CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order at 11 a.m. by President Richard Leydon Jr. at the Placida Beach Condominium Association Clubhouse.
Marietta Abele, Jeff Cowherd, Deric Flom, Rhonda Freeman (by conference call), Paul Holmes, Richard Leydon, Rhonda Olson (by conference call), Terrie Weibley
Paul Holmes reported that last year’s membership totaled 269 with an end-of-year balance in the bank of approximately $13,800. Received in membership fees was $10,600, while $11,200 was spent in the fiscal year. Primary expenditures involved opening the road after a property owner closed it including equipment/labor for grinding trees and foliage on Swenson, as well as the hiring of off-duty deputies to patrol at peak times of need during the year.
Dawn Bokar was present by phone, so Paul Holmes gave a summary report on membership status. As of today, 100 enrollments had been received, and many more were turned in right before the meeting. While a mail-out was distributed to all known addresses, at least 40 were returned undeliverable. Some of these may represent duplicate efforts at different addresses to reach the same person. Paul asked that any changes in mailing addresses be updated. April 30th is the deadline for renewing.
Linda Soderquist has served as Environmental Chairperson for a number of years. Because she is increasingly off-island, she has offered to give her position if someone is interested, and will provide training. If no one comes forward, Linda will stay on. To determine if there is interest in replacing Linda as Environmental Chair, an Environmental committee is being established to include Judy McCoy, Marietta Abele and Terrie Weibley.
Linda through Marietta reported that seagrasses were hit hard by last year’s red tide, and volunteers are needed for a seagrass survey in Charlotte County. This training will be held from 7 to 8:30om on April 11, 2019 at the Charlotte County Environmental Campus as a UF Citizen Science Project. The first survey will be April 12th and the second, April25th. Volunteers form their own teams of at least 3, with their own boats, snorkels and fins. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-764-4346.
Marietta reported on the 2018 Nesting Sea Turtle statistics for LGI. Despite the red tide, there were 150 nests, including 1 extremely rare Kemps Ridley nest. There were only four documented washbacks of newly hatched baby turtles. Marietta reminded islanders that nesting season begins May 1st and lasts until October 31st, during which nothing can be left on the beach at night including chairs, shade tents or sand toys, and no animals are to be on the beach. She urged that anyone spotting a sea turtle nesting during daylight hours avoid disturbing it, but to take video or photos and report the nest to Laura Dallas.
The FWC is assisting in the protection of birds by posting no trespassing signs along with orange tape to mark off any nests of shorebirds in the sand on the south end of the island. The nesting birds are easily disturbed by foot traffic and animals.
Law Enforcement Protection
Deputy Ed Trentacosta presented a crime view of the island for the last year with the most significant crime being a boat theft. The POA spent $3000 for additional deputy coverage during peak times such as New Year’s Eve and during spring break weekly turnovers. Deputy Ed reminded islanders to keep valuable equipment off of their docked boats and to lock cars on the mainland, as vehicle thefts have increased including at marinas.
Temporarily, Deputy Ed’s time has been required to assist in covering community policing in District 1 due to a vacancy, though he assured islanders that when he is needed he will come to the island expeditiously.
He recommended downloading the new app available for both iPhone and Android by searching “Charlotte County Sheriff Department app.” Judy McCoy questioned whether the Board might use funds to hire a deputy during peak times overnight from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., utilizing the Hideaway ferry for transportation. Deputy Ed replied that if this were done, he recommended providing a battery-operated golf cart because the gas-powered Sheriff’s vehicle might disturb sleeping islanders while patrolling.
President Leydon met with a DMK Associate, who is to begin drafting a list of potential properties for parking or barge service for islanders. This is a critical need if there are any marina changes in the future.
LGPOA 2018 Accomplishments
Through a series of cooperative efforts, the north-south corridor easement has been reopened. Missing channel markers from recent storm systems have been replaced so that islanders can safely navigate. Additionally, those who were placing their own trash bags in contractor-work green heavy-duty bags for barge pick-up have ceased. This past year, refrigerator magnets were distributed to every home on the island, providing easy access to important phone numbers and summarizing dog etiquette
South End Trespassing
Terrie Weibley (District 8 Representative), presented photo evidence of saturation of the south end with an increasing number of boat visitors, topping out at 42 boats at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 23rd. She described the unique importance of the Gasparilla Sound Pass for the migration of sea life from the Charlotte Harbor rivers and estuary, which are prolific nurseries for marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. The island’s historic importance for fisheries and for birds is well known. Boaters have overrun the private property on the south end. It is largely unappreciated that this island is not a public beach. Each lot is privately owned and boaters who do not own property here and set up on dry land are trespassing. Further, they are returning to areas from which they have been ordered to leave as soon as relevant authorities move on. Worse still, boaters are routinely using the south end grasses as their own bathroom facility and can be observed removing their pants and squatting to urinate and defecate. Rental boats have been observed pulling up for this purpose alone and residents have photographed this unacceptable behavior on their property. Terrie stated that this untenable situation requires new measures, and proposed the idea of signage from the LGPOA declaring it as private property and stating that there is no trespassing as a helpful adjunct to law enforcement’s own efforts. Deputy Trentacosta stated that he welcomes this assistance. Accordingly, a South End Committee tentatively to include Marietta Abele, Terrie Weibley and John Hoekstra has been formed to recommend action to the Board.
Steve Norton, FPL Area Manager out of the Toledo/Blade office summarized the status of the FPL’s 5-year plan for LGI. During 2017-2018, approximately 400 existing power poles were inspected, and 65 poles were tagged for changing out. This process of placing new poles is largely complete. Additionally, 16 larger fuse switches have been installed which help keep power on when there is a limited outage. A permit has been approved for a second power feed coming in near Hideaway Condominiums, which will provide loop service and be of great assistance if one line should fail. The FPL also plans to build another equipment barn on Bay Street on property it owns. Meeting attendees thanked Steve for the prompt attention FPL is extending to residents when problems occur.
Chief Bill Underhill reported a call volume of one for EMS services thus far this year, and four false fire alarm calls. He held a demonstration after the meeting of device called a Fire Ball. It’s available on Amazon for about $35. It covers a 10X10 room with extinguishing dry powder material when set off by direct fire. This device will not activate with smoke or heat, only with fire. Lasting for 5 years before replacement, the ball can be stationed wherever the homeowner hopes to immediately stop a fire. An example might be where a golf cart is charged or in any room of your home. Fire Balls are also available for boat cabins. Appreciation was expressed for the many selfless roles Chief Bill fills, all of which keep the island functioning well.
Red Tide and Snook Status Speaker
President Leydon introduced Jim Locascio from Mote Marine, who will give a slide presentation on the effects of last year’s red tide on the snook population following the meeting. Attendees are invited to stay for this presentation and may bring to the meeting their potluck lunch with main course smoked pork prepared by Chief Bill.
Terrie Weibley moved that the meeting adjourn and Richard Leydon seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m.
Rhonda Olson, Vice President