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Forum Notes

May 13, 2010

Captiva Library




Community Vision
Land Use/
Transportation Public


Future Community Vision:

  • Overarching concern:  How do we envision a community that isn’t dependent on growth as the primary tax base, job creator, and basis for sustainability?
  • Need a vision where the county is not only income dependent
  • Don’t make the comp plan too much of a living document
    • Once the vision for Lee County is established, changes should be selective and managed
  • Quality of Life
    • There needs to be a year- round focus on community, rather than seasonal tourism
  • Community Character
    • Maintain status quo for Captiva (c. 1983)
    • Economic Development
      • Stop the “growth pyramid scheme”
      • Whether there is growth or not, be prepared and be able to maintain county
      • We feel like a donor community
      • We need to better prioritize our community funding efforts
        • Red Sox and swim centers which may not be for the long term are not the best use of public dollars
        • Focus on long-term diversification of our business base
      • Focus on stable businesses that utilize existing infrastructure and population
      • Economic health depends on place in county
        • Industry to support hospitals in the city
    • Cultural/Social Development and Resources
      • Senior citizen support – have to prioritize services
    • Environmental
      • Balance growth and environment
      • Greater appreciation of resources in the county and their importance to health and economy of county
        • Water, environment, beaches, etc. …
      • Use water resources wisely
        • Do not stop current residents from using it in order to allow for future growth
      • There are too many septic tanks and runoff is probable
      • The current population demands strain the environment and environmental resources
    • Land/Community Development
      • No more blank checks for growth
      • Plan for no growth in the foreseeable future – 5 to 10 years
      • Respect the individual parts of the county
        • Cities, unincorporated areas, local communities
      • Improve code enforcement
        • Maybe through a part-time person from the county
        • Alternative: An intergovernmental agreement with Sanibel
    • Transportation
      • Improved accessibility for the residents of Captiva
        • Increased public transportation
        • Opportunities for islanders who cannot drive to gain access to other parts of Lee County
        • Opportunities for islander to age in place and remain active in their community
      • Do not place structures on causeway
      • US 41 is awful!

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Land Use/Development:

  • There should be proactive planning for community rather than reactive planning
  • There is not as much leadership in terms of planning that we would like
  • Development pattern/style
    • Plan for the future when/if the population decreases
      • Strip malls, golf courses, big boxes, and other buildings are being abandoned
      • What will we do with these buildings?
      • Some can be redeveloped into other uses, but it will be expensive and hard because of the transportation system
      • End use (redevelopment/plan B) ought to be considered as part of the development process
      • How we recycle buildings is an essential part of the planning/development discussion and process
    • Smart growth – less sprawl
      • Look at models in other parts of the country
    • Encourage a mix of uses rather than separation of uses
    • Connectivity is lacking at 41
    • Establish water-sensitive areas and do not allow development to occur there
    • Lee County should foster a development pattern that produces less sprawl, more mixed-use, fewer gated communities, and no walls
      • Gated communities destroy the sense of community
      • Whiskey Creek is a good model for sense of community – no gates.
  • Prominent features
    • Lee County developments should use libraries, community centers, parks, landscaping, and trails to build a sense of community
    • Every community should incorporate sense-of-place standards into their plan
    • The Lee Plan should foster community standards
    • No development should have big walls that separate the neighborhood from the rest of the community
    • Encourage hurricane-sensitive building and design
    • Promote green spaces and trails
      • Lee County should have more of them, they should be connected, and they should be accessible to all areas of the county.
      • People should not have to go to Sanibel to ride a bike
      • Lee County should look to western seaboard states and Minnesota as a models for how to build communities with good trail systems
      • Green space should be a featured part of every community
    • US 41 is the ugliest road ever
    • Too much property is zoned commercial
    • Only sustainable commercial use should be permitted in the future
    • Flyovers are a poor expenditure of transportation funds
  • Design characteristics
    • Protect the unique qualities of the barrier islands
    • Tired of Mediterranean architecture and design style
    • Promote “Old Florida” design
  • Development practices
    • Lee County should identify places appropriate for development and all density and community centers there
    • Encourage a sense of community through land development regulations
    • Captiva Community Panel is good, but let us develop the code
    • Coordinate land development practices to support transit
    • Increase the financial penalties for removal of native vegetation so that the penalties actually deter violators
    • County should have a greater role in mangrove preservation regulation
    • There is a lack of code enforcement
      • Need to be better across the board
  • Urban form / rural character
    • Today’s form is a “hodge podge” and makes no sense
    • Plan for the urban form now, do not let it just happen
      • Remember that 25 years ago, 41 was not envisioned as a long continuous strip mall all the way to Bonita Springs

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  • More dozing bulls; less bulldozers
  • Parks and public spaces
    • Lee County should learn from other highly valued communities’ models for livability
    • Greenscape standard should be stronger
      • Increase property values
      • Diminish the look of the “asphalt jungle”
      • Greenscape US 41
      • Major roadways should look more like McGregor Blvd at Gulf Harbour
      • Walled off neighborhoods and gated communities should be stopped in favor of greenscaped corridors and landscaping along the streets
      • Increased, accessible, greenscaped areas, neighborhood parks, community centers/gathering spaces should be a requirement for all developments – both residential and commercial
    • Parks should better engage their neighborhoods and commercial
      • New Brittany Office Park is a good example of an integrated area with parks and greenscape
    • Neighborhood parks should be a focus of future planning efforts
      • Community buy-in and low maintenance
    • Lee Plan should focus on how to link and interconnect the county’s parks and open spaces
      • Pedestrian sidewalks
      • Bike-ped trails
    • How can you ask people to stagger use of parking for beaches?
    • May want to have multiple toll rates for the causeway according to the times people use the bridge
    • Need a dog park
    • Regional parks like Lakes Park are good but hard to get to
  • Conservation areas
    • Green space means more than vacant lands
    • 20/20 is good
      • Establish a more reliable source of revenues.  Consider using property tax instead of doc stamps. 
    • Can 20/20 monies be used for something else?
    • Need more money from county for beaches
    • Boating/water access is important for lifestyle
    • Lee County needs cows and farm lands – loss of cows and tomato fields has been a big problem
  • Access and location
    • Utilize trees for shade in parking areas
    • Causeway toll is too high

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  • Roadways
    • Lee Plan should focus on fostering complete streets
      • Take advantage of the economy and downturn in current development to redirect the past focus
    • Safety lane good but needs to be cleared more often
    • Transportation system on the island is good but there needs to be more focus on maintenance
    • Don’t let BOCC/staff feel that they have to shoulder everything – NGOs and local community groups can provide continuity that elected officials may not be able to due to politics and changes in public will/need
    • Public-private partnerships needed for access
    • Need county to cooperate with ideas to eliminate parking problems on Captiva
      • Particularly at night
    • Communities should not be divided by roads
      • Currently, roadways define communities
  • Multimodal
  • Sidewalks/trails
    • All roadways should have sidewalks
    • Need to improve walkability of the county – particularly along major routes
    • Pedestrians need walkovers or safe cross walks to get across major roadways
    • Need more pedestrian friendly roads
    • Kids should be able to walk to school safely.  However, due to current development patterns they cannot even walk across the street.
      • Walkable schools would decrease the need for school busing
    • You should not HAVE to DRIVE across the street in order to get to somewhere safely
  • Bikeways
  • Transit
    • There are not many transit options
    • There is a safety problem with existing transit stops along most roadways
    • Buses stop running too early and do not serve the working population well

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Public Services:

  • Public services on Captiva are generally good
  • Public services, especially human services, are being greatly impacted by county budget problems
  • Utilities
    • Electrical co-op should be better
      • Some redundancy would improve service
      • We have too many power outages on the island
      • Coordinate with telephone lines
    • Solid waste services on the island are good
  • Land Development
    • Plan seems more flexible than community would desire
  • Government Services
    • People on Captiva do not ask for more than other areas
    • Tell the Captiva community what they pay in bed taxes
    • Too many decisions/meetings when people are not here
      • It is seen as deliberate to keep people from being able to participate
    • Captiva gives more money than it gets in services
    • Captiva gets heavily taxed, but has little ability to impact elections
    • Lee County should be cognizant of economy and fees to address the costs of services
    • Community should be involved in changing the MSTU
    • Increase county support for child care
  • Schools
    • School assignment process is too difficult
    • Higher education is much improved in the county – FGCU and Edison
    • Kids should be able to walk to school but cannot due to school locations, walkability of major streets, and design of neighborhoods
      • Forces bus ridership
  • Emergency services
    • Police services on the island are good
    • Captiva needs an ambulance stationed on the island
    • Helicopter service for Captiva has diminished
    • Why is a fire truck always sent out with an ambulance?  Seems costly and a waste of resources.
    • It is a long way to hospitals from the islands
    • Emergency rooms – 20 minutes from the hospital is not too much
    • Perhaps fire districts should share costs
  • Other
    • County makes certain that the library gets what is requested on Captiva
    • Excellent library system

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