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CCP to try for grant funding again from county

August 17, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI (trepecki@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Captiva Community Panel will continue to seek grant funding from Lee County for its work on updating the Captiva Code - but in a lesser amount - as well as create an advocacy committee.

Last month, the panel learned from county officials that funding will no longer be provided to community planning groups as it has been in the past. The island panel had requested $50,000 for the upcoming fiscal year to fund ongoing work it is doing to amend the Land Development Code.

At its Aug. 14 meeting, the panel voted unanimously for President David Mintz to submit another request to county officials and the Lee County Commission for a revised amount of $35,000. He had spoken to Commissioner John Manning, who suggested a smaller figure may be more acceptable.

Article Photos

TIFFANY REPECKI
Captiva Community Panel Member Jay Brown, chair for the Wastewater Committee, provides an update on the Captiva Island Wastewater Alternative Study at the panel's Aug. 14 meeting.

"They have brought this process in-house," Mintz said of the county and community planning, explaining that staffers now visit the unincorporated areas, evaluate them and recommend changes.

"I think it indicates a lack of participation in the other communities," he added.

Mintz noted, however, that the panel is and has been actively involved in its community.

"Our situation is unique," he said. "We tried to express that in the (new) letter."

Treasurer Tom Rathbone asked if there was a way to leave the door open for the extra $15,000.

"I would be pleased if we got the $35,000 at this point. They have, obviously, cut off all grant funding for community panels," Minz said. "I'm not completely optimist - $35,000 would be a victory."

Also at the meeting, the panel discussed if it should take action on the water quality crisis.

Secretary Mike Mullins floated the idea of possibly forming an advocacy committee.

"I don't know if we want to be in the advocacy business," he said, adding that he would be willing to run the committee if the panel did want to do so. "I think it's appropriate - I think we should."

Panel Member Ante Baumgarten voiced support for the idea and joining the committee.

The panel discussed how its recently-launched new website could be used to provide updates to the island's residents, property owners, visitors and businesses about the situation and conditions.

The panel decided to move forward with forming the advocacy committee, with an outline of its mission and role to be presented at the September meeting. Public comment and feedback is welcome and being accepted by Mullins and Baumgarten, who both plan to serve as committee members.

"Captivans have started to send emails and FB (Facebook) messages with ideas of what to do (regarding) red tide and related water crises that our advocacy committee will address," Mullins reported via email on Aug. 16.

To provide input to the committee, email captivacommnitypanel@gmail.com.

During the meeting, Panel Member Jay Brown - chair for the panel's Wastewater Committee - provided an update on the Captiva Island Wastewater Alternative Study. After the recent completion of the study, the panel came up with a list of items it felt needed further explanation and clarification.

"To make the report more valuable to the public," he said.

Brown reported that he has been in communications with county staff and Douglas Eckmann, chief operating officer and engineering manager for TKW Consulting Engineers, which conducted the study.

"I think he is going to incorporate many of those suggestions into the report," he said.

One area of concern is how the project's costs are presented on the best recommended method for implementing a central sewer system - in a partnership with Sanibel - if the island chooses to do so. Brown explained that he is trying to get the total costs broken down annually for property owners.

"I'm trying to get the report so there's a cost people can relate to," he said.

Another area is the environmental rationale in the study for switching to central sewer.

"The study should explain what favorable measurable impact there would be getting off of septic," Brown said. "What the right thing to be doing for the long-term health of our community?"

Panel Member Dave Jensen agreed that the study is missing a water quality angle.

"I think you're right on target, Jay," he said.

Brown added that the impact of the rising sea level on septics is not thoroughly addressed.

"I'm working with Doug to make this more tangible for people," he said.

Brown also reiterated that the information in the study - project costs, placement of lift stations and more - are all theoretical and simply designed to give the panel and island an idea of how the different alternative wastewater scenarios might work: maintain status quo, regulating septics or central sewer.

He explained that if Captiva property owners decide to move forward with an option, like implementing central sewer, more studies, engineering reports and such would be done.

Brown anticipates having a revised copy of the report for the September meeting.

"I think Doug has been receptive to all the questions that the Wastewater Committee gave him," he said. "I think there's going to be a lot of changes in the report, given our direction."

IN OTHER NEWS

- Tina Ekblad, partner and planning director for Morris-Depew Associates, did an informational presentation on a setback variance being requested for the Starbucks in Chadwick's Square. It allows for a second entrance facing Captiva Drive and the building of a wooden deck and a paved patio.

- Ekblad provided an informational presentation on a separate setback variance being requested for a residence at 15180 Wiles Drive. It grants relief for 4 inches from the required 7-foot side setback.

 
 

 

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