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CCP covers MSTU, talks with Ruane

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Feb 12, 2021

The Captiva Community Panel received an update on the iguana MSTU petitions, had the chance to speak with its new county representative and got a monthly update from the Sea Level Rise Committee.

At its Feb. 9 meeting, Administrator Ken Gooderham reported that there are 1,148 total properties, meaning at least 575 petitions need to be returned to create the unit to pay for iguana control services.

In order to create the MSTU, formal petitions were sent to every property owner who would be assessed as part of the new taxing unit. Fifty percent plus one of the total petitions sent must be signed and returned — “votes” in favor of the MSTU — for the county to proceed on forming the unit.

“Right now, we are sitting at 212 received,” he said, adding that an additional 112 petitions have been solicited or sent but not received and another 773 owners were sent petitions that are still pending.

Gooderham noted that 51 owners will not receive one because they are not eligible.

“They have to be in county hands by the end of March,” he said, explaining that properly completed petitions need to be returned to the CCP before the deadline so it can prepare them for submission.

“If we do not see a pick up in the pace, it will not get formed,” Gooderham added of the MSTU.

Also during the meeting, the panel had the opportunity to discuss with Lee County Commission Chairman Kevin Ruane issues that the CCP has been and is working on. Past President David Mintz, who is now the chair of the panel’s new Government Affairs Committee, provided an update on his recent talks with Ruane, with Ruane offering the CCP advice on how to proceed on some issues.

On the subject of the Captiva Code and ordinance amendments that the panel is hoping to have approved, Mintz reported that Ruane has directed county staffers to continue to work with the CCP to prepare those into a form that will be acceptable to the county’s committees and commissioners.

He noted that their first meeting on the matter was scheduled for this week.

Ruane explained that the good news of being the chair is he holds a leadership position on the commission. However, the bad news is he cannot make his own motions to bring an item to the floor for open discussion, meaning he must work with the other commissioners to accomplish tasks.

Still, outside from the proposed straw ban, Ruane did not see any issues with the amendments.

“I don’t anticipate any problems,” he said of the changes getting support from the commission.

Sitting President Jay Brown provided an overview of the panel’s work on wastewater alternatives and explained the need for funding for a detailed engineering study for a possible central sewer system.

Ruane reported that he has spoken with Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais about the subject. He added that Desjarlais and county staff are looking into possible options for how to fund that study.

“I’m comfortable and confident that in the next 30 days this will be resolved,” Ruane said.

He also suggested that the panel build partnerships with those on the Sanibel City Council heading into the future, explaining that a united Sanibel-Captiva front on this issue and others would be a benefit.

In addition, Mintz reviewed for the CCP his discussions with Ruane about rental properties violating zoning rules, as well as fishing at Blind Pass Bridge and a Roosevelt Channel manatee slow zone.

Several on the panel voiced appreciation for Ruane taking the time to talk with them.

Also at the meeting, Panel Member and Sea Level Rise Committee Chair Linda Laird provided a February report. She outlined the committee’s progress to date, including initial adaptation planning under way. Laird added that consultant Dr. Cheryl Hapke, of Integral Consulting, has submitted her proposal to develop and assess adaption alternatives for five focus areas, priced at about $35,000.

The committee will hold a special meeting on Feb. 17 at 9 a.m. via Zoom to discuss the proposal.

Following up on last month’s meeting, she also provided additional information about a project involving flood and sea-level prediction monitoring that may be of use to Captiva. Originating in the Carolinas, it uses real-time, water level monitoring with sensors, an Internet cloud platform, AI algorithms, NOAA data and more to predict water levels days out, accessible via the Web or an app.

Laird reported that two people have each pledged a donation and location to install a sensor.

“It appears to be very little work on our part,” she said. “If the panel wants to move forward.”

Panel Member Bob Walter asked about the total cost for each sensor.

Laird explained that it is a one-time cost of $500, covering the next five years for the project.

Secretary Mike Lanigan questioned the drop in cost from last month.

Laird reported that after the panel’s January discussion, she declined the proposed pricing and and was offered a new option, with a grant paying for everything and only the Web-based interface, no app.

“So it’s cheaper,” she said, adding that the only cost is for the sensors.

Brown voiced support for proceeding.

“I think it’ll provide a lot of information,” he said.

Walter floated the idea of installing sensors at South Seas Island Resort’s T-dock and marina.

Laird suggested one for Redfish Pass.

“There may be other things happening down there,” she said, explaining that there may be events occurring in the area not being seen on the bayside. “It may be a good idea to have one there.”

The panel directed Laird to find out the exact number of sensors that could be bought and installed on Captiva, as well as create a list of possible locations for them, and bring the details back in March.


– Vice President and Golf Cart Safety Committee Chair Treasurer Antje Baumgarten reported that county Department of Transportation staffers recently came out and the committee shared its ideas and concerns with them. It is now waiting for department staff to respond with some recommendations.

In addition, the committee will address better signage for those leaving South Seas for the Village.

“To make clear that in the Village we have different rules than when people drive golf carts in South Seas,” she said.

– Panel Member and Development Committee Chair Ann Brady reported that the CCP received $14,750 for the month for its memberships, bringing the total to about $52,790 to date. She added that the panel also recently received a $25,000 commitment from a local, private family foundation.

“So that would bring us to about $78,000,” Brady said.

“Our new goal is $100,000,” she added. “So that’s the direction we want to be headed.”

Brady pointed out that the number one reason people do not donate is because they are not asked.