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Island bus ordinance gets pushed back another month

February 11, 2014
By MCKENZIE CASSIDY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Sanibel City Council voted again to postpone further consideration of a bus ordinance until new language could be read and commented on by stakeholders.

First presented at the end of last year, the city council has postponed the ordinance for two straight months.

It would prohibit vans or buses mostly for tourists from parking, stopping, or standing in any public street or right-of-way for the purposes of allowing passengers to exit or enter the vehicle. School buses would not be included.

According to an Island Reporter poll on Jan. 2, asking whether buses should be allowed to stop or stand near the beach, 81 percent of respondents answered no.

New ordinance language was presented at the Feb. 4 council meeting that would allow vehicles to unload passengers in designated parking spots next to the beach. Of course, these spots would have to be "lawful and authorized parking spaces" and vehicles would need to pay any applicable parking fees.

The city would also need to start designating the new spots.

Council agreed unanimously at the last meeting to hold off for another month.

"We received a second copy of the ordinance with the appropriate changes," said Mayor Kevin Ruane. "I'm going to make a motion to continue it for one more month."

Vice Mayor Doug Congress, who was the dissenting vote on the bus ordinance, said he would support the current draft.

"I was the sole dissenting vote on this ordinance. Some people got together and came up with some language and I thought it was a great step ahead and I would support the changes," said Congress.

Council Member Jim Jennings, who was not present on council the last time the ordinance was discussed, said he felt there needed to be some regulations on the books.

"We need to have some way to have control of our island so we could actually say a bus can stop here and can't stop here," said Jennings. "Buses will do what we say and not what county commission says."

The council will further take up the bus ordinance at its March 4 meeting.



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