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Bus ordinance continued to next month

January 15, 2014
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A controversial ordinance that would prohibit buses to stop, park or stand in any public street for the purpose of allowing passengers to enter or exit will have to wait another month.

On Tuesday, the Sanibel City Council voted unanimously to continue the ordinance to the Feb. 4 meeting as requested by two organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce.

The Council did make some important decisions during its meeting, many of them coming in the final minutes.

Among them, it reappointed Chuck Ketteman, Tom Krekel and John Talmage as planning commissioners.

City Manager Judith Zimomra updated the council on progress regarding the Verizon Tower. The company had its permit extended to March 17 while the city continued to evaluate ways to get better phone service onto the island.

Some council members, including Mick Denham, expressed concern that not only would the tower be too obtrusive, but in the nearly three years it has taken to get the tower up, the technology may now be out of date.

"A tower doesn't require as much height. The technology is different today," Denham said. "A selection for the location of the tower must be done with today's technology in mind."

Indeed, residents complained that in order to get the best cell phone use, one would have to go to the end of the island and make contact with the tower on Fort Myers Beach.

Businesses, such as the Sanibel Arms, said that people pay good money to stay there, yet have to go to the party room to talk to anyone.

When asked if a committee would be set up to look into the subject, Mayor Kevin Ruane said it wasn't likely.

During closing remarks, Denham said he had spoken with two hoteliers who were interested in perhaps coming to Sanibel, but were concerned with the city laws regarding room size limitations.

Denham made a motion to ask staff to look into changing the room code to allow rooms up to 600 square feet, because that was what the hoteliers said they needed and because he said such an increase would not impact room density.

One resident cautioned that if they allowed "overbuilt" resorts it would allow them to be overbuilt even more, perhaps with multiple stories.

Council voted 4-0 to look into it.

In his closing comment, Ruane said it had occurred to him there was not a set protocol regarding the evaluation of the city manager or city attorney.

"We've had one evaluation in my seven years in office. There's no formal process," Ruane said. "We should have this protocol on an annual basis."

Ruane made a motion to evaluate the city manager and city attorney on an annual basis and to formalize the process, as well as make it retroactive for the previous six years he's been in office. Both were approved unanimously.

Councilmember Jim Jennings was not at the meeting, having undergone surgery on his carotid artery.



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