until at least the spring of 2021.” The working timeline previously outlined for the renourishment involved a start date of 2020.

“It’s not definite at all,” Administrator Joe Wagenti said on March 5 of postponing the project. “Before we settle on any date, it has to go before the board – and the board has to have a motion on it.”

He added that the motion would require passing approval from the CEPD board.

Talk of possibly pushing back the start date stemmed from new information the CEPD received.

“We got the engineer’s report about six weeks ago. It said the beach was holding up better than they expected,” Wagenti said. “We also started talking with Sanibel about bringing it into the project.”

He noted that the two islands are working to reinstate an interlocal agreement that expired.

“So we’re in talks right now with Sanibel to maybe bring them into our renourishment project,” Wagenti said. “And we still have to straighten out our interlocal agreement with them.”

In the meantime, the CEPD board is still reviewing an apportionment methodology that has been proposed for the renourishment, and it will continue to discuss the project in the coming months. The public is encouraged to attend the CEPD’s board and briefing meetings to learn about the process.

In the Beach Brief, the future milestones provided for the project were:

– Finalizing the proposed tentative apportionment by board vote, as soon as the analysis and discussions are completed later this year.

– Property owners will receive notification letters with an estimated low to high range for tentative apportionment once accepted by the board, which will also include the date of a CEPD public hearing. The hearing will be held for questions, concerns and further information.

– Following the project’s completion, a final apportionment will be completed and a final public hearing will be held. This means that a preliminary assessment roll will be created after the project is completed and all costs and funding grants are known.

– More details will be provided to the public as the CEPD approaches project construction and no assessments will occur before approximately one year post-project completion. The assessment process is likely to occur in 2022 or early 2023.

Wagenti explained that property owners receiving their first assessment after the project has been finished is normal and is the same process the CEPD has used in past beach renourishments.

“We’ll know the real cost of the project then,” he said. “It may be a year after the project is over, is what I’m being told – then they can pay it in full, or they have seven years to pay it off.”

Last year, Captiva voters approved a bond not to exceed $18 million and that which would be assessed at actual cost once the work is completed. The restoration work needed was estimated at $30 million, with funding to be allocated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Lee County, Lee County Tourism Development Council and island property owners. The CEPD is also communicating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explore other funding possibilities on a federal level.

To sign up for the CEPD’s Beach Briefs, contact mycepd@mycepd.com or 239-472-2472.