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CCP hears about Code changes, golf carts, more

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Jun 14, 2021

The Captiva Community Panel received an update on its proposed Captiva Code and ordinance amendments, voiced support for changes to its golf cart ordinance, and heard from the Sea Level Rise Committee on a national grant request and the installation of a tidal sensor at its recent meeting.

On June 8, panel Government Affairs Committee Chair David Mintz provided an update on the ongoing work with Lee County officials and staff to get changes to the Code applicable to the island and some ordinances approved. It previously went through a similar process on its Captiva Plan.

Mintz explained for the panel that the negotiations with staff over the Land Development Code amendments it had proposed were recently finalized and accepted, except for one part. At a June 1 meeting, the county commissioners voted to send the revisions on to their advisory committees.

The Land Development Code Advisory Committee, Executive Regulatory Oversight Committee and the Local Planning Agency will review the amendments. After committee review, the proposed changes will be brought back to the county commission for consideration for approval at two public hearings.

“As you can see, this is a process and it’s an extensive one,” he said.

In terms of the revisions accepted and passed along by county staff, Mintz reported that the panel’s amendments regarding beach furniture and equipment, outdoor lighting, tree and landscaping adjacent to Captiva Drive, and residential identification signs and temporary real estate signs were accepted.

“They have accepted our Dark Sky (regulation). They accepted our beach furniture and equipment regulation — lighting. All of our changes in the property regulations with respect to signs, with respect to the buffer on Captiva Drive for the shoulder and everything else,” he said. “The litter is covered.”

Mintz continued that the one part not accepted by the staff, which was struck from the documents, related to the panel’s proposed dune vegetation protection and prohibiting walking, sitting, standing or such on dunes, except when using approved and permitted beach walk-over structures and ramps.

He reported that staff pointed to existing LDC language prohibiting such activities, though the word “walk” is not used. But, Mintz added, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District is putting up signs.

“So the only thing they didn’t accept was the no walking on the dunes,” he said. “They prohibited everything else on the dunes, and the walking thing, I think, will be covered by the CEPD.”

Mintz noted that he anticipates the revisions may go before the county commission in the autumn.

While the Code amendments make their way through the advisory committees, Mintz will begin the same process with the county staffers and officials on a handful of ordinance amendments proposed by the panel. The ordinance changes are related to septic system regulation, fertilizer, parking and noise.

He reported that the plastic straw ordinance will have to be revisited sometime in the future as it appears the panel’s proposal has found significant opposition in unincorporated Lee County.

GOLF CART ORDINANCE

Mintz reported that Vice President and Golf Cart Committee Chair Antje Baumgarten previously presented the panel with proposed changes to an existing county ordinance that regulates the use of golf carts on designated roads on Captiva. However, the panel’s position on the changes were unclear.

He explained that in beginning to work with county staff on the previously mentioned ordinance amendments, which includes the golf cart use revisions, an official stance from the panel would help.

There are two proposed additions to the ordinance, which are:

– No persons on a golf cart shall have any open alcoholic beverages in their possession.

– All golf carts that are leased or rented for use on Captiva, or that are provided by rental properties on Captiva for use by renters, must have a visible company or property identification and number on both sides of the golf cart and a permanent sticker on the dashboard or windshield advising clients that underaged drivers, open alcoholic beverages, driving on the beach, on road shoulders, and outside of permitted golf cart zones are strictly prohibited. Companies that lease or rent golf carts for use on Captiva must instruct their customers at the time of the rental of the rules set forth in this ordinance governing the use of golf carts on Captiva.

Panel Member John Jensen asked about the fine or punishment for violators.

“It’s a non-criminal infraction,” Mintz said. “It’s a traffic offense.”

A motion to approve the proposed additions to the existing ordinance passed.

SEA LEVEL RISE COMMITTEE

Panel Member and SLR Committee Chair Linda Laird provided an update on the grant request submitted to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with the city of Sanibel and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, for funds to create an adaptation plan for the islands.

She reported that the joint request has passed the first phase or pre-proposal step of the grant application process, and that they have been invited to present a full proposal this month.

A motion for the panel to write a letter of support for the grant request passed.

Laird also reported that the Sunset Captiva community’s board agreed to install the tidal sensor on one of its docks. At last month’s meeting, the panel approved the purchase of the sensor for $500 in order to take part in a flood and sea-level prediction monitoring project that utilizes real-time, water level data.

She added that the board thought it will be good for the community.

“So that’s all well and good,” Laird said.

She noted that Sanibel is also taking part in the project, which orientated on the coastline of the Carolinas and now includes various areas. The city will place its sensor on the Sanibel police dock.

Laird also reported that the paperwork has been signed for the Adaptation Alternatives Proposal and consultant Cheryl Hapke, of Integral Consulting, is set to begin on the adaptation planning project.

IN OTHER NEWS

– Panel President and Wastewater Committee Chair Jay Brown reported that Kimley-Horn, the engineering firm conducting the Phase 2 — Septic Conversion Feasibility Study, is “proceeding very aggressively” with the plan. The study is being funded with a $100,000 grant from Lee County.

“A lot of progress has been made since I last reported to you,” he said.

Brown explained that the firm has visited the three package plants on Captiva and it appears there would be no issues hooking them up to a main sewer line and replacing them with small lift stations.

Kimley-Horn will present its basic conceptual plan at the panel’s meeting in July.

The firm also finished a nutrient reduction analysis for if the island was to convert from septics.

“Their analysis very closely parallels the analysis we have had from SCCF in the past,” he said, adding that the findings are septic systems are a significant contributor to nutrient loading of coastal waters.

– Jensen, who has been serving as the iguana liaison, reported that Alfredo Fermin of AAA Wildlife Trapping and Removal Services continues to come out weekly on Tuesdays. He added that Lee County will only cover the service through September since the MSTU did not receive community approval.

“We’re on our own after that,” Jensen said.

He offered a breakdown comparison of nearby areas.

According to Jensen, Marco Island is 24 square miles, has weekly service with the use of a gun allowed, and budgets $25,000 annually with about 450 properties serviced. Sanibel is 17.5 square miles, has weekly service with the use of a gun allowed, and budgets $40,000 with the total set to increase to $70,000. Captiva is 2 square miles and allows the use of a gun, except at South Seas.

He continued that in talking with Fermin, Fermin explained that having the service once every two weeks would still help the island keep the iguanas under control. Fermin offered to come out every two weeks for $550 — the county is currently paying him $500 a week — for about $14,300 each year.

“We could either go back to the county and see if they want to pay for that, we could take private donations, or we could let homeowners deal directly with Alfredo,” Jensen said.

After some discussion among the panel, Brown and Mintz agreed that they would go back to the county to see if it would be willing to cover the annual cost, while Jensen will continue to speak with Fermin.

– Verizon will make a presentation at the July meeting about adding small cell towers on Captiva.