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CEPD raises lot rates on interim basis

By Staff | May 19, 2020

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commission approved temporarily increasing parking fees at the Alison Hagerup Beach lot during its recent meeting, as well as approved a consultant’s contract.

On May 11, the commissioners voted 4-0 to raise the all-day rate to $40 and the rate for up to two hours of parking to $25; Treasurer Dick Pyle briefly left the meeting and did not cast a vote.

Administrator Joe Wagenti proposed the fee increases as a way to manage the recent backup and congestion of vehicles trying to park in the lot. Lee County lifted the COVID-19 related closure of its beaches, but with only one lot on Sanibel open to non-residents, visitors are going up to Captiva.

“There is a demand for parking at the moment,” Chairman Mike Mullins said.

Wagenti explained to the commission that the existing rates are $30 for all-day parking, $15 for three hours and $10 for two hours. He suggested eliminating the hourly rates and charging $50 per day.

“That sounds like (price) gouging to me,” Mullins said.

He floated an increase to $40 for all day instead.

Vice Chair Bob Walter questioned what staff is seeing based on the numbers.

“A lot of day-trippers,” Wagenti said. “We’re getting overflow traffic from Sanibel and elsewhere because we’re one of the only beaches open (with parking).”

He also reported to the commissioners that visitors have been observed paying for two hours, then staying longer than the two hours without putting more money into the meter for the additional time.

After some discussion, a motion was made to increase the fees to $40 and $25 in the interim.

The raised prices went into effect on May 15.

Sanibel is tentatively set to reopen its city-owned parking lots on June 1.

On a related subject, Wagenti reported that the beach parking attendant has been working Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. He anticipates keeping that schedule for the month.

He also reported that staff resumed its monitoring of the beach on May 8. Wagenti explained that surveying is done once a week on Fridays, but staff stopped doing it when the beaches closed.

Also at the meeting, the commission voted 5-0 to approve an hourly contract for a not-to-exceed amount of $4,979 with APTIM for support filing the 2021-22 Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s local government funding request regarding cost sharing for its coastal management.

Some commissioners questioned why the CEPD could not just refile last year’s application.

Wagenti explained that there are changes to this year’s form as the DEP is modifying the Florida Administrative Code Rule and preparing new ranking criteria to comply with changes to the funding process. He pointed out that the CEPD moved up in ranking based off the new criteria, however.

A motion to approve the contract passed in a 5-0 vote.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The commissioners voted to extend the CEPD’s state of local emergency.

– Wagenti reported that he received comments back from Lee County staff on the planned upgrades to the Alison Hagerup Beach parking lot, which he is addressing with the engineer and CEPD attorney.

– Wagenti reported that he received the draft audit back from the CEPD’s auditor. His intention is to have the final version available for approval at the June meeting as the deadline is June 30 to submit it.