CCP approves Code amendments for review
The Captiva Community Panel finalized the revisions to its suggested Captiva Code updates and approved sending the recommendations on to Lee County for review at its recent meeting, as well as agreed to initiate a wastewater straw poll and heard about a proposed project for the Crow’s Nest.
At the March 10 meeting, President David Mintz presented the feedback received from property owners on the panel’s proposed changes to the existing Code. Letters had been sent out for people to share their thoughts, which Mintz incorporated into the draft amendments for a panel discussion.
Proposed updates to the language of the Code recommendations included:
– Septic system regulations: Clarifying the definition of “failure” and “system capacity,” adding in a notification to the appropriate agency that the repair of a failure was completed, and removing the word “complete” that preceded “upgrade or overall of a system to meet current code requirements”
– Fertilizer regulation: Changing the start of the blackout date from June 1 to July 1 to make the language consistent with the city of Sanibel’s Code related to fertilizer regulation
– Dune vegetation protection: Adding the words “currently or historically” before “existing sparsely vegetated” and adding the word “private” before “pedestrian walkthroughs”
– Beach protection: Replacing the reference to the 1978 Coastal Construction Control Line with “foredune or vegetation line, whichever is most seaward,” adding “between Alison Hagerup Park and the south end of Wiles Drive” to apply it to the Village only, and removing all criminal penalties
– Noise disturbance: Clarifying the hours as “between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.” and replacing “resort property” with “resort-owned property”
– Signs not requiring a permit: Increasing the size of construction signs from four square feet to six square feet, which will match the size dimensions for residential signs
As the panel worked through the proposed updates that were based on public input, some discussion took place, with members offering their opinion. In the end most, if not all, agreed to the changes.
It then voted to transmit the finalized Code amendments to the county for review.
Prior to the vote, Panel Member Jay Brown raised the question of whether the Code amendments should be placed on a referendum and mailed out for people to vote on before sending them on to Lee County. Several panel members objected, citing a lengthy thorough process that led to the present.
The panel’s process for updating the Captiva Code included four public workshops and an online survey to gather feedback from property owners on a range of potential island-related concerns. That list was then cut down by eliminating topics that involved preemptive legislation, already had laws or regulations in place to address them, ranked lowest on the priority list for respondents, and so on.
The 31 pared-down issues were divided into four categories – protection of natural resources; protection of community resources; clean air and water protections; and buildings, signs and lights – and each category was discussed at a monthly meeting with the public able to provide its input.
The tentative Code amendments were drafted, which the panel then workshopped. Once the panel was in agreement on them, the recent letter outlining the proposed changes to the Code was mailed out.
“We have done everything possible to reach out to the community,” Secretary Rene Miville said in response to a referendum. “This is a classic, ‘tail wagging the dog’ – we need to move on.”
Following the vote, Mintz outlined the next steps for the panel. He explained that the county and county attorney would review the proposed changes, then discuss and negotiate the suggestions with the panel. Once an agreement is met, the changes then go to the county commissioners for a vote.
Brown, chair of the Wastewater Committee, explained to the panel that he has been developing materials since the public workshop in January to construct a straw poll to gauge the public’s stance on the island’s wastewater alternatives: maintain the status quo or switch to a central sewer system.
He presented the panel with his draft poll, which it provided feedback on.
Brown also reported that he met with panel consultant David Tomasko and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Following the January workshop, the SCCF released a report disagreeing with the findings of Tomasko’s study. Brown had set the meeting to better understand its stance.
“We listened to their rationale,” he said.
Brown reported that the SCCF took issue with the water samples Tomasko used in the study to determine the nutrient content of the groundwater because they were clustered in one area, not spread island-wide. The SCCF said the samples were unreliable for conclusions on present-day impact.
Brown added that he tends to believe Tomasko’s analysis overall.
“Still I think SCCF’s opinion is reasonable and should be included in the information (distributed) to the public,” he said, noting that he included reference to the SCCF’s stance in the poll materials.
After some discussion, the panel directed Brown to proceed with sending out the poll.
It also decided that it would decide on a wastewater recommendation, if any, at its next meeting.
CROW’S NEST PROJECT
Robert Fowler, president of Fowler Construction and Development, presented the panel with a proposed project planned for the Crow’s Nest at the ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. The aim is to replace the food service structure at the pool, building above the existing restaurant portion of it.
“We’re taking the usable restaurant space and moving it upstairs,” he said, explaining that it will provide Gulf views with the entrance remaining the same. “There’s going to be storage downstairs.”
Asked about height, Fowler said the floor level will be the same as the resort’s Wakefield Room.
“I think it’s going to be a real attractive place and an asset to the community,” he said.
The project is currently in permitting with the county.
“We’d love to start this in April, but we’ll see how it plays out,” Fowler said.
Panel Member Tony Lapi, president of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, which includes ‘Tween Waters, noted that the Crow’s Nest was built in 1972 and has undergone minor renovations over the years.
“This one will kind of be a major one overall,” he said.
Lapi added that the downstairs renovation will take place at the same time.
“Because that has to be updated as well,” he said.
IN OTHER NEWS
– The panel voted to approve $22,500 in additional funds related to the Captiva Drive improvement project, which involves the construction of a sidewalk from Andy Rosse Lane to the post office.
Johnson Engineering had originally budgeted for three properties, but six will be needed.
– In his monthly update, Lee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Mike Sawicki provided the panel and attendees with a breakdown of the required equipment for golf carts that intend to use the extended zone. He was asked at a prior meeting what exactly is legally required on carts to operate them.
Sawicki reported that carts must have functioning brakes, steering and tires, along with a rearview mirror and red reflective warning devices on the front and back. He noted that some people are using reflective tape in place of warning devices which is OK, but the tape needs to be large and visible.
“Use your best judgement,” Sawicki said. “Don’t cheap out.”
Night-time usage requires headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield or barrier.
“If you have a golf cart, have a look at the ordinance and bring your cart into compliance,” he said.
Sawicki noted that vehicles are not allowed to pass golf carts.
“It’s a passing violation,” he said.
Mintz reported that he recently spoke with county officials.
“They have received lots of calls from people who are concerned,” he said of the zone extension.
Mintz added that the county plans to monitor the situation and will consider changes if necessary.