Nov 4 Post-Ian on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s another Friday with more progress noticeable daily on the islands as utility and demolition/remediation crews are starting to appear in complexes/communities.

The City’s progress briefing scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight was cancelled. Next one is scheduled for Tuesday 11/8 at 5 p.m. I will follow that and post a recap on Facebook as I have been doing with the others. If you missed the big one this past Tuesday, that was their last update and was part of their 6+hour City Council meeting. My recap of recovery items discussed at the meeting are below. (Sorry it’s so long.)

Recap of Hurricane Ian Recovery from 11/1/2002 Sanibel City Council Meeting

Day 34 – 11/1/2022 – Tues – Post Hurricane Ian – Below are SanibelSusan’s Notes from Progress Briefing which was part of City Council Meeting at Crown Plaza Hotel, Fort Myers: (To listen to meeting yourself, go to The City of Sanibel, Florida Facebook page).

(Wow, big kudos for our City Council & staff. Meeting was 6 hours & 8 minutes, with just two 15-minute breaks. A lot covered. My summary below includes just hurricane recovery agenda items.)

Mayor Smith, Vice Mayor Johnson, & Councilmen Crater, Henshaw, & Miller in attendance. All provided opening remarks.

City Manager Souza provided Ian recovery update. Sanibel joined FEMA in 1979. According to 2017 records, 38% of the island properties were non-conforming, however, Sanibel is rated 5 out of 10 for their code requirements, which provides insurers a 25% reduction in flood rates.

Over 9,000 reentry passes have been issued since the storm.

Incredible efforts by City staff, state/federal/county/neighbors, multiple agencies, business partners, non-profits, & residents – positive – pushing forward.

Please know “that just because it’s taking time, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” Continue to be patient.

Announcement coming soon on new emergency permitting process.

Kevin Guthrie, Director of FL Dept of Emergency Mgmt – Ian resulted in unprecedented damage & response action/reaction. He’s been here since 10/3. Asked County to assist in debris removal, then asked state. State has now assumed cost of debris removal off City streets. Will be here a long time removing that debris.

Residents & Commercial property owners may request assistance from FEMA for removal of debris & vessels from their private property. Also, could get travel trailer after debris removed.

Already In just 1-1/2 days identified 100 submerged vessels in coastal waters.

Not only will you see Crowder Gulf debris recovery vehicles, but also private debris removal vendors, & private divers with buoys, marking submerged vessels/debris.

If you are looking to apply for PPDR (Private Property Debris Removal) or CPDR (Commercial Property Debris Removal) go to or call 850-951-2002. You will be asked to complete/provide:

1) Right of private entry document

2) Upload insurance info, as Federal govt can’t duplicate charges that your own insurance might cover (no duplication of benefits)

3) ID to ensure you own the property

4) List of waivers, indemnify FEMA

This could get your private property cleared after FEMA clears what’s in the City right-of-ways

Then FEMA travel trailer could be provided up to 18 months for permanent housing.

State program is for 6 months.

Suggested City prepare expedited project worksheets for reimbursements.

Yesterday based on direction from Governor, submitted request for additional 30 days FEMA reimbursement for costs 100% related to storm. This would extend current 60-day order to 90 days, or Dec 31. Only the President may grant this. Hope to hear back quickly.

Also suggested City apply for Community Disaster Loans which in past FEMA has waived payback (every time).

When Chief Dalton asked for additional mutual aid. State agreed to pay for that support through end of year.

City Manager Souza:

Expectation is that cost for just City debris removal will be more than $80M.

Whole City budget is just over $83M.

Already working on worksheets as well as other programs for City to get maximum financial aid.

Cati Sherrard, Resident Construction Engineer – restoring causeway & bridges.

Incredible responses from all parties in cooperation.

In 5 days from being brought on the job, achieved temporary access to island.

Day 15 – open to civilian traffic.

Remainder of work to be done in 2 phases. Now at the end of Phase 1A.

Phase 1 is completion of temporary bridge

Phase 2 is permanent.

Phase 1B will be next month or so, to more stabilize the current temporary access so that it’s good for a year.

Will remain on the job 24/7

Phase 2 will have some overlap, also stabilizing design that will be accomplished in bite-sized pieces. Goal is to have the new bridge there by Oct 2023. Unlike what you may be seeing on social media, it will look much like it did pre-Ian. It’s what you won’t be able to see that will be different.

Also, FL Dept of Transportation is going to rebuild the East Periwinkle Way bridge. Materials have been ordered. Expect it will be done within 2 weeks of start. Contractor is ready to go!

Diana Wilson, Island Water General Manager:

As of this morning water service restored to over 3,000 properties. Getting about 100 requests a day. Request yours at or call 239-472-1502. Business office is now open Mon-Fri 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Have received many questions from those who thought their water was reestablished but when they get there, they have no water. Tip: Be sure & check the valve for water to your house & your backflow device valve. Valves should be opened in direction of the flow.

Boil water notice still applies – will communicate when that changes.

Billing – late payment fees suspended until end of year.

Tricia Dorn, LCEC Key Account Executive:

LCEC will be working ‘round the clock until the last new meter installed.

Have received 1,485 affidavits that electrical systems are OK & ready to be powered up.

So far, 970 have been energized, another 35 turned on just during course of the meeting so far.

Taking 24-72 hours from receipt of affidavit to turn-on.

So far 117 orders were unserviceable.

Power back on to all lift stations.

If you received power & then it went out again, please call LCEC. A transformer problem after a major event like this could occur up to 6 months after.

There are 200 crews working on island now, 24/7.

Kevin Barbot, Sanibel Fire & Rescue Chief:

County had many structure fires, just 6 on Sanibel were complete losses.

4 electric-vehicle fires to-date

2 small fires (lithium batteries, e bikes)

32 golf cart fires at The Dunes

Initially most work rescue/evacuations, then 209 electric-vehicle removals, responding to emergencies, mitigation, & humanitarian efforts.

Working with Amerigas & Blossmans on propane tanks. Many moved during storm.

Call Fire Dept if you find one on your property.

1300 permitted tanks have been inspected.

Dealing now with a lot of traumatic injuries & increased industrial/construction emergencies.

In partnership with Lee County EMS, provided with additional ambulance & medics to assist.

Brush fire danger & conservation land precautions.

Now increased response time from mutual-aid partners just off island as they likewise dealing with devastation.

Strike team from Destin was here providing mutual aid. Hoping now to get more from other parts of state.

Please keep hydrants clear.

Fire Station at Bowman’s may be a total loss. Working 12-hour shifts 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Palm Ridge Station in better shape, it’s about 75% remediated.

If you see a problem or have a question, please call or email.

Didn’t lose a single apparatus, just one staff vehicle.

Incredible progress in just 34 days.

Regional & Project Director from Crowder Gulf & rep from Thompson Engineering (company that is monitoring the debris removed for FEMA reimbursement). Both living in campground.

10/3 – first emergency push.

10/7 – first barge with heavy loaders brought over

LCEC vehicles also barged over

Daily reports with every removal truck have a monitor.

Just added another 18 haul units.

Island Inn debris site too small, so now have opened up new sites at Purdy Rd & Wulfert Rd.

Removal amounts now will increase.

56 haul units. Today Sanibel has more haul units than used to process major storms like that hit Hilton Head (much larger community).

Expect 60-80% of debris will be removed in 60 days.

More haul units will be added when more sites are up. There need to be places to put/process the debris.

Once double-barrels (big black debris trucks hauling a big black debris trailers) are into communities, it will go faster. Will take several passes to get rid of it all.

As of 11 a.m. yesterday, Crowder Gulf removed. 4,134 loads or a total of 193,239 cubic yards of debris (1 cubic yard about the size of a washing machine). 126,379 cubic yards of vegetation & 66,860 cubic yards of construction/demolition debris (this is the debris that will be huge – just getting started).

Please separate your debris as shown on chart on City website. That’s splitting hazardous material, vegetation, appliances, construction debris, trash, etc.

Crowder Gulf cannot pick up black plastic bags – they must be able to see the debris that is being picked up – if you have those bags – leave them open.

Crystal Mansel, Sanibel Director of Administrative Services & Risk Management:

Efforts include human resources, benefits administration, operations at Crown Plaza where City has been many times & has been using 42 rooms, 2 ballrooms, meals, food/water to boots on ground on Sanibel, now looking for alternative location as hotel has other guests arriving.

46 City employees were reassigned to Crown Plaza to man call center, information desk, re-entry passes. Thanks to Recreation Dept staff who have often been answering calls & working in stressful environment.

Also shuttling staff to marina 24 hrs/day. That has now been reduced to 6 day/work-weeks, hope to get it back to 5.

Under risk management, City has 165 assets (value $100 million) through insurance trust. Insurance boots on the ground in 5 days. Belfor has inspected all. 126 assets damaged.

Most severe damage at buildings at museum & City Hall had storm surge & lower floor destroyed.

Level 2 damage at Rec Center (roof & floor), Donax Water Treatment facility, Lighthouse (missing leg was found & broken in 3 places). Developing plan to repair/shore up all.

48 properties had minor damage.

52 no damage.

2 cruisers lost, 2 workman comp claims.

Will have another tour of assets Thurs/Fri to determine rest of mitigation & rebuilding necessary.

Andrea Miller – Sanibel Recreation Dept Director, has been reassigned to also assist with industry passes & CHR contact.

She praised her team with a “service heart” for always asking “how can I help, & what’s next.”

Rec facility had substantial damage, but staff has hand-cleared the debris from pools.

Gym floors removed; cleaning debris, & playground shared with school.

Holly Milbrandt – Sanibel Natural Resources Director

Been serving in variety of roles, on Structural Safety Inspection Team, ham radio operations, transportation, passes, EOC coordination.

Considerations to animals, vegetation, water quality. Coordinated with partners.

Vegetation recovery guidance document on City website. Use only licensed contractors.

SCCF Has good tool on their website for reporting wildlife sightings. There have been good reports.

Beaches being evaluated with coastal engineering firm, hope to post conditions report by end of week including info for property owners, particularly on East End where most damage.

FGCU water school has been performing beach survey with dive-can-sonar equipment to locate debris that is buried or hard to see.

FL Dept of Health Dept swimming advisory remains in effect. Water is full of chemicals, hazardous materials, & bacteria. Avoid contact with water.

Post-storm water quality evaluations underway.

Johnson Engineering performing Sanibel Slew evaluations.

Considering Lake “O”, Sept was 3rd wettest Sept recorded. 185% of normal accumulation.

It will be a long recovery period. Lake had 8’ of slosh at water levels, 19’ of water elevation on north side. Highest ever recorded.

Red tide already blooming in the region & not unexpected. Latest sampling reports show evidence in Sarasota, Charlotte, & 5 positive samples off-shore in Lee County.

David Schmitt & Scott Crosley – Sanibel Public Works/Sewer – Director & Deputy – Work continues with roadside trash pickup, fleet maintenance issues (2 mechanics), 165 pump stations. 135 lift station panels damaged, but many now working. Donax plant now fully operating, manned 16-hrs/day.

Sewer system now pretty sound, flushing toilets OK, just be careful how much you use.

Also OK to now begin using dishwaters & washers.

Be sure initial cleaning is done using dry methods so drains/pipes are not clogged with sand. First get rid of sediment by hand, then supplement with water.

Sanibel Police Chief Dalton – again thanked the 60 officers that were here from Dade, 50 others here now offering mutual aid. Also, Lee Sheriff Dept help.

Originally was a mandate from state to allow tow trucks on island, then notified of possible fraud, so now checking all vehicles leaving with vehicles to be sure they have property documentation.

Paula McMichael, Sanibel Planning Director – This is her 36th day on the job, hurricane came on her 2nd official day on the job. Members of Planning Dept also were part of initial Structural Safety Team. Since then, helping owners with elevation certificates, build-back restrictions.

Toured all seawalls, only one severely damaged & helping with those repairs.

Shane Kittendorf, CAP Government contractor working as interim Director of Building Dept – Again described how owners of non-conforming property may look on for their parcel & the county Tax Appraisers value letter which shows building structure value. Or if that amount is not enough, consider hiring a certified appraiser.

Also please consider elevating your property if you have the opportunity.

By Nov 7 when new building officials start (both Director & Deputy) you will be able to apply for permit on-line.

Tomorrow, emergency repair guidance will be issued.

Be sure when comparing 50% of your structure value that you consider all of the work required to bring the property back (alterations, demolition, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, roof).

Building Dept hopes to turn on their new permitting system quickly & issue permits quickly.

“Planning & Building” are not the bad guys.

Steve Chaipel, Sanibel Finance Director – assisting in Natural Resources, Recreation, asset control, & manning EOC.

At budget hearing on Oct 3, $84M Sanibel budget was approved. Financially we are OK, prepared for disasters & with environmental reserves.

News that the state is funding debris removal is huge.

This event likely will exceed $100M for just debris removal on Sanibel.

Finance Dept is interface with FEMA & state for assistance.

Documents have been filed & approved. Can ask for 50% of funding up front.

Have spent $8M in cash so far, mostly for pay.

After break, discussion/voting continued on other agenda items including emergency ordinances to temporarily use or park an RV or trailer on a residential property for up to 180 days or until damaged residence again becomes habitable. It must be a wheeled vehicle with quick-connects for utilities, needs temporary use permit issued by City, & may only be occupied by property residents. May be extended for 180 days.

Similarly for commercial businesses, they could get temporary use permit for up to a year max. Of course, homeowners/condo associations must approve.

Temporary moratorium on building new residences & on changes in resort housing district. See City agenda for details.

City also to bring back/apply for line of credit for up to $20M for term up to 3 years.

In summary, long-term recovery is expected, but there is already talk of moving back to City Hall.

As Mayor Smith said: “If you haven’t been to the island, you will be in awe of the magnitude of the destruction. But it’s coming back. It’s gonna get tougher, but we’ll come out better on the other side.”

Facebook Live scheduled for Wed at 5 p.m. has been cancelled.

At SanibelSusan Realty

I spoke yesterday with Marcel, our landlord, and teammate Dave met with him today. Here’s a picture of the Sanibel Square sign that I took this afternoon. Much of the complex is being used for staging of remediation equipment, but Marcel says his construction crew is ready to remove drywall soon.

Dave should have our place emptied in a few more days. The beauty shop behind my office and building next door rented by “Ding” Darling Nature Center Store are both off their foundations, so will need engineering evaluations before those may be rebuilt. Our building appears to just need remediation/new walls and utilities. I bet it’s ready before my home.

Meanwhile, I’m fielding calls, emails, and offers about our listings. Have talked to several colleagues (other heavy hitters) and they advise, they are getting offers from similar vultures. Though my crystal ball has never been used after a catastrophe like this one, I am advising clients who want to sell to keep their properties listed but expect that it may take many months for the market to stabilize.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

The local Association of Realtors® has a temporary office location at Midland Trust, 15671 San Carlos Blvd., #101, Fort Myers. Our annual meeting scheduled for last month also has been postponed until November 17 at this new temporary location and will be posted on Zoom. I’ll be there.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 28 – November 4, 2022

Some of these new listings had damage with those listing agents providing details in the “agent notes” on condition and viewing possibilities. The islands remain limited to access by those with re-entry permits, i.e., residents, their contractors, insurance personnel, and first responders (including debris removal and utility vehicles). The number of workers on the island is huge. The ongoing work on the causeway also is staggering. Big changes noticed daily.



1 new listing: By-the-Sea #B101 3/2 $1.2M.

1 price change: Loggerhead Cay #323 2/2 now $875K.

2 new sales: Sundial #C209 1/1 listed at $799K, Gulfside Place #205 2/2 listed at $1,295M

No closed sales.

6 withdrawn from market.


5 new listings: 4427 Gulf Pines Dr 2/2.5 $595K, 718 Durion Ct 3/2 $675K, 677 Durion Ct 3/2 $775K, 440 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $1.495M, Colony Beach Estates #4 (435 Bella Vista Way E) 3/3 $5.395M.

1 price change: 1543 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/4 now $1.995M.

2 new sales: 1219 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $700K, 2474 Wulfert Rd 3/3.5.5 listed at $1.695M.

No closed sales.

4 withdrawn from market.


No new listings.

1 price change: West Gulf Dr #1, now $4.995M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1994 Wild Lime Dr $325K.



Nothing to report.


No new listings, price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

1 withdrawn from market.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions

Until next Friday, be well, stay safe, & know that Sanibel will come back better than ever!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan