It is SanibelSusan – the lone one at SanibelSusan Realty today following a week of September quiet and more summer-like weather. Gulf waters are warm and clear, shell mounds are big, and the boating had been amazing with the occasional summer showers staying mostly inland this week, or at least inland until after dark.
Long-time (20-year) visiting Swiss client friends were in my office earlier today remarking that they have photographed the most beautiful sunsets this week. They viewed their first-ever green flash too. I am still waiting to see one.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® New Member Orientation
I participated in the Association’s new member orientation on Tuesday, where our Board of Directors and Committee Chairs urged the newbies to get involved by joining committees and aspiring to become part of the leadership team. It is always interesting to hear what new Realtors® did pre-real estate. Usually several are seasoned sales associates who sold in other parts of the country before coming to SW Florida. This group included a recent college graduate, and several professionals who changed careers (like me) to get here before they are too old to enjoy it. Those have included an engineers, teachers, attorneys, nurses, and an occasional artist or musician.
Wednesday and Thursday, I completed the 14-hours of continuing education required to renew my Florida real estate license. Years ago, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® worked with educators to prepare a class curriculum. It was approved by the Florida Real Estate Commission so sales associates and brokers here can complete these 2-year requirements without driving over the causeway or taking on-line classes. The class is revised and updated every two years.
Day 1, from 9-5, was instructed by Chuck Bonamer, and in three parts: Core Law; Security and Risk Management on the Internet; and Essentials of an Effective Web Presence. Thankfully Chuck Bonamer is one of the most in-demand instructors in Florida, one of those upbeat individuals who loves what he does and does it so well. He is a Realtor® Emeritus too (that’s 40 years plus). His active role in education at the state/national level and work in litigation, coupled with a son in the real estate internet business, keep him savvy, and his material relevant.
My favorite part of our continuing ed is that Kristie Anders, Director of Education at SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation), is a state-approved instructor for the environmental segment of the curriculum. If any of you have taken a profession’s continuing education, I bet many will agree that much of the material covered is stuff that you will rarely, if ever, use. In this environmental segment, we learn things we really use – and use frequently – things that make us better island ambassadors.
Day 2, from 8-4, with Kristie, began at the 28-acre SCCF Bailey Homestead Preserve. It was a great opportunity to peek back in history, see the latest restoration, tour the grounds and buildings, and hear about the process of its being.
A highlight is the windmill that operated the well that provided water to this Bailey family home that was built in the late 1800’s.
Hard to believe that Mary Bailey moved here with just her three sons and without ever visiting the island. It was a full year before they had a home to live in. (Today, it is one of only ten historic buildings on the island.)
The Native Landscapes and Garden Center (formerly Native Plant Nursery) has moved to the Bailey Homestead Preserve, as has SCCF’s shop.
The gardens illustrate what is best grown in different environmental areas of the island. They offer free advice, sell plants and mulch (and deliver), and more.
From the Homestead, we traveled to SCCF’s Board Room where their Natural Resource Policy Director, Rae Ann Wessel was in the audience to field questions on the latest federal, state, and local happenings regarding “clean” water and the Everglades restoration. If you haven’t signed the “Now or Neverglades” declaration, it is easy to do online at http://gladesdeclaration.org/
In the Nature Center, we heard about the island’s water supply, where it comes from and how it is processed at Island Water. Then we got up close and personal with an endangered indigo black snake and some local tortoises when we ran into SCCF’s Wildlife and Habitat Management Director, Chris Lechowicz. He heads the Pine Island Sound Eastern Indigo Snake Project, Diamond Terrapin Project, and Box Turtle Project.
After some dip-netting along SCCF’s wetlands, we traveled to Captiva where we boarded “Playtime” which is a 45’ catamaran out of McCarthy’s Marina with Captiva Cruises. As we headed up the channel, we passed the J.N. “Ding” Darling cottage on pilings over the water. He loved it – not his wife!
With Dr. Rick Bartleson from SCCF’s Marine Lab on board, from there, we headed to RECON Station #39 which is out in Pine Island Sound off Redfish Pass.
There phone equipment sends data back to the lab every three hours (like “E.T., phone home”). It provides some of the best local weather info – way more accurate than the weather reported from news stations in tall buildings in downtown Ft Myers. Go to http://recon.sccf.org/ if you want to check it out.
Since our classwork is time-sensitive when we docked at Cayo Costa, we only had time to quickly cross the boardwalk to the beach and back. The photo below is on Cayo Costa beach – likely how Sanibel used to be.
During the boat trip, Kristie covered life in the estuary, development on the islands, and more on island wildlife flora & fauna. So the next time, I am out showing property, you can be sure there will be talk of protecting the sea grasses; bald eagles, hawks, pelicans, and kites; sea turtle nests and coyotes; puffer fish, trigger fish, and other critters from our waterways. (Photo here showings the beautiful afternoon weather, looking toward Cabbage Key and Useppa Island.)
The class finished at the Captiva Historical Gallery which is within the Captiva Community Center, next to the library.
Constructed to resemble the inside of the old mail boat “Santiva”, viewing this mini-museum is fun and quick. Free too. Photo to the right shows the gallery.
The History of Sanibel’s CHR
Though I have lived full-time on Sanibel for over 24 years, I did not know the entire history of CHR (Community Housing & Resources) until I read it in their fall newsletter. I bet they don’t mind that I repeat it here. It’s a wonderful real estate story.
“Beginning in 1978, a group of volunteers from Sanibel and Captiva formed with a goal to provide affordable housing in support of the growing island workforce. Community Housing and Resources was formed, and the organization became a 501(c)(3) in 1979.
“CHR’s first effort a providing housing was to secure an old cottage relocated to a lot on Sanibel Island. CHR held a lottery to select who got to live in the house. The chosen couple were obligated to care for the property and when it was sold, CHR would get 20% of the proceeds. The couple ended up living there for 17 years.
“In 1983, the City of Sanibel was working on their tactics to implement the affordable housing policies contained in the Land Use Plan that was written when Sanibel was incorporated. Thanks to very dedicated and persuasive CHR board members, CHR’s model program was developed and pitched to the City, who in response created a housing foundation and hired CHR to fulfill that function. CHR was also granted funding to hire their first executive director. They hired Dorothy Newman who had extensive experience in housing, especially in federal programs. That year she generously donated her entire salary back to CHR (approximately $20K).
“Under Newman’s leadership, the first project developed was land given to CHR by Sam and Francis Bailey. Local company Mariner Properties donated several cottages that were then rebuilt by local builders and turned into two duplexes and one single-family home. It is now known as Beach Road.
“The next property to be completed was at Sanibel Highlands on Whitehall Road, which was finished in 1990, the same year that the unit located at Rabbit Road was acquired. Quickly after, additional land across from the Casa Ybel Resort, a former airstrip, was proposed to be the home of a new golf course. When the City turned down this proposal, the land became zoned for houses and CHR was given a portion of the land to develop into family housing. This became known as Airport Way, which officially became home to residents in 1992.
“CHR then got to work on their next project, Mahogany Way. The land was purchased in 1991 from funds from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a loan from the City secured by required contributions from the developers of The Sanctuary. Construction costs were financed by CHR’s consortium with seven local banks and Mahogany Way’s 14 units officially opened in Spring 1993. CHR also purchased its four units located in Lake Palms on Wooster Lane in 1992 and 1993 by means of a Community Development Block Grant.
“In the late 90’s/early 2000’s, CHR developed the portion of its program dedicated to serving long-time senior residents on the island, represented by the senior-only property of Casa Mariposa which was opened in 2001. This property is city-owned and backs up to protected preserve land.
“In 2003, CHR agreed on a debt for land swap with the City of Sanibel. CHR-owned properties, Beach Road, Sanibel Highlands, Airport Way and Mahogany Way, were traded ot the City to erase debt. The City now owns the land these properties are located on and CHR leases the land back.
“The Woodhaven property, which was sold to the city by a local land developer, is a 12-unit complex that was completed in 2005.
“CHR’s Riverview complex, which is a two-story, 10-unit building, was purchased in 2009. That same year, CHR acquired a single dwelling located at Algiers Beach as well as opened its complex of duplexes located at Centre Street. Centre Street is now home to eight of CHR’s Limited Equity Ownership (LEO) properties. The other LEO properties are located at Sanibel Highlands (Whitehall Road) and Beach Road.
“Continued funding from grants, private donors, and most significantly, resident rental income, has enabled CHR to continue to offer affordable housing options to the people of Sanibel for nearly 40 years.”
Note: “CHR’s LEO program allows qualified workers of Sanibel to purchase affordable housing on the island. The purchasers of LEO properties own their unit, but the land continues to be owned by CHR, similar to a condo purchase. When the owner is ready to sell, they must sell it back to CHR at a predesignated price.”
Go to www.SanibelCHR.org for more info.
Sanibel Budget Approved
On Wednesday, City Council unanimously approved Sanibel’s new budget which was mentioned in last week’s update. As posted today online at the “Santiva Chronicle”:
“We are coming back from an historic low in 2013 while continuing to drop the millage rate,” said Finance Director Steven Chaipel regarding property values.
“Less than 15% (14.9%) of a Sanibel resident’s tax bill goes to Sanibel with Lee County accounting for 26.2%, Lee County Schools 45.2% and independent special districts 13.7%.
“Tied to the budget are recent ordinances raising the non-resident season beach parking decals 10%, modest increases in fees at the Recreation Center and a restoration of building and development permits that have been waived since the economic downturn of 2008. Also recently approved were 3% increases in sewer and water reclamation fees…
“Wednesday’s budget hearing and final vote was the last in a series of budget hearings and committee meetings that make up the annual budget process….”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 16-23, 2016
1 new listing: Tennisplace #E33 2/1.1 $329.5K
1 price change: Cottage Colony West #136 1/1 now $624.9K (our listing, photos below)
No new or closed sales.
5 new listings: 970 Palm St 3/2 $525K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $629.9K, 3850 Coquina Dr 3/3 $899K, 1234 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $1.299M, 1052 Whisperwood 3/3 $1.489M.
2 price changes: 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 now $589K, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.88M.
3 new sales: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 listed at $369K, 1121 Sabal St 3/2.5 listed at $699K, 5771 Baltusrol Ct 3/4 listed at $1.398M.
No closed sales.
No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5240 1/2 listed at $327K
No closed sales:
HOMES & LOTS
No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.
(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)