Committee of the Islands

Keeping Sanibel Special Since 1975

Comments J.N. DD Alt Transport

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December 07, 2008

COTI – COMMITTEE OF THE ISLANDS INC . Preliminary Comments on the J.N . Ding Darling Alternative Transportation in Parks & Public Lands Study Committee of the Islands Inc . – COTI – was formed as an outgrowth of two organizations which successfully advocated for the incorporation of the City of Sanibel in 1974 . COTI’s mission is to perpetuate their goal of preserving the sanctuary nature of the I sland . It does so by developing and promoting policies and positions designed to protect the natural environment and maintain and enhance the quality of life of its residents . COTI currently has 561 members . COTI operates principally through its committ ees , under the direction of the Board of Directors . One of its committees focuses on congestion issues affecting the Island , helping to shape opinions and actions that affect congestion on Sanibel . This background paper is a product of that committee . It is a working document of the Committee on Island Congestion . We anticipate that we may revise or extend it as this process goes forward . The purpose of this paper is to provide background for COTI’s contribution to the discussion of the Alternative Tran sportation Project . Our responses to the Stakeholders ’ Questions are attached . SANIBEL VISION STATEMENT A guiding principle of COTI’s activities is our commitment to the Sanibel Vision Statement . That statement is part of Sanibel’s City Charter , and we recommend that the consultant study it closely . We draw on a particularly pertinent part of it here . The statement explicitly covers the Sanctuary , Community and Attraction appeals of Sanibel . It closes with a Hierarchy of Values , which we quote in ful l : This three - part statement of the community’s vision of its future is hierarchy ; one in which the dominant principle is Sanibel’s sanctuary quality . Sanibel shall be developed as a community only to the extent to which it retains and embraces this q uality of sanctuary . Sanibel will serve as an attraction only to the extent to which it retains its desired qualities as sanctuary and community . A copy of the full Sanibel Vision Statement , which is embedded in the City’s Charter is attached . COTI INVOLVEMENT IN TRAFFIC ISSUES Vehicular traffic congestion during the peak season has long been an important issue for Sanibel and for COTI . We have participated in all of the major studies of this problem since the incorporation of the city . We starte d reaching out to the members of the Steering Committee for the current study last January . Below is an extract from our Winter 2008 Newsletter indicating our involvement and position : “ City Council''s December 18 meeting marked an important new developme nt on the traffic front . Council approved in principle the contract for a $ 7 5 0,000 study funded by the U . S . Department of Transportation . The application for the grant stated its objective as seeking , " alternative transportation options to reduce the nu mber of vehicles entering environmentally sensitive property within the City of Sanibel and at the J . N . Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge . " The study includes money for an analysis of island and refuge carrying capacity thresholds . “ Sanibel , the Re fuge and Lee County , through Lee Tran , have established a joint Steering Committee to oversee the study . Lee Tran will serve as the project manager and funding conduit . The work will include data collection , probably during the March , 2008 peak season . T he plan provides for substantial public involvement . The first task is a review of available information and the design of studies to produce additional data needed . The public engagement program , the data collection and the carrying capacity assessment wi ll feed the generation of alternative options . The final stage of this grant is the evaluation of the options . If that process produces an action plan , there may also be grants available for implementation . “ COTI sees potential benefit for Sanibel in thi s grant . The data collection should help us understand the traffic situation better . We find the focus on carrying capacity encouraging . At the same time , we are concerned over the risk that inadequately considered changes focused on the Refuge might have unintended adverse effects on Island traffic overall . We plan to work with other interested groups to help channel the process constructively . We hope that the results of this effort can assist with the search for answers to our traffic congestion challeng e . ” OBSERVATIONS One of the points made in our Newsletter warrants emphasis . The data collection portion of the study is a major component . We are glad to see that the origin and destination study is still part of the plan . We believe that this info rmation will be useful only if it is collected during the mid - January to mid - April period which is the peak traffic period . We had hoped that the work might be done this past March . With that opportunity behind us , it is important that the survey await t his year’s peak . We also hope that the study will be done by roadside interviews and that it will follow the pattern of the Kittelson study in March of 2002 , to permit the identification of trends . On a related note , we also urge that any proposed changes recognize the seasonality of the problems we are trying to mitigate . Sanibel traffic is an issue for only three months of the year . We do not need twelve month solutions . COTI appreciates the op portunity to participate in this important study . We look forward to adding value to the process , and welcome any questions or requests for amplification the consultant or the Steering Committee may have . We trust that data relevant to the study will be m ade available to stakeholders as it is materializes . If several realistic solutions emerge , we hope the community will have an opportunity to discuss them before a final decision are made . COTI Committee on Island Congestion September 10 , 2008 Attachme nt Chapter 1 - Section 3.18 . Code of the City of Sanibel - The Sanibel Vision Statement . The Sanibel Vision Statement is a confirmation of the community''s shared values and goals , to guide future decisions . SANCTUARY Sanibel is and shall remain a barrier island sanctuary , one in which a diverse population lives in harmony with the island''s wildlife and natural habitats . The Sanibel community must be vigilant in the protection and enhancement of its sanctuary characteristics . The City of Sanibel wil l resist pressures to accommodate increased development and redevelopment that is inconsistent with the Sanibel Plan , including the Vision Statement . The City of Sanibel will guard against and , where advisable , oppose human activities in other jurisdiction s that might harm the island''s sensitive habitats , including the island''s surrounding aquatic ecosystems . COMMUNITY Sanibel is and shall remain a small town community whose members choose to live in harmony with one another and with nature ; creating a human settlement distinguished by its diversity , and will endeavor to maintain it . Diversity . : The City of Sanibel cherishes its culture , social , ecological , and economic diversity , and will endeavor to maintain it . Beauty . : The City of Sanibel will fo ster quality , harmony and beauty in all forms of human alteration of the environment . The community aesthetic is defined as a casual style ; one which is adapted to a relaxed island quality of life and respectful of local history , weather , culture and natur al systems . Uniqueness . : The City of Sanibel chooses to remain unique through a development pattern which reflects the predominance of natural conditions and characteristics over human intrusions . All forms of development and redevelopment will preserve the community''s unique small town identity . Character . : The City of Sanibel chooses to preserve its rural character in its setting within and [ an ] urbanizing county . " Auto - urban " development influences will be avoided . The commercialization of natural resources will be limited and strictly controlled . Stewardship . : In keeping with the foregoing principles , the City of Sanibel affirms a land ethic that recognizes landholding - - both public and private - - as a form of stewardship , involving responsibilitie s to the human and natural communities of the island and its surroundings , and to future generations . ATTRACTION . The Sanibel community recognizes that is [ its ] attractiveness to visitors is due to the island''s quality as sanctuary and as community . The City of Sanibel will welcome visitors who are drawn by , and are respectful of , these qualities ; it will resist pressures to accommodate visitor attractions and activities that compromise these qualities . HIERARCHY OF VALUES . This three - part statement of the community''s vision of its future is a hierarchy ; one in which the dominant principle of Sanibel''s sanctuary quality . Sanibel shall be developed as a community only to the extent in which it retains and embraces this quality of sanctuary . Sanibel will s ervice as attraction only to the extent to which it retains its desired qualities as sanctuary and community . ( Ord . No . 06 - 010 , § 1 , 8 - 1 - 2006 / 3 - 6 - 2007 ; Res . No . 07 - 038 , § 3 , 3 - 20 - 2007 / 3 - 6 - 2007 )

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