Friday, June 28, 2013

Congratulations to the new Knight Island/Don Pedro Island Streets and Drainage MSTU Advisory Committee!

Okay, so lets just call it the “Roads & Bridges” Committee, or R&B for short. On Tuesday, June 25th, the Board of County Commissioners voted to fill the 6 positions on the new committee from candidates who applied from around the Island. The ordinance forming the committee detailed representatives to be appointed from each of 4 geographical “districts” plus one at-large member and one at-large alternate. It also restricted membership to “resident electors” only (candidates who are property owners in the MSTU and are registered to vote using that address).

Here are our new committee members:

District #1 – Jeffery O. Jacobson

District #2 – Timothy W. Malone (There were no applicants that reside in this district. The Board decided to select an applicant from another district to fill the vacancy.)

District #3 – David J. Witters

District #4 – Linda B. Cotherman

Regular at large member – William E. McNulty

Alternate at large member – Donald W. Milroy

According to an email from Sandra Wright of Charlotte County Public Works, “Each member will receive a confirmation letter to confirm their appointment and information from the County Attorney’s office regarding the Sunshine Law. The length of the members’ terms will be determined at the first meeting. The Steering Committee will receive a courtesy email to let you know the date, time and location of the first meeting should you wish to attend. Meetings are open to the public. After the first meeting, the Committee will receive meeting notices and meeting notes. The Public will be able to view that information on the County Website.

Palm Island Transit launches new Website

On 6/20, we received an email from Stephanie Ryder of Palm Island Transit introducing their brand-spankin’-new website.  According to her message, “We now have the capability to post in real-time updates regarding weather, mechanical problems, delays, etc.  When there is an announcement, there will be a banner on all the pages with the information you will need.  So instead of a phone call…you can now just access the website and find out what is going on.”  The site is compatible with mobile devices, so you can check the website while on the go! Take a look at:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Follow-Up to Info Central's Insurance Seminar

Like many of us, Island neighbor Larry Hinds found himself a little at sea after the Insurance Seminar hosted by Info Central on 5/29.  So he started doing some research, and was kind enough to share.

NFIP – National Flood Insurance Program:
RCBAP – Residential Condominium Building Association Policy
SRL – Severe Repetitive Loss
COBRA – Flood Zone: 
The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (COBRA) of 1982 and later amendments, removed the Federal government from financial involvement associated with building and development in undeveloped portions of designated coastal barriers (including the Great Lakes). These areas were mapped and designated as Coastal Barrier Resources System units or "otherwise" protected areas. They are colloquially called COBRA zones. COBRA banned the sale of NFIP flood insurance for structures built or substantially improved on or after a specified date. For the initial COBRA designation, this date is October 1, 1983. For all subsequent designations, this date is the date the COBRA zone was identified. 
COBRA zones and their identification dates are shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)
Flood Zone – designated by rate tables 
Common flood zones in our area are AE and VE. Much of our area is determined to be in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which is defined as an area of land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1% chance of occurring in any given year (commonly called the 100-year flood).
· AX Zone: A flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas outside of the 100-year floodplains, or that have a less than 1% chance of flooding in any given year, whereby there is no established base flood elevation (BFE) and flood insurance is typically not required by federally-back loans. (Lender discretion, but rarely required).
· AE Zone: A flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas in the 100-year floodplain. In most instances, Base Flood Elevations (BFE) are derived from detailed hydraulic analyses and are set accordingly throughout the zone. Example: If a property is in an AE zone with a BFE of 5ft, then construction regulations stipulate that the first habitable floor must be above 5ft. It essentially states that you are in a flood zone and could potentially flood up to the BFE based on simulated models and hydraulic analyses, therefore regulations restrict you from doing certain things below the BFE. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
· VE Zone: Everything for the AE Zone and apply here. In addition, this "velocity" zone includes the potential for wave action associated with the potential flood hazard. BFE's tend to be much higher (i.e. 12-14ft vs. 4 or 5ft) and building codes are much more restrictive.

Other Comments
· Wind and flood insurance policies are not required to be concurrent
· Single Adjuster Program allows adjuster to write flood AND wind insurance policies
· Golf Cart Addendum policies permitted by some insurer

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

INFO CENTRAL PRESENTS: Sheriff Bill Prummell

Rumbling thunder did not discourage 40 Islanders from gathering on June 12th to attend the latest in a speaker’s series hosted by Info Central.  Sheriff Bill Prummell came to participate in a Q&A.  He brought backup to the scene: Lieutenant Mike Anderson from the San Casa station, Dan Cotton from Community Relations, who is in charge of the Community Policing program, and our local Deputy John Stewart.

“We can’t be everywhere,” he said, commencing a brief description of plans for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).  “Contact us and let us know what’s going on”.

Sheriff Prummell is working to increase manpower in the Englewood area, which will free John Stewart to spend more time on his Island beat.  He also mentioned steps that they are taking to implement “intelligence-led policing”: software systems that will help CCSO identify problem areas and times for law enforcement, as well as developing a “Top Ten” list of problem people in the County.

Question #1: Addressing issue on South Gulf Blvd still has not been addressed. Can the CCSO put extra pressure on the County?  Lt. Anderson spoke about other areas of the numbering grid in Charlotte County having the same issue. His suggestion: speak to Bill Truex (County Commissioner) about the problem.

Question #2: Memorial Day weekend was overwhelming out here. We need help during the holiday weekends.  Sheriff Prummell started by saying he must be honest.  “In the past, we’ve had Islanders saying ‘Focus on the visitors’,” he said.  “I don’t pick and choose.”  However, he did say that he is presently training 2 new marine patrol deputies, who should be available soon to help patrol the Island. He also suggested that Islanders can hire a deputy through the ‘off-duty detail’. The cost would be $45/hour.

Question #3: Abuse of golf carts i.e. kids on golf carts playing chicken after dark with the headlights out. “The resort is now renting golf carts to the south Island” said Dick Aulenti.  According to Charlie Schwartz, if you call the resort they will go out and pick up that cart, and make the rental contract null and void.

Also discussed was the ‘after-hours’ dilemma when the ferry stops running: do you call the CCSO knowing the difficulty they have in getting here?  “If you have an issue we want you to call us,” said the Sheriff. “Make sure you’re a good witness,” added Lt. Anderson. “Get the golf cart number or description, and a description of the driver and passengers.”

Dick Sadenwater introduced himself and Linda Cotherman as PIE’s Island Watch committee. He offered thoughts on a voluntary sticker program for golf carts associated with rentals. The sticker would cite the driver age ordinance, saying “You must be 14 years old to drive this golf cart.”  Dick also suggested a different sticker to identify a resident golf cart.  The ideas brought on discussion of a voluntary golf cart registration system. 

Question #4: If you find someone on your property, what rights do property owners have?  You can ask them to leave.  If they do not, call the CCSO.  The deputy can issue a trespass warrant and force them to leave. If they come back, the deputy can arrest them.

Question #5: What is Charlotte County’s noise ordinance? Test cases in beach areas involving loud music after dark resulted in the courts ruling that Charlotte’s noise ordinance, which is based on state statute, is unconstitutional.  There are presently no noise ordinances in Charlotte County.

Question #6: Can you talk about the difference between code violations, ordinances and laws?  Ordinances are laws, and breaking them is usually a misdemeanor crime. They include things like ‘open containers’ and ‘panhandling’.  Code violations are mostly quality of life issues, and include things like too many people in a rental house. “Law enforcement handles criminal violations” said the Sheriff.  However, he did say that CCSO is working on developing a “community policing” mode, not just addressing crime but also addressing quality of life issues.  One way they are pursuing this is by making contact with County code enforcement to work together on code violations.

Question #7: What about fireworks?  “Anything that shoots up or blows up, it’s illegal.”

Question #8: What about illegal trash dumping? Report it to the Sheriff’s office. They also have an environmental deputy who enforces criminal violations.

Question #9: What is the difference between “Neighborhood Watch” and “CCSO volunteers”? Neighborhood Watch is made up of local volunteers who patrol as a crime deterrent.  Sheriff Prummell says that CCSO volunteers are “Neighborhood Watch on steroids. They are our eyes and ears.”  Volunteers have uniforms, radios in direct contact with CCSO and can drive a squad car to patrol.  “They do NOT act”, said the Sheriff. “They are not armed and they are not sworn law enforcement.”

Kathy Sickles offered sound advice, having had a bad experience with theft at their home. “Do not leave your downstairs open!” she said. “If you have anything valuable lock it up.”

Val Pasqua summarized the mood of the crowd for Deputy Stewart. "Don't be our friend," he said.  "Give them a ticket! Word will get around."

As the session wound down, Sheriff Prummell assured the group that he is going to work on extra coverage for the upcoming July 4th weekend.