Pelicans Diving, Dolphins Jumping, & Realtors® Learning


It’s SanibelSusan with a weekly update on Sanibel and Captiva Islands happenings. It is a gorgeous day here today, but most of us have our minds on those along the eastern seaboard who are experiencing the wrath of Hurricane Florence. Floridians, particularly islanders know too well the angst and worry associated with those events.

Here, though Southwest Florida’s water quality continues to affect visitor business, things are rebounding – even during what usually are the slower weeks of September. The gulf and beaches look sooo much better – and people and wildlife are out enjoying them again.

Only two real estate sales were reported this week on Sanibel, none on Captiva. Overall, island inventory remains low – with only 60 condos and 121 homes for sale on Sanibel, 30 condos and 33 homes on Captiva. The team and I are hopeful that when fall and winter visitors return, sales will be strong. The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a couple of news items below.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoThe local Association of Realtors® had no weekly Caravan Meeting this week but hosted their annual 14-hour continuing education classes. Florida Realtors® are required to complete 14 hours every two years. This year, the Association also offered the Ethics class that all Realtors® nation-wide must complete before the end of the year.

It’s always fun to be the oldest student in the class. Wednesday’s 7-hour class “Environmental Considerations of Coastal Living” was especially fun in the afternoon when we boarded “Play Time” out of McCarthy’s Marina for a ride up/down Roosevelt Channel and around much of Pine Island Sound – viewing the water, wildlife, and mangroves.

Though we passed one small patch where red tide probably lingered as several attendees coughed simultaneously, by the time we got to the old fish houses just north of North Captiva Island (the ones on pilings that are on the Historic Register), the water was crystal clear right to the bottom. The seagrasses looked healthy and small fish were swimming among them.

Fish houses 09-12-18

Then within about a 10-minute span, we saw a flurry of wildlife – dolphins jumping, pelicans diving, a nurse shark, and a loggerhead turtle. It wasn’t perfect, but it obviously was an area where the water quality was much better.

Red fish house 09-12-18.jpg

Nearby, in front of Demere Key on Pine Island, we saw a huge group of swans, ducks, and geese swimming. (Yes, swans. They can live in salt water too.) It was a gorgeous day – vivid blue sky, bright white clouds, balmy breeze, and flat water.

demere key 09-12-18.jpg

Those white birds are swans!

Water quality specialist Dr. Rick Bartelson on board for questions with SCCF’s Director of Education Kristie Anders said that he and others from the marine lab had been diving recently several miles off shore in the same area he earlier had viewed as a dead zone. The news really went crazy with that information. (A “dead zone” is an underwater patch with no plant or animal life.)

Dr. Bartelson had reported back in mid-August that they started noticing an area like that off the island coast. Then, they measured no oxygen in the water about 3 to 5 meters down from the surface, in some places all the way to the bottom (about 8 meters). This week, he reported that from Tropical Storm Gordon breaking things up, the oxygen levels in that same area are “up” and improving. You bet we want that to continue!

East Rocks Water Main Replacement

Island Water reports that the East Rocks water main replacement project is almost done. The new main has been installed on most of East Rocks Drive and Boulder Drive. The last section to be completed is Durion Court. For this project, Island Water used a polyethylene piping for the boring under paved roads and driveways, rather than cutting up/then repairing driveways or removing/reinstalling pavers. Bet those owners appreciate that they weren’t inconvenienced.

Temporary Closings & Reopenings

  • Bleu Rendezvous – closed for vacation, reopening Oct 5.
  • Blue Coyote Supper Club (Sanibel) – sold. A new restaurant “Malia” to reopen there Oct 1.
  • Bubble Room – closed for repairs beginning Sep 24, reopening Mon Oct 1.
  • CIP’s – closed for lunch until Oct, still open for dinner.
  • Clam Shack – reopened today.
  • Gramma Dot’s – reopens Sep 27.
  • Island Cinema – closed for cleaning & maintenance until Oct 5.
  • Island Pizza – reopens Sep 17.
  • Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop – accepting donations at their loading dock. Ark to reopen Oct 2 and will be open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through Oct.
  • Over Easy Café – closed for vacation Sep 10 through 20.
  • Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts & T2 (Traders 2) – to reopen Oct 2.
  • Traditions – reopens Sep 23.
  • The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – to reopen Oct 3.

International Coastal Cleanup

Postponed from Sept 15 to Sat Oct 13 (9 a.m. to noon) on Causeway Island B (island closest to Sanibel). Organized by Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Their van will be parked onsite.

Galloway Captiva Triathlon

captiva tri logoThe Captiva Triathlon held on the grounds of South Seas Resort scheduled tomorrow (youth segment) and Sunday (adult segment) has been changed to a duathlon due to concerns over water and air quality conditions due to red tide on the northern end of Captiva. The swim leg will be replaced by a run of the same length (approximately a quarter mile), followed by the usual 10-mile bike and 5K run. The children’s events will be the same format – run/bike/run. More info at packet pickup.

Spectators are welcome with parking available at the south end, with shuttles to take them to the north end. The public is reminded that Captiva Drive will close at 6:45 a.m. More info at www.captivatri.opg.

National Public Lands Day

ding darling goose logoCelebration at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Saturday, Sep 22, with free admission to Wildlife Drive (open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), discounts at Tarpon Bay Explorers, and multiple activities at the refuge.

First Annual Flip Flop Family Scavenger Hunt

Sanibel Sea schoolSanibel Sea School will host this island-wide family event that will end with a bonfire celebration on the beach. Save the date, Saturday, Nov 3 at 10:30 a.m. Proceeds will support the Sea School’s scholarship fund.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Sep 7-14, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #D22 1/1 $240K, Mariner Pointe #1061 2/2 $499.9K (our listing), Coquina Beach #2A 2/2 $619K.

Boardwalk b.jpg

Mariner Pointe bay walk & private fishing pier

1 price change: Sand Pointe #111 2/2 now $699K.

1 new sale: Sanibel Arms #A1 2/2 listed at $535K.

3 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #463 2/2 $440K, Loggerhead Cay #434 2/2 $600K, Island Beach Club #340D 2/2 $1.26M.

HOMES

4 new listings: 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 $649K, 568 Sea Oats Dr 3/2.5 $749K, 3284 Twin Lakes Ln 4/4 $845K, 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.575M.

2 price changes: 1190 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $585K, 480 Las Tiendas Ln 3/3 now $749K.

1 new sale: 1350 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $699K.

3 closed sales: 9240 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $525K, 978 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 $658K, 5657 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 $1.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 4538 Bowen Bayou Rd $239,999.

1 price change: 1226 Isabel Dr now $1.695M.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3128 1/1 $340K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16221 Captiva Dr 5/6.5 $4.95M.

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

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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, wishing you bright skies with sunshine!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Island Beaches Sooo Much Better…


It’s SanibelSusan with another Friday report from sunny Sanibel Island.

Beach

The beaches here are looking much better this week thanks to the wind from Tropical Storm Gordon blowing the long-lingering red tide away from shore. The islands still are not getting many beach-goers but the water and beach improvement are obvious.

Beach

Unfortunately, putting a damper on that improvement is an article published Wednesday in “The News-Press” headlined “Red tide causing dead zone conditions in Gulf of Mexico”. In this write-up is a description of what local scientists saw this week on the ocean floor miles off-shore. Here’s a link to that sad article, if you’d like to read it.

One of the local experts quoted in the article is Dr. Rick Bartleson, a water-quality scientist with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and their lead red tide investigator. Both he and his research assistant will be sharing their knowledge with local Realtors® during our continuing education classes next week.

More positive water news is that the vehicles and boats that, for weeks, have been cleaning local beaches and waterways were spotted leaving the island.

Causeway drivers and beach visitors all report that birds and fish are returning and dolphins jumping again. You know we all hope that the improvement continues.

Below are a couple of other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

bananasThe SanibelSusan Team is lucky and thankful that we had half of Sanibel’s new condo listings and condo sales this week. We had one of the three home closings too. We have always said that activity in this business happens in bunches – like bananas. We are ready for another bunch next week!

Re-Openings & Temporary Closings

  • Bailey Tract – has reopened (following a 3-month marsh habitat restoration project).
  • Bleu Rendezvous – closed for vacation, reopening Oct 5.
  • Blue Coyote Supper Club (Sanibel) – sold Aug 13. A new restaurant called “Malia” is expected to reopen there Oct 1.
  • Bubble Room – closed for repairs beginning Sep 24, reopening Mon Oct 1.
  • CIP’s – closed for lunch until Oct, still open for dinner.
  • Clam Shack – reopens Sep 14.
  • Gramma Dot’s – reopens Sep 27.
  • Island Cinema – closed for cleaning & maintenance until Oct 5.
  • Island Pizza – closes Sep 10 & reopens Sep 17.
  • Lighthouse Café – reopens tomorrow.
  • Over Easy Café – closed for vacation Sep 10-20.
  • Sanibel Community House – closed for maintenance Sep 10-14.
  • Sweet Melissa’s – closed for vacation, reopening Sep 12.
  • Tarpon Bay Boat Ramp – has reopened (following closure for nearly 2 years during construction of SSCF’s new marine lab, replacement of seawalls, and a boat dock).
  • Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts & T2 (Traders 2) – to reopen Oct 2.
  • Traditions – reopens Sep 23.
  • The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – to reopen Oct 3.

Sandalfoot Kudos

Sandalfoot.jpgThrough the years, we have had listings and sales at Sandalfoot condominiums. One was especially memorable when Hurricane Charley seriously damaged a top-floor beach-front unit there that had just gone under contract a few weeks before the storm arrived. Their on-site staff have always been helpful, often going above-and-beyond, so it was great to see that their long-time employee Domingo Nieves was recognized recently at The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau’s 18th Annual Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards. It’s wonderful to see him recognized. Here’s the write-up from their website.

“Lee County’s EAwards were held August 30th to announce Outstanding Service Awards in the hospitality industry. The awards acknowledge excellence through extraordinary customer service and dedication to tourism throughout Lee County. The “Superheroes” themed Awards were presented by the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Fort Myers News Press.

“The awards ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort in Bonita Springs and celebrated local customer service professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. More than 670 nominations were received from residents and visitors from around the world recognizing the exceptional service and caring offered to visitors who come to Lee County.

“Sandalfoot Condominium is beyond proud to announce that one of its own, Domingo Nieves, was honored with the top award, the Honor of Distinction. Winners of this award exhibit exemplary service, leadership, work ethic, job knowledge, performance skills, familiarity with the destination and assistance during an emergency.

Domingo received a number of nominations for this award. One nominator described him as “one in a million.” Another described him as “tireless, self-sacrificing, humble, compassionate and an all-around exceptional human being.” In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico last year, Domingo was quick to respond. As a native to the island, Domingo sent six generators, at his own expense, to help people in his uncle’s neighborhood.

“Another nominee says he visited a guest in a local hospital every other day for a month while they were on Sanibel and he frequently cuts fresh flowers for guests’ special occasions. Domingo assists elderly guests with getting around on the property and attending special events held here. He gives guests rides to the grocery store if they don’t have a car and lends his own fishing equipment for guests’ enjoyment. Domingo also helped people living on Sanibel prepare for Hurricane Irma and helped clean up after the storm.

“Anyone who knows Domingo is aware that this award is richly deserved. We at Sandalfoot are honored to share this information and honored to know Domingo. He truly is a caring, compassionate individual who always puts everyone’s needs ahead of his own. Congratulations Domingo!”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Aug 31- Sep 7, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sunset South #6D 2/2 $699K (our listing), Island Beach Club #310A 2/2 $759K.

View b

View from Sunset South #6D

1 price change: Pointe Santo #C34 1/1 now $499K.

2 new sales: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 listed at $259K (our listing), Sandy Bend #4 2/2 listed at $738K.

A bldg stairs + river

Spanish Cay Bldg A

4 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 $470K, Seawind #109 2/2.5 $487K, Loggerhead Cay #313 2/2 $520K, Loggerhead Cay #314 2/2 $569K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 1677 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $825K, 5422 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 $1.075M, 824 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1.125M, 1305 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.249M.

2 price changes: 1520 Centre St 3/2 now $445K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 now $539.9K.

1 new sale: 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 listed at $639K.

3 closed sales: 9240 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $525K, $5410 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 $700K, 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 $850K (our listing).

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0497.JPG

734 Anchor Drive to Sanibel Marina & San Carlos Bay & beyond

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 412 Tiree Cir $290K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2214 2/2 $605K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15133 Captiva Dr 3/3 $3.2M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 listed at $1.794M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

Dolphin 11-6-15Until next Friday, here’s to more clear water, diving pelicans, & jumping dolphins!

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Island Life With Algae & A Holiday!


Here it is the beginning of a 3-day holiday weekend with things on Sanibel and Captiva Islands still looking a little grim. At each spec of positive news regarding the red tide in the gulf and the blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee River, there seems to be some corresponding negative.

I personally visited several Sanibel beaches again this week and found them to be hit or miss. Most were significantly better than earlier this month, but some days there was a slight odor. Clean-up crews continue too, though the need for these collections also is diminishing.

 

This morning a few videos were posted on-line. One filmed early by Rebecca, Manager of Sanibel Holiday, had her walking down the beach access and along the gulf in front of Sanibel Surfside, at the end of Donax Street on the east end. With obvious wind whipping and breaking waves, there was no debris on the waterline, but a few dead fish at the upper wrack line probably from the high tide last night. The water color was very dark. Her occasional coughs are probably evidence that red tide still is there – or at least was this morning.

Sanibel strong

Mote Marine Laboratory Reports

Mote Marine LabMote Marine Laboratory posts frequent updates about the condition of Florida’s gulf beaches at https://visitbeaches.org/#. Their last postings from yesterday afternoon showed conditions dramatically improving locally, though this week Captiva experienced red tide effects too.

Lee County Health Department\

In Florida, the health department is responsible for testing the waters at public beaches and informing the public of the water quality. (To learn more, visit the Lee County Health Department website at lee.floridahealth.gov )

Fl Dept of Health.jpgThe below info is from their website.

“The Florida Department of Health in Lee is reminding residents and visitors to use caution when on the beach or in waters with high concentrations of red tide. Protect your family and pets by staying away from affected areas until the blooms move further offshore or they go away.  Red tide is a naturally occurring algae that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs nearly every year. Because the blooms are patchy, other local beaches may be okay to visit.

“The department encourages everyone to review these tips to stay safe while enjoying Florida’s beaches: In Florida, red tide is caused by a naturally occurring microscopic alga called Karenia brevis.

  • Red tide algal blooms can change rapidly, staying in one place for months or just a few days or weeks.
  • Symptoms from breathing red tide usually include coughing, sneezing and watery eyes. For most people, symptoms are temporary and typically go away when the person leaves the area. Wearing a particle filter mask may lessen the effects, and over-the-counter antihistamines decrease symptoms.
  • People with chronic respiratory problems, like asthma, should avoid areas with active red tides. People with symptoms that persist should seek medical attention.
  • Pet owners are advised that red tide poses a risk to animals brought to the beach. Red tide can affect animals if they drink affected water, lick their wet paws or fur, or breath marine aerosols.
  • Residents sensitive to red tide and living in beach areas affected by blooms are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (making sure that the AC filter is maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications).
  • Seafood, including shellfish, in restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and markets is safe to eat. Cooked shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly to prevent exposure to Vibrio vulnificus. Shellfish should not be harvested or eaten from areas with active red tide.

“Beachgoers are encouraged to check conditions before they go to the beach as conditions can change daily.

For the latest Red Tide Status Reports: http://www.MyFWC.com/RedTide “.

The National Weather Service

NoaaMaybe a blessing in disguise, the National Weather Service is reporting that a tropical wave is approaching the Gulf of Mexico from the north-central Caribbean Sea. The disturbance is expected to bring heavy rain to South Florida later this weekend and early next week. We will stay tuned to that development. Perhaps it will be what is needed to break up the algae blooms.

Irma 2017We definitely are not looking for a hurricane. It was just last year at this time that Hurricane Irma was forming.

Temporary Closings

Local businesses, shops, and restaurants are prepared for what typically are a few slow weeks on the islands (aka September), but many did not expect the slowdown like what was experienced this month.

Some blog followers asked that I continue to post the list of places temporarily closed, until they reopen. So, below is an update of last week’s list.

NormandieWest wind inn logo.jpgAlso, a spot that is open, but sometimes overlooked is Normandie Café at West Wind Inn. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An especially good buy is their Sunset Dinner offered daily from 5 to 6 p.m. It includes your choice of house or Caesar salad; choice of Penne Pasta Primavera, Shrimp Scampi, Salmon al la Vodka, Blackened Mahi Mahi, or Fettuccini Chicken Alfredo; and choice of key lime pie or crème brulee for just $22. Consistently delish!

Here are the temporary closings:

  • Blue Coyote Supper Club (Sanibel) – Their website says it sold August 13 and that a new restaurant called “Malia” will open there on Oct 1.
  • Bubble Room – will be closed for repairs from Mon Sep 24, reopening Mon Oct 1.
  • Island Cinema – will be closed for cleaning & maintenance from Sep 6 to Oct 5.
  • Over Easy Café – will be closed for vacation Sep 10-20.
  • Sanibel Community House – will be closed for maintenance Mon through Fri, Sep 10-14.
  • Sweet Melissa’s – is closed for vacation, reopening Wed Sep 12.
  • Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts & T2 (Traders 2) – will reopen Tuesday, Oct 2.
  • The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – will reopen Wednesday, Oct 3.

SanibelSusan Realty

Sanibelsusan LogoThanks to teammates Dave and Elise, for coordinating a huge bulk mail that was delivered yesterday to the post office. It is the time of the year where new listings are needed to fill the needs of the snowbird buyers and fall visitors who will begin arriving in just another few weeks. If you know of anyone thinking of selling, please keep The SanibelSusan Team in mind.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday is below.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service sancap GO MLS logoActivity August 24-31, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Sanibel Shores #A2 2/2 $479K, Loggerhead Cay #233 2/2 $739K, Pointe Santo #D3 2/2 $745K, Heron at The Sanctuary #3B 3/2.5 $859K, Snug Harbor #121 3/2 $1.099M.

5 price changes: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 now $259K (our listing – photos below show their new parking area pavers), Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 now $269K, Sundial #F205 1/1 now $440K, Sundial #G206 1/1 now $479.9K, Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $529.9K.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

No new sales.

3 closed sales: Sundial #I305 1/1 $340K, Sundial #E104 2/2 $840K, St.Croix 2/2.5 $941,250.

HOMES

2 new listings: 659 Donax St 2/2 $595K, 1558 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3.5 $3.1M.

3 price changes: 1643 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $528.5K; 2074 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 now $549,899; 735 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3 now $1.239M.

No new sales.

5 closed sales: 1126 Schooner Pl 4/2.5 duplex $440K, 5885 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $520K, 3784 Coquina Dr 3/3 $532.5K, 438 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $774K, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 $1.03M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 9232 Dimmick Dr listed at $199,555.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Captiva Shores #8B 3/2.5 now $1.498M.

No or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 53 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 $859K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 15735 Captiva Dr 4/5 listed at $6.795M.

1 closed sale: 11541 Wightman Ln 3/3 $1.8M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

labor dayEnjoy the long weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Trying to Make Lemonade


It’s getting harder to make lemonade out of the lemons, but here is some island news. It’s not all good, but it’s real – followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Red Tide Numbers Stay High in Southwest Florida; Bloom Extends About 130 Miles

http___m.myfwc 08-21-18The follow article is from the “Fort Myers News-Press. It was posted on-line and updated on Wednesday. The picture shown here was downloaded from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“A strong red tide that’s lingered in the region since October is still producing high levels of toxins along the coast. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released its latest red tide report Wednesday. Counts in Southwest Florida have upwards of 1 million cells per liter and more in the past two months and are still matching or exceeding that level in many areas.

“The bloom now extends about 130 miles, from south Tampa Bay area to Marco Island and can be detected from space. The National Weather Service extended a beach hazard advisory for Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties through Thursday evening. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday issued a breathing advisory for Southwest Florida that says irritation will be intense for the public in coastal Lee, Charlotte, and northern Collier counties.

“Some experts have said the red tide may last until winter when cold fronts from the mainland and windy conditions often break up the blooms. Red tide season typically runs from October to January or February, but this bloom has lasted for 10 months and has shown no sign of dissipation.

“Counts along Southwest Florida have ranged from background levels to 1 million cells per liter and higher. Fish kills and breathing irritation in humans can start once levels reach 10,000 cells per liter, according to FWC. This bloom has become much stronger along the coast since the first of June. Millions of pounds of fish and marine wildlife have been collected from Lee County beaches just this month. Hundreds of sea turtles have died in Southwest Florida from the bloom, so have manatees, dolphins, and even a whale shark.

“High counts extend at least 15 miles offshore, according to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

“The University of South Florida’s college of Marine Science predicts that the bloom will move to the south and toward the Naples area over the next three days.”

Wednesday Fishing Report from Charlie Sobczak

I bet some of you also are fans of local author (and Realtor®) Charlie Sobczak. He has written some terrific books including “Living Sanibel” which The SanibelSusan Team often gives as one of our closing gifts. Another of his, that I especially enjoy, is “Six Mornings on Sanibel” (published in 1999, but still available on Amazon). It takes place at the fishing pier. “Way Under Contract” is great too – particularly if you like real estate stories. If you read this one, you may think some of the characters are real islanders.

Charlie Pix 08-23-18Charlie is also a pretty serious fisherman so it was good late yesterday to see his below Facebook post. This is his pix too.

“While I seldom post fish pics I felt that since all we are seeing on Facebook these days are images of horrid, decaying fish it might be refreshing to see that the offshore waters are still untouched by this massive red tide and algae bloom. We had perfect conditions yesterday, August 22nd, 2018, when we headed out 32 miles west of Redfish pass with Captain Nate Buffam and crew. The water is crystal clear blue out there and the fishing was fantastic. The dirty water stretches from shore to about 15-18 miles then, after that, we saw “live” loggerhead turtles, dozens of bottle nose dolphins, flying fish, jellyfish, frigate birds and bait. Not everything is lost but if we continue to allow this unabated dumping of toxic water I fear the worst in the years to come. Please support the Captain’s for Clean Water Fundraiser on Saturday afternoon at the Clam Shack on Sanibel.”Clam Shack Flier

Thursday & Friday Water Reports from Local Gals

I know you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook, but if it comes from folks you know and it includes videos, it’d pretty hard to beat it.

Last night after work, Royal Shell Vacation’s Kris Slagle posted: “Just saw two bait pods on the West side of the Sanibel Causeway C span, and birds feeding on them! NOT saying it’s all perfect, but saying it’s some positive news! And hundreds of birds feeding on the mud flats!”

Then, early this morning Sanibel Holiday’s General Manager, Rebecca Cosentino posted a video of her walk down the beach access and along the gulf in front of Loggerhead Cay condominiums. She said that they have several check-ins there scheduled tomorrow so a personal visit was the best way to report the conditions. Though she said she is sensitive to red tide, she noticed no smell and had no eye or throat irritation. The video was early 7:45 a.m., but she wasn’t alone. The video showed some folks in the water and a few joggers and shellers. Unfortunately, it also showed a few dead fish – several puffer fish, baitfish, and a couple of eels. With winds blowing onshore that isn’t surprising, particularly after reading Charlie’s posting from the day before.

Then a couple of hours later, Select Vacation Properties’ Patience Rodriguez posted a similar video of her beach walk taken today in front of Sundial Resort. The water here showing better color and looking clearer than it has recently. She said that she is asthmatic, but similarly noticed no smell and had no breathing difficulties. A couple of small pufferfish were along the waterline here too, but very few. She encouraged listeners to Text MYSANIBEL to 52886 to participate in the call-to-action to stop the Lake O discharges (which have started up again).

So, it’s probably safe to say that the beaches continue to look better, but we aren’t out of the woods. We all need to keep the pressure on and respond to each and every call to action.

After seeing these gals’ gulf-side videos, about 1 p.m. I checked the bayside beach near the lighthouse and fishing pier. It’s looking good there too – likewise no smell and I saw no dead fish or wildlife – just one lone fisherman on the fishing pier and a handful of beachgoers at Lighthouse Beach.

Yet, it’s a gorgeous day and we all hope that it only continues to get better.

Stopped at my house on the way back to the office to be sure the canal there is looking good. Taken today, this is sooo much better than just a week ago. Sure hope it continues.

Anchor Canal.jpg

Now to some other good news – taxes and hurricanes.

Lee County Notice of Proposed 2018 Real Estate Property Taxes

LeePALogoLee County property owners recently were mailed their annual TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices. In compliance with Florida Statutes, this document is required to advise of the property’s valuation as of January 1, 2018 and its proposed ad valorem taxes for the year. Ad valorem taxes are based on the value of the property with taxing authorities determining the tax rate, or millage, based on the money needed to fund their budgets.

If property owners have questions about their valuation, exemptions, classification or characteristics of their property, they are encouraged to contact the Lee County Property Appraisers Office (www.LeePA.org) at 239-533-6100. If unable to resolve a matter as to market value, classification, or an exemption, a petition for adjustment with the Value Adjustment Board may be filed. Online filing is available, but petitions must be filed on or before September 10, 2018.

Hurricane Season Peaks in Sept. – Got the Right Insurance?

hurricane-symbol-blue-hiWhile most of us are counting down to the end of hurricane season (Nov), Florida Realtors® posts reminders that the peak time is coming up.

Florida Realtors logoThe below article was posted in their on-line news on Tuesday.

“ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 21, 2018 – Keeping up with property insurance coverage in hurricane-prone Florida can be tricky, to say the least.

“To help sort things out as summer and the storm season heat up, we spoke with Locke Burt of Ormond Beach-based insurer Security First and Doug Iannarelli of travel club AAA’s insurance division.

“Question: What do I need?

“After many hurricanes, including Matthew and Irma in the past two years, insurers said they saw claims filed under homeowners’ policies that could only have been covered under flood policies. Rising water that makes it into your home will only be covered if you have flood insurance, Burt said.

“But if a tree limb or other debris hit your house and creates a hole through which rainfall could enter, that likely would fall under windstorm coverage.

“Also, weigh the amount of coverage you need – and how low you need your deductible to be, given the savings or credit limit you would have available if an emergency hits.

“Although few studies have shown a strong link between hurricanes and increase in number of births nine months later, labor and delivery nurses say the phenomenon is the real thing.

“Question: What’s the newest flood coverage?

“Alternatives to the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program are increasing. More than two dozen insurers are issuing private flood coverage – which might save you money or might simply make it easier to file claims if a storm causes wind and water damage. Security First is among a few insurers that add flood coverage as an option, called an endorsement, on homeowners’ policies rather than require it as a separate policy.

“New mapping technology that breaks down the entire country into blocks about the size of a tiny house makes flood maps obsolete, Burt said, and enables private insurers to issue a flood-coverage quote more accurately and easily. The private policies are an expansion of those that traditionally have been written on $1 million-plus homes.

“Question: How do I fill in the gaps?

“Whether buying down the deductible of your existing homeowner and windstorm coverage or seeking another policy to plug that potential financial gap, you can reduce the financial risk storm damage can pose.

“New policies called parametric coverage can use mapping technology to determine the storm conditions that hit your location and quickly pay a flat amount directly to you. This can spare the trouble of waiting for an adjuster before getting a check, but it also is designed to just provide enough coverage to make up for your deductible. “StormPeace and Cat4Home are two such providers mentioned in a recent Sun-Sentinel story.

“Question: What are the rules?

“Keep in mind: Your property damage will most likely be your own claim. Unless you can prove the tree limb that blew over from someone else’s yard is sitting on your living room floor because your neighbor was negligent, you’ll be filing that claim on your own policy.

“Deductibles can be set for the calendar year, much like health insurance. So even if your deductible is $7,500 and one storm causes $6,000 in damage, get it on the record in case you have another claim later in the year.

Get claims filed quickly, as you might have only a few weeks to submit damage to your insurer. Check with your agent on the amount of time your policy allows – then don’t let busy signals or Internet outages deter you.

“You can’t buy insurance at the last minute. Whether you’re comparing rates or looking for coverage you’ve never had before, insurers have the right to wait until after a storm passes (or misses the area) once it’s coming close to Florida.

“Question: Should I shop around?

“Yes. Innovative policies, such as those mentioned above – or new insurers, such as Farmers which plans an August debut for Florida homeowners, according to its website – can help you save money.

“Use ratings companies such as A.M. Best or Demotech to see how financially stable the insurer is. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation has this resource and others posted on its website.”

Copyright © 2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Bill Zimmerman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

construction-site-clipart-7914449-under-constructionPre-Season Closings & Late Summer Projects

  • Island Cinema – will be closed for cleaning & maintenance from Sep 6 to Oct 5.
  • Pointe Santo – Pointe Santo’s building concrete restoration project Is underway. Buildings A and B were done last year. This year, from Aug 11 to Oct 19, Buildings D and E will be done. Building C is scheduled for 2019.
  • Sanibel Community House – will be closed for maintenance Mon through Fri, Sep 10-14.
  • Sundial West – Sundial West has had several projects underway since Jul. Completion is expected mid-Nov. Some buildings are being painted, pavers are being installed in parking areas, and electrical and elevator work are being performed. Also, their pool is scheduled to be closed Sep 24 to Oct 5, but owners/guests may use the resort pool then.
  • Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts – Is closing Sun, Aug 26, for their annual break. They plan to reopen Tuesday, Oct 2.
  • The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – Is already closed and reopening Wed, Oct 3.

Upcoming Events

crow-logoSat Aug 25 – CROW’s Walk on the Wild Side at Lakes Regional Park at 7330 Gladiolus Dr., Fort Myers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise awareness about the organization and continue the celebration of its 50th anniversary. Admission & activities free, fees for city parking. In the amphitheater: Wildlife Rescue 1012 at 10:30 a.m. and again at noon; Turtles of Florida at 11 a.m.; Owls of Florida at 11:30 a.m. Three pavilions will be set up with activities and info on different kinds of wildlife. CROW’s tent will offer info on volunteering and student programs. More info at www.CROWClinic.org .

Sat Aug 25 – Fundraiser for Captains for Clean Water at The Clam Shack on Sanibel from 2 to 8 p.m. featuring entertainment by local musicians, 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction. Captains for Clean Water is a non-profit organization focused on improving water quality. More info about them online at www.captainsforcleanwater.org .

sundial-logoSep 28-30 – USTA Southwest Florida Clay Court Championships will be at Sundial Beach Resort. This is their 3rd year hosting the event. The tournament includes a Saturday evening party and trophies. Players can register online at www.tennislink.usta.com , using tournament ID No. 150046618. Deadline is Sep 26.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors August Membership Meeting

Sanibel realtors logoAttendance was off and only three properties (including our new Pointe Santo listing) were open for Realtor® Caravan following yesterday’s Association of Realtors® monthly breakfast meeting.

lee schools logoWe got good information, though, about the upcoming Lee County School Board’s Half-Cent Sales Tax referendum that is on the Nov 6 ballot. Speakers were the county’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Gregory Adkins and School Board Member (& Florida Gulf Coast University adjunct professor) Chris Pattricca. Here are my take-aways, with some interesting tidbits:

  • Lee County is the 9th largest school district in Florida, also the 32nd largest in the U.S. It has 95,000 students
  • In 1886, there was just one school in SW Florida (with 56 students) and it burned to the ground. This area then was part of Monroe County so when students began running amok, a group of parents got together and went to Key West asking for a new school to be built. Their request was denied. Lee County was incorporated in 1887 with the need for a school being the driving force for that action.
  • Today, Lee County has 96 schools, 121 counting Charter Schools. There are 12,000 school employees (closer to 14K when counting substitutes).
  • School population is growing at the rate of 1,500 to 2,000 students per year.
  • Florida is 50th in the nation in dollars spent on education.
  • Today 40% of Lee County’s students have English as their 2nd language.
  • When school money comes from real estate taxes, often a disproportionate amount is received from high-end communities, so their schools are better. Here, the county spends $7,700 per year per child which ranks us 47th in the nation.
  • Though enrollment has increased since 2006/2007 from 70K students to 95K, capital funding has gone down from over $300M to just over $100M.
  • This proposed amendment is to increase the sales tax in Lee County by a half-cent, from 6% to 6.5% per dollar, to fund school capital projects. The proposal calls for a limit of 10 years with the tax expiring December 31, 2028. Approximately $59 million annually would be raised, paid for by everyone who purchases taxable goods. Exempt items like groceries and medications would not be taxed, and the additional half-percentage tax would only be applied to the first $5,000 for large purchases.
  • It’s estimated that 30% of the revenue generated would come from tourists.
  • The money from this sales tax will be used strictly for capital expenditures to build two new elementary and middle schools, one new high school, rebuild an elementary and middle school, to install school camera systems, hearing-impaired lock-down lights, fire alarm systems, and HVAC systems. It cannot be used to fund salaries, benefits, and training for faculty/staff/administrators, classroom materials, district and school services, administrative technology, or charter school buildings, repairs or improvements.

More info at www.leeschools.net/changeforchange.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 17-24, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sundial West #H209 1/1 $545K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 $869K.

1 price change: Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 now $749K.

1 new sale: Atrium #201 3/3 listed at $1.349M.

1 closed sale: Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $440K.

HOMES

No new listings.

8 price changes: 1520 Centre St 3/2 now $449K, 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $455.5K, 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $659K, 1043 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $725K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $979K, 430 Glory Cir 4/4.5 now $1.445M, 784 Limpet Dr 4/3 now $1.875M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.442M.

2 new sales: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 listed at $759.5K, 2857 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed at $1.598M.

2 closed sales: 4772 Tradewinds Dr 3/2.5 $795K, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.4M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 595 Piedmont Rd $209.9K.

No price changes or new sales.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Cottages #1407 2/2 $1.195M.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5228 1/2 now $399.9K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Tennis Villas #3129 1/1 $284K, Beach Villas #2423 1/1 $535K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $2.499M.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

Here’s hoping for more good news next week!sanibel-island-sunset.jpg

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Beach Improvement & Pre-Season Scoop


SanibelSusan here reporting another quiet Friday on sunny Sanibel, with the red tide situation at the beaches improving and the islands settling into a more typical pre-season pattern.

Upper Deck

Roof-top view today at our new listing at Pointe Santo C43

Social media is encouraging the public to support local establishments, but it has been disheartening to hear of hotels, shops, and restaurants with little or no business. During my travels this week, I heard of zero occupancy at one West Gulf Drive hotel. The Island Store on Captiva is now closed through September and even Periwinkle Way traffic is limited. From fishing guides, to stores, to real estate, it all has been affected.

I ran into Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra this afternoon and she said that that though beach and waterway clean-ups continue, the need is diminishing, and she may soon be ending her daily reports. (Kudos to her, the Mayor, City Councilors, and the many employees and contractors that have worked so hard and proactively to mitigate the fall-out from the recent area water issues.)

The Sanibel and Captiva real estate sales activity since last Friday follows a couple of news items below.

Florida Realtors® 102nd Convention & 2018 Business Meetings

787F5943-78D3-4D18-83D4-94D153CE1F38The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® had good member participation last week at the state convention, tradeshow, educational sessions, and business meetings. From newbies to old-timers, many remarked that the educational sessions and speakers were the best yet.

Florida Realtors logoOne of my favorite appointments is to serve on the state Professional Development Committee. I have participated many times on their audition panel which evaluates prospective Florida Realtors® instructors looking to become new faculty members or to add additional state/nationally-approved classes to their curriculum. The panels hear a full day of oral presentations at both the January Mid-Winter Business Meetings and these meetings in August.

Each auditionee goes through a pre-screening process (which we handle through evaluations, and phone interviews during the year) and then is assigned to make a 45-minute presentation in front of a panel. Panelists are made up of current faculty members, association education directors, as well as brokers, agents, trainers and leaders from associations across the state. This time, with a record number of applicants (nearly 50), we had 40 panelists divided between five panel rooms running simultaneously all day.

2018 Pro dev CommitteePanel recommendations go forward to the Faculty Subcommittee and then the Professional Development Committee for approval. Congratulations to the 14 new faculty members and the 14 existing faculty members who were approved to add courses to the list of those they are authorized to teach. These classes cover the gamut from those required of new agents, to continuing education, to property management, construction, marketing, contracts, and the classes needed to become a graduate of the Realtor® Institute. Classes continually are added and updated both at the state and national level.

SanibelSusan also serves on the 2018 Program Development Subcommittee, Forms Content Committee (where we make recommendations to the state contracts), Legislative Think Tank, and Resort & Second-Home Specialist Breakout Group. Good progress was made at all the meetings. I got to serve as an education ambassador at several of the education sessions too – a good way for an old dog to pick up a few new tricks!

2018 clean waterAt the meetings, there was emphasis on water quality, rental restrictions, and flood insurance (which thankfully passed the Senate last week).

That National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) legislation had passed the House earlier and allows NFIP to continue renewing or issuing new flood insurance policies for four more months. It does not change NFIP operations, but simply extends the current guidelines to give Congress more time to work on a comprehensive package that deals with the complex issues of affordability with a program that is deeply in debt. Although the program is now extended through November 30, the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make the program solvent and sustainable for the long term. The National Association of Realtors® continues to fight for these reforms.

Please Help Pass Amendment 2 – Vote “Yes”

amendment 2 logoAn important property tax amendment is on the ballot this November that is good for everyone in Florida. The 10% cap on non-homestead property taxes will expire in January unless voters pass Amendment 2. This cap helps sustain Florida’s communities by preventing big tax spikes for businesses and property owners who claim their primary residence elsewhere. Here are some highlights.

  • What is Amendment 2? It makes permanent the existing 10% cap on annual assessment increases for any non-homesteaded property. This affects all rental residential property, all commercial property, all undeveloped land, and residential property not claimed as a primary residence. The 10% cap (which currently expires in January 2019) is the only mechanism today that is protecting 5.6 million Florida properties from rapid tax assessment increases.
  • Amendment 2 requires 60% of the vote to pass. Please vote “yes” (or don’t vote at all).
  • If Amendment 2 fails, 2.2 million properties face an immediate tax increase in 2019 of up to $700 million (This is not money that the jurisdictions already are receiving from other sources. This is new money that will go to them and likely be used to create new or expand existing government programs. It will be difficult to stop or later reverse if this happens.)
  • If Amendment 2 fails, it will have widespread negative impact on business owners, renters, shoppers, jobs, and Florida’s economy.
  • According to Florida TaxWatch (www.FloridaTaxWatch.org), without extending the 10% cap, non-homesteaded residential property could quickly increase as much as 151% while commercial property could jump 85%. These new taxes could exceed $1 Billion and will affect everybody in Florida.

Scientists Unsure Why Red Tide Exists, How to Fix Problem

Here’s an interesting twist on the subject of red tide. It was posted Monday on sarasota herald tribune logoFloridaRealtors® on line. Copyright © 2018 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla., Carlos R. Munoz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

“SARASOTA, Fla. – Aug. 14, 2018 – While U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan discussed an $8 million grant to combat red tide at Mote Marine Laboratory on Monday, a senior Mote scientist just down the hall questioned whether the toxic algae paralyzing Southwest Florida beaches actually might be an important part of the ecosystem.

“Buchanan and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) sponsored the bipartisan legislation that was signed into law earlier this year. The funding was distributed to NOAA and will be dispersed to southern Florida researchers.

Mote scientists are expected to get a large chunk of the grant money, Buchanan said.

“The money will be used to research possible mitigation efforts, such as a field test of a newly developed method for destroying red tide using ozone, patented by Mote scientists. The device will be field tested in a Boca Grande canal this week. The patented technology was first used to clean water for sea turtles in a 25,000-gallon tank and has been scaled up to process at least 500,000 gallons of canal water.

“Is red tide necessary? Mote scientist Dr. Vincent Lovko, who works with Mote’s Phytoplankton Ecology program, says there isn’t enough research to determine what would happen if red tide was eradicated or suppressed from the Gulf. Researchers must consider three factors when dealing with an aquatic toxin: prevention, control and mitigation, according to Lovko.

“”The control (in Lake Okeechobee) is straightforward,” he said. “You reduce the nutrients, and you reduce those (blue-green) algae blooms.”

“The same can’t be said for the Gulf, where a Karenia brevis bloom currently stretches for 150 miles from Manatee County south to Collier County. Any mitigation system would have to treat 1.5 trillion gallons of water to be effective. “You might not even get it all if you do that,” said Lovko, who pointed out that Mote doesn’t have permission to treat the bloom. “There is no literature to suggest what the ecological function of red tide might be,” Lovko said.

“Single-cell red tide is a protist cell that takes three days to divide. It consumes organic and inorganic nutrients and has flagella that help it move around. The cell is animal-like in nature but photosynthesizes plants and other algae. “They can actually swim; they are capable of movement,” Lovko said. “They can move up and down through the water column (to the sea bed).”

“Similar to a forest fire? One hypothesis suggests that red tide’s destructive nature could be similar to the effects of a forest fire, which cleans out underbrush and is somewhat restorative to a forest ecosystem. But it’s difficult to see what the ecological function of the toxic algae might be.

“There is little information to determine where Karenia brevis ranks on the algal evolutionary scale. There are about 12 known nutrient sources for the harmful algae blooms, which vary based on their location along the southern Florida coastline.

“Even if science can identify a course of action that would destroy red tide, there are fears that the death of the organism could release toxins into the water and cause a large-scale marine animal die-off. A similar incident occurred in Chesapeake Bay, where a nuisance bloom was suppressed with copper sulfate. Toxins released by the dead algal bloom poisoned the water and killed fish.

“Lovko says there is only one way to find out what can be done to mitigate red tides effects – research. “Whether or not trying to control red tide would create a dead zone, probably not, that’s something that happens over a long period of time,” Lovko said. “It’s an interesting thought. All those things we have to consider when we’re messing with the ecosystem. We do it all the time. We cure diseases … We do a lot of things that are otherwise natural but are a bother to us or a danger to us. There’s no reason not to pursue it, but there has to be realistic expectations.””

Trees Now Block My Ocean View. What Can I Do?

Sun sentinelThis subject comes up here often, particularly when Florida vegetation grows like crazy during the summer rainy season in front of gulf-front condos. The below article was posted Monday on Florida Realtors® on line.

“FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Aug. 13, 2018 – Question: I own an oceanfront condo. When I bought it, I had an unobstructed view of the ocean. Palm trees are now causing a 90% view obstruction. Do I have any recourse? – Dorothy

palm tree.jpg“Answer: Questions about views are always complicated and involve many factors. The general rule is that no one is allowed to block your direct view. However, if it can be shown that the trees serve a useful purpose to the community or were pre-planned to grow in front of your unit, you may be stuck with them.

“To see if you have any recourse, you will need to review your condominium documents and the ordinances of your municipality. Many beachfront towns and cities have enacted rules protecting their residents’ ocean views. These palm trees may be a code violation best addressed by your city. If this is not the case where you live, check your condo documents since many oceanfront condominiums have rules regulating their landscaping and protecting their constituents’ views of the beach.

“Typically, view laws are designed to protect people whose property extends all the way to the high-water mark. Condominiums present a particular problem because while you own your unit, your entire community owns the land that reaches to the water. It may be further complicated because the unit owners below you in your building now have a better view than when the trees were shorter that they would want to protect.

“If it turns out that your local government will not be able to assist you, then your best bet would be to appeal to your condo board to come up with a solution that leaves everyone with a better view.

“About the writer: Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation.

“Copyright © 2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Gary M. Singer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service sancap GO MLS logoActivity August 10-17, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 $269.9K, Lighthouse Point #211 2/2 $649K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 $1.295M (our listing, photos below).

3 price changes: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 now $265K (our listing), Pointe Santo #C34 1/1 now $550K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $799K.

2 new sales: Breakers West #A4 2/2 listed at $534K, Sundial West #K105 2/2 listed at $897.5K.

5 closed sales: Tennisplace #A34 2/1 $314K, Sanibel Moorings #141 1/1 $415K, Sanibel Moorings #1611 2/2 $480K, Sanibel Siesta #306 2/2 $585K, Sundial N403 2/2 $812.5K.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $597K, 784 Limpet Dr 4/3 now $1.875M.

1 new sale: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex listed at $499K.

3 closed sales: 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $539.5K, 5430 Osprey Ct 3/3 $595K, 849 Birdie View Pt 4/4.5 $1.61M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1026 Fish Crow Rd $439K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 1036 Bayview Dr $3.55M.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5102 1/2 listed at $369K.

2 closed sales: Beach Villas #2414 2/2 $600K, Marina Villas #803 2/2 $715K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 38 Sea Hibiscus Ct 3/2 listed at $1.049M.

1 closed sale: 16575 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $2.45M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

Best wishes for a great weekend!weekend clip art

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Happy Lucky Friday the 13th on Sanibel


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that the island real estate market still is pretty quiet. Attendance was light at our Realtor Caravan meeting yesterday morning, with just a handful of new listings open for viewing.

Exterior Front CloseI was pleased to announce one of the few new sales and also advised attendees about our new listing at Moonshadows. With a reduction in the former price, but an increase in commission, it got their attention.

It’s a unique property, a half-duplex beach-front 3 bedroom 3 bath, with about 3000 sq. ft. of air-conditioned living space, plus covered parking, gulf-side patio and storage areas. In a small (12 owner) Property Owners’ Association with community pool and tennis., it’s like owning a home, but with the amenities of a condo. Only four Moonshadows homes are right on the gulf – all assessed between $1.9 & $2.2M.

View tweeked smallerAsking price of this one which is in an estate (lovingly enjoyed by the same owners since 1982) is just $1.695M. Neat clean, well maintained, and furnished, it’s by-far the lowest-priced Sanibel home on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s included in the islands’ Multiple Listing Service changes posted after a few news items below.

Summer Sunsets

There have been some spectacular sunsets this week. Clouds have been rolling onto the island from the mainland side almost every afternoon. Sometimes they bring a few showers, but often not until evening, so some of the sunsets before/after these quick storms are stunning. Here are a few from this week. They remind me of why there are both songs and drinks called “Sanibel Sunsets”.

bay sunset 07-12-18

Update on Sanibel Summer Projects

  • Bailey Tract Restoration – The Bailey Tract remains closed due to the planned hydrological restoration project underway in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
    bennight restoration_1

    Photo from Refuge email

    Crews still are working on transferring fill to Ani March and are continuing to pump water as the marsh constantly drains into the pond. The other areas of the refuge remain open (though Wildlife Drive is always closed on Fridays). Check the schedule at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/JN_Ding_Darling/ for days/times/updates.

  • Dunes Resurfacing Project Has BegunDunesEntrySignThe City’s annual street resurfacing project began on Monday with paving being done during normal daytime hours. Access to residences and businesses will be maintained at all times, but the public is reminded to use caution when traveling through a construction zone. Every year, the City resurfaces selected roads based on a time schedule and existing condition. This year’s contract involves full-width resurfacing of the following eight streets: Albatross Rd, Sand Castle Rd, Pelican Rd, Mockingbird Dr, Kittiwake Cir, Sandpiper Cir, Sanderling Cir, and Causey Ct. The contractor is required to complete the project within 45 days.
  • 2nd Half of Spanish Cay Paver Project – has begun. The asphalt is being removed from the east side of the parking lot now, but there still is plenty of room for the few occupants in town to park on the west side – including anyone showing our listing in Building A.

Ordinance Prohibiting Distribution of Plastic Straws

Sanibelcityseal logoAt Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council meeting, councilors unanimously approved a draft ordinance prohibiting the distribution of plastic straws on Sanibel. The prohibition would not apply to prepackaged beverages prepared outside of the city, medical and dental facilities, use of straws by disabled people who rely on their use to consume beverages or dietary supplements, multiple use straws or on land owned and managed by the Lee County School Board, Lee County, the state of Florida, or the federal government.

The idea of banning plastic straws on the island was brought before council in June by representatives of Coastal Keepers, whose Strawless on Sanibel (SOS) initiative began last year. Since then, more than a dozen island businesses have joined the initiative and eliminated using single-use plastic straws.

Baby Turtles Are on the Move

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SSCF) reports that 15 sea turtle nests have hatched so far this year. These early nests are the ones that were incubating when Tropical Storm Alberto hit, so they are encouraged that they survived the storm.

Seaturtlehatchlings

SCCF photo of sea turtle hatchlings heading to the gulf

As of July 9, 2018, SCCF’s turtle patrol has identified a total of 532 loggerhead nests (68 on Sanibel’s east-end, 339 on the west end, and 125 on Captiva). Two rare green turtle nests also have been identified, both on Sanibel’s west end. Remember, until sea turtle nesting season ends on October 31st, please help keep our beaches sea turtle friendly:

  • Close curtains or blinds after dark.
  • Remove all beach furniture after 9 p.m.
  • Fill in holes after your day at the beach.
  • Turn off or shield ALL lights visible from the beach.
  • No flash photography or cell phone lights after dark.
  • Avoid using flashlights and NEVER shine them on a nesting turtle of hatchlings.

Alligators Also on the Move

This guy was crossing Casa Ybel Road this week, a good reminder that summer is alligator mating season too. Always good to be on the lookout for them wherever there are bodies of water.

20180710_101918-cropped-v2.jpg

Captiva’s Sunshine Seafood Café & Wine Bar Reopens

Following eight months of downtime, Captiva’s Sunshine Café has reopened in a new location. Previously on Captiva Lane, the cafe had been leasing its space since it sold in 2004. Its new spot (the former home of Latte Da at 11508 Andy Rosse Lane) required significant rebuilding (not just remodeling) after Hurricane Irma so, the project took a little longer than expected. The new site has more inside dining plus room to sit at the bar and watch the operations in the expanded open kitchen.

More Water News

Water 07-12-18.jpg

On West Gulf Drive this week. You can be sure it doesn’t look like this in the river!

At Tuesday’s Sanibel council meeting, Mayor Ruane informed councilors that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to cut back on the frequency of water quality testing, including sample tests that are currently being conducted on a weekly basis at Bowman’s Beach. Sanibel’s lone testing facility, part of the Florida Healthy Beaches program, also is under consideration of being eliminated.

According to James Evan’s of the City’s Department of Natural Resources, the weekly tests which screen for bacteria harmful to humans and animals – cost $62.78 per sample.

In addition to requesting a call for action so citizens can get involved, council members authorized Councilor Smith to submit a request to the Lee County Tourism Development Council (TDC) for funding to continue water quality testing on the island.

Vice Mayor Denham also suggested that the City reach out to every homeowners’ association on Sanibel and request that they contact Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office, the federal government, and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) with a letter expressing concerns for water quality.

On Wednesday, a coalition of local real estate association leaders from Southwest Florida’s District 5 (which covers from Cape Coral to Marco Island) met in Naples with our local District VP and SCCF’s Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel to discuss cooperative efforts in the recent calls-to-action about water quality at our local Realtor® Associations. Presentations about the importance of water quality to real estate values are in the works for further discussion at Florida Realtors® upcoming governance meetings in Orlando in early August.

SCCF Notice Posted Today

SCCF logoThe below article is lengthy, but worth posting in its entirety. Some more good and some not-so-good “water” news. It was emailed this morning to SCCF’s members.

“Speak Up About Caloosahatchee Flows

“A lot has been going on with water this week! We ask you to please take a moment to take action and read the good news and challenges on our waterfront.

“Increasing Flows

“Today, Caloosahatchee flows will be increased with releases up to 3,000 cfs from Lake Okeechobee. This water will be in addition to flows originating from the 45 miles of river watershed between Lake Okeechobee and the Franklin Lock in east Lee County. The past week no water was discharged to the Caloosahatchee or St Lucie from the lake. The harm threshold for estuary flow at the Franklin Lock is 2,800 cfs which has been exceeded continuously since May.

“Emergency Order – Link Here

On Monday SCCF Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel was invited to meet with Governor Rick Scott and Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein on a tour of the estuary to discuss the devastating conditions caused by the cyanobacteria bloom that extends from the Lake to our beaches. Later that day the Governor issued an Emergency Order that allows the Corps and South FL Water Management Districts to exercise operational flexibility in moving water south and through the system outside of the standard operational protocols.

“With this flexibility available, this week we requested the Corps and SFWMD redirect the harmful estuary flows south onto 484,000 acres of crop lands south of the lake, an area larger than the acreage of Lake O which is 470,000 acres. By spreading the water over this acreage, it will saturate soils on fallow fields and crop lands that can expedite evaporation and evapotranspiration. In addition, the organic load from the algae will enrich the soils instead of contaminating our waterways.

“We ask that you take action now by pressing the Send A Letter button at the bottom of this email that will direct you to the next page where a sample letter has been addressed to the Governor, state and federal water managers, and our Congressmen. We ask that they use this operational flexibility to stop the harm to our estuaries while agricultural crop lands are afforded complete flood control, exacerbating the problem. Why are coastal communities asked to shoulder the harm alone especially when AG lands are protected from any such losses? It’s time to demand new actions for better outcomes.

“Some Good News: Everglades Reservoir Approved by OMB and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

“On a brighter note this week the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the Everglades Reservoir project, so it can be included in the 2018 Federal water bill, (WRDA) bill for authorization.

“This is a critical project that will create a new outlet from the Lake to send water south reducing estuary discharges by 40 – 60% and providing needed water supply for the Everglades and Florida Bay.

“The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is online at the link here. Public comments on the plan will be accepted through July 24 and can be sent electronically to: EAAReservoir@usace.army.mil/

Send A Letter

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 6-13, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sunset South #9B 2/2 $589.9K, Loggerhead Cay #184 2/2 $789K.

4 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #141 1/1 now $435K, Breakers West #A4 2/2 now $534K, Snug Harbor #312 3/2 now $648K, Sunset South #10C 2/2 now $775K.

2 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 listed at $499K, Sundial East #N403 2/2 listed at $889.5K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 $677K, Island Beach Club #230D 2/2 $1.325M, Tamarind #B302 2/2 $1.73M.

HOMES

8 new listings: 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $462.5K; 9211 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $599.9K; 1018 Demere Ln 4/2 $759K; 480 Las Tiendas 3/3 $799K; 1564 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1,295,555; 5657 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/2 $1.299M; 1351 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $1.695M (Moonshadows #2C, our listing); 4771 Tradewinds Dr 3/3 $1,795,555.

4 price changes: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 now $559K, 1676 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 now $999K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $1.022M, 243 Daniel Dr 4/3.5 now $1.494M.

3 new sales: 9240 Belding Dr 3/2.5 listed at $535K, 5430 Osprey Ct 3/3 listed at $599.9K, 4772 Tradewinds Dr 3/2.5 listed at $819K.

3 closed sales: 966 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex $440K, 1627 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $585K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 $745K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct listed at $335K.

1 closed sale: 1219 Periwinkle Way $750K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Homes #2 3/2 now $1.999M.

2 new sales: Beach Villas #2414 2/2 listed at $640K, Marina Villas #803 2/2 listed at $749K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 15147 Captiva Dr 6/5.5 now $5.295M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

fishing pier sunset 07-12-18Wishing you a weekend of stunning sunsets!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Happy 1st Friday in July 2018!


It’s SanibelSusan with the week’s report of the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service. It follows a couple of news items below.

Lots of folks have been asking about the water, so there is more about that below too. Here’s a photo taken just before the holiday, the further west you go, the better it looks!

Beach 06-28

Follow-Up on Sanibel’s 4th of July Parade & Fireworks

Parade 2018 beginningThe 28th annual island Independence Day parade Wednesday morning was terrific.

2018 parade judgesWith the judges set up right across the street from SanibelSusan Realty, we got to see the 50+ entries at their best.

The parade photo album posted on my personal Facebook page is available for public viewing (at Susan Andrews).

Later, following a huge early evening thunderstorm with heavy rain, the City was forced to cancel the fireworks.2018 Ding parade

Many boaters and causeway hold-outs were disappointed, as it is advertised as “rain or shine”.

The below follow-up notice was posted the next day on www.MySanibel.com.

“Please read this important news release regarding the status of the City’s 2018 Fireworks Display.

“Unfortunately, an early evening storm last night inundated the electrical components that are an essential element of the City’s annual Independence Day fireworks display, which is typically launched rain or shine.

“This morning, all unexploded fireworks were safely removed from the Island by 4 a.m.  Prior to last evening, the City had paid the vendor 50% of the cost of the $20,000 contract.  This afternoon, the City worked with the vendor who has agreed to credit the entire $10,000 down payment towards the City’s 2019 fireworks display.

This scenario eliminates the risk of a second cancellation due to weather during the rainy season as well as the additional labor expenses of a re-scheduled fireworks display.  The City of Sanibel again apologizes for any inconvenience resulting from last evening’s failure to launch.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors

Sanibel realtors logoNo caravan of new listings this week, but next Thursday morning will be “open” Caravan.

Also next week, I will be working with the Association’s Communications & Public Relations Committee as they finalize plans for our upcoming “Meals of Hope” food packaging event on July 24 from 3 to 5 p.m.

meals_of_hope(1)Last year, we hosted our 1st event like this and packed 28,000 meals in less than two hours. It’s fun, fast, furious, and for such a good cause. The meals are distributed by Meals of Hope to local food banks, including F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva food pantry. Our goal this year is again to pack at least 20,000 meals. That requires 50 volunteers and $5,000 to defray the food cost. Teammate Elise and I have already contributed and signed up to help. If you’d like to participate too, contact Megan at the Association Office, 239-472-9353, megan@SanibelRealtors.com.

Island Summer Projects Underway

  • Bailey Tract still is closed with the restoration project which began in early June. Work was scheduled to be completed in four to six weeks, so should be done soon.
  • New Pavers at Spanish Cay – The west half of the parking lot is done, looks terrific. A nice improvement over the black hard-top.
  • Roadway Trimming continues along Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road.
  • Temporary Library Closure The Sanibel Public Library will be closed for a few weeks beginning Monday, July 9. As part of the next phase of “Your Library Reimagined” project, this interruption is to complete utility work and relocate library materials. The Library’s eShelf for eBooks and downloadable movies, music, and magazine, will be available during this time, however the children’s special events on July 10 and 24 have been moved to the Community House. More info on the Library’s calendar at www.sanlib.org. No definite reopening date yet.

2018 Hurricane Season May Not Be So Busy After All

USATodayLOGOThis morning, FloridaRealtors® posted on-line the below article from USATODAY.com. Good news!

“Some good news from top hurricane forecasters: The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season should be quieter than normal, according to a new prediction this week.

“Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts from Colorado State University – regarded as the nation’s top seasonal hurricane forecasters – predict 10 named tropical storms will form, of which four will become hurricanes.

“That is a sharp decrease from their forecast in April, when they said seven hurricanes would form. One system, Subtropical Storm Alberto, already formed in May.

“If the forecast comes to fruition, 2018 will be a welcome relief after the 2017 season, which saw monsters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria tear paths of death and destruction across the Caribbean and the U.S.

Hurricanes need warm ocean water to develop and strengthen.

“El Nino is a natural warming of tropical Pacific Ocean water, which tends to suppress the development of Atlantic hurricanes. During an El Nino, strong upper-level winds roar across the Caribbean and Atlantic, tearing apart developing tropical storms.

“In its most recent forecast, the Climate Prediction Center gave a 50% chance of an El Nino forming in late summer or early fall.

“”With the decrease in our forecast, the probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean has decreased as well,” Colorado State said. The probability of direct hit on the U.S. coast from a major hurricane – classified as a Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale – is down to 39% from 63%.

Sanibel’s “Sweet Melissa” Going to New Orleans

sweet-melissa-sHere is a notice for island foodies. Sanibel’s Melissa Donahue-Talmage, owner/chef of Sweet Melissa’s Café was just announced as one of the eight chefs participating in the 2018 Chef’s Taste Challenge on September 7 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Tickets go on sale next week for this one-night culinary clash called the “Battle-of-the-Gulf Edition” which is a one-of-a-kind cooking competition and culinary experience. Participating chefs include:

Wondering About the Water?

Sanibelcityseal logoBelow are links to the panoramic aerials taken on July 4th, posted on the City’s website. The reduced water releases from Lake “O” are helping in clarity of the water, but the news of algae up in the Caloosahatchee River is disheartening, so we must continue to keep the pressure on.

Thanks to Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane and others for leading the charge. More details on www.mySanibel.com.

Lighthouse Beach Park Aerial Image:

Link to 360° panoramic view of Lighthouse Beach Park taken July 4, 2018; SanCap Aerial

Gulfside City Park Aerial Image:

Link to 360° panoramic view of Gulfside City Park taken July 4, 2018; SanCap Aerial

Bowman’s Beach Aerial Image:

Link to 360° panoramic view of Bowman’s Beach Park taken July 4, 2018; SanCap Aerial

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 29-July 6, 2018

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sundial #H108 1/1 $475K

No price changes.

2 new sales: St Croix #4 2/2.5 listed at $995K, By-the-Sea #C102 2/2 listed at $1.149M.

5 closed sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $215K, Sanibel Moorings #1312 2/2 $538K, Loggerhead Cay #214 2/2 $615K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 $815K, Sundial #Q404 2/2 $897K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 4245 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 $775K, 707 Cardium St 3/2 $879K, 1225 Seagrape Ln 3/3 $899K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $989K.

6 price changes: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 now $569K, 1323 Par View Dr 3/2 now $629K, 746 Cardium St 4/2 now $690K, 1043 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $749K, 617 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $797K, 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $1.369M.

2 new sales: 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 listed at $569K, 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 listed at $899K (our listing).

7 closed sales: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 $400K, 9225 Belding Dr 3/2 $400K, 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 $465K, 3825 Coquina Dr 3/3 $815K, 1001 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $845K, 805 Lindgren Blvd 3/3 $900K, 1316 Eagle Run Blvd 4/3 $1.23M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 1246 Sand Castle Rd $299K, 5170 Sea Belle Rd $334.9K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 14865 Captiva Dr 4/4 $1.699M.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 6/5.5.5 now $3.5M.

1 new sale: 15155 Wiles Dr 3/2 listed at $1.249M.

No closed sales:

LOTS

Nothing to report.

 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.

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Sunsets Are The Best!


It’s Susan reporting another beautiful Friday on Sanibel & Captiva Islands where we have had terrific weather again this week with a few late day and evening showers, mostly inland. Last night though, following another stunning sunset, the islands got a good dousing.

Below is a photo posted by Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra as she was coming back on-island just before the showers. Not only is she a fabulous City Manager, but a great photographer too. (Thanks for sharing, Judie.)

Judie sunset 06-21-18

The 2nd photo I snapped on my east-end travels. It shows just how green and beautiful the vegetation is on Sanibel this time of the year, as the seasons skip from spring into summer!

Purple flower.jpgIn the real estate world, the listing status changes as posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follow a few news items below.

Voters Are Not Turnips

SCCF logoLove it when the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) hits the nail on the head. Below is their email received Monday morning.

The other good news, just announced yesterday, is that the early huge water releases from Lake “O” will be reduced beginning today. Thanks to all that helped with the Mayor’s call-to-action. We can’t let up on these pushes. Southwest Florida government officials and local Realtors® have been cooperating on these initiatives for years and we are always in need of more help from the public.

Court Victory Supports Florida’s Land Acquisition Amendment – In 2014 an overwhelming 75% of Florida Voters supported a Constitutional Amendment to allocate 33% of real estate doc stamp taxes to Florida’s Land Acquisition fund, Florida Forever. The vote showed Florida voters really appreciate the public lands and special places that have helped make Florida a great place to live and explore.

“The Amendment was spurred when the Florida legislature quit funding Florida’s decade’s long program that purchased and protected wild lands, critical wildlife corridors, habitats and water systems from Spring to the Everglades. It passed with the support of 3 of 4 voters in 2014.

“However, the Florida legislature had their own ideas and misspent the funds on agency salaries and operating expenses over our active opposition each year. Their response? They told the public we didn’t understand the language of the amendment, copied below.

Turns out voters are not turnips and on Friday a Judge hearing the 3-year old case agreed, issuing a full summary judgment and cancelling the trial scheduled to begin in July.

“Voters are vindicated! Stay Tuned for what comes next. Thanks to the groups who sued: Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeeper, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, The Sierra Club and Earthjustice.

“Language of the 2014 Constitutional Amendment:  Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:

“1.   As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, spring sheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.

“2.   To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).”

1st Day of Summer & National Seashell Day

Yesterday, also the first day of summer, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau hosted an event aimed at toppling an existing Guinness World Record for “largest human image of a seashell.” It required recruiting lots of people wearing identical T-shirts to assemble on Fort Myers Beach and fill in the form of a seashell. A Guinness World Records adjudicator was on site to verify the attempt.

With 1,093 volunteers participating, including many from Sanibel/Captiva, Lee County’s human seashell surpassed a seashell image created in October featuring 855 participants at a team-building event in Turkey that was organized by the petrochemical/energy company Shell and Turcas Petrol A.S. Congratulations to all who helped the effort.

national seashell day 2018.jpg

This Fort Myers Beach shell-a-bration is the signature event for the 3rd annual National Seashell Day — held on the first day of summer: Thursday. Plenty of photos were posted on social medial under the hashtag: #NationalSeaShellDay.

Top 10 Threats to Real Estate in 2019

REALTOR-Magazine_Logo_The below article was posted on line yesterday (June 21, 2018) at “Realtor® Magazine”, credited to The Counselors in Real Estate on June 14.

“Rising interest rates and the economy are the top two current issues to watch in real estate, according to the Counselors of Real Estate’s Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 2018-2019, a list of the biggest threats to the housing market. For the first time, CRE broke its annual list down into current and longer-term issues to watch during the industry’s next year.

Top Current Issues to Watch

  1. Interest rates and the economy: As interest rates rise, commercial and residential real estate markets are seeing several changes, such as decreasing demand for commercial property and higher home mortgage rates. Rate increases are making homes less affordable and are also limiting the value appreciation for commercial real estate. “Lack of wage growth for all but the wealthiest population segment is dampening housing demand and limiting consumer spending that the economy needs for growth,” the report notes.
  2. Politics and political uncertainty: Tax reform and policies aimed at balancing trade with other countries will have an impact on jobs, incomes, and both commercial and residential property, according to the report. Congressional action to relax certain bank lending and asset management regulations was also among developing trends that may improve access to capital,” the report notes.
  3. Housing affordability: The lack of affordable homes across income brackets, excluding the most wealthy, is being fueled by low wages, rising mortgage rates, and the underproduction of housing for nearly two decades, according to the report.
  4. Generational change/demographics: Four distinct generations are exerting influence on commercial and residential real estate, such as in office design, student and elder housing, amenities, and location preferences.
  5. E-commerce and logistics: Volatility in the retail sector, such as from the increase of e-commerce, is leading to a growth in warehouses.

Top Longer-Term Issues

  1. Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, airports, water and sewer lines, electricity, and public transit are rapidly deteriorating, the report notes. An estimated $4.5 trillion is needed to improve critical infrastructure by 2025, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. “The lack of serious effort by the U.S. to address its condition and much-needed revitalization leads the list of broader and emerging issues affecting real estate,” the report notes.
  2. Disruptive technology: The report highlights advances in robotic manufacturing and warehousing; driverless cars and trucks; the extensive availability and utilization of personal and transactional data (aimed at enhancing business decisions); “smart” building technology that enables efficiency; global connectivity; automated business processes; and information protection through cybersecurity. “Nearly every aspect of real estate is undergoing dramatic change as these types of technology are adopted,” the report notes.
  3. Natural disasters and climate change: The ongoing threat of natural disasters and climate change can result in high-priced property and environmental damage. This includes everything from severe storms, wildfires, and floods to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and rising sea levels.
  4. Immigration: “If reduced by law, will have a negative impact on new housing starts and home purchases as well as worsen the current skilled labor shortage in the U.S.,” the report cautions.
  5. Energy and water: Natural resources that are vital to property and quality of life are being threatened by environmental damage (manmade and from changing climates) as well as “entangling state and local regulations that are complicating development and lack the standardization that national regulations would provide.”

“CRE additionally notes several other issues making its “watch list,” including rising construction costs; urbanization/suburbanization (with suburbs adapting citylike development and amenities); tax cuts (which may positively impact commercial properties; legislation is still developing); and societal leadership (social activism among younger Americans that is fueling business and social reform at many levels).”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 15-22, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Seawind #105, 2/2.5 $545K, Sanibel Surfside 2/2 $989K.

1 price change: Sundial West #E104 2/2 now $869K.

5 new sales: Blind Pass #G203 2/2 listed at $459K, Sanibel Moorings #941 2/2 listed at $519K, Sunset South #6A 2/2 listed at $599K, Sanibel Siesta #306 2/2 listed at $599.5K, Seawind II #5 2/2.5 listed at $799K.

7 closed sales: Casa Blanca 2/1 $379K, Mariner Pointe #533 2/2.5 $481.1K, Sanibel Arms West #G7 2/2 $520K, Sundial West #G204 2/2 $597.5K, Shorewood #1C 3/2 $800K, Sundial East #P204 2/2 $829K, High Tide #C201 2/2 $953K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 849 Beach Rd 4/2 duplex $635K

5 price changes: 1350 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $849K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $1.1M, 824 Birdie View Pt 3/3 now $1.149M, 1324 Seaspray Ln 3/3 now $1.35M, 6071 San-Cap Rd 5/4.5 now $2.9975M.

2 new sales: 1940 Periwinkle Way 3/2 listed at $459K, 1001 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 listed at $899K.

4 closed sales: 1338 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $552.5K, 1846 Ardsley Way 2/2 $525K, 1545 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 $975K, 1033 S. Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.413M,

LOTS

20180622_151644.jpg1 new listing: 9270 Kincaid Ct (our listing) $149K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3128 1/1 $352.5K

1 price change: Beach Villas #2625 2/2 now $640K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 $2,35M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

Here’s hoping everyone has a great weekend!

If you are interested in island real estate you-know-who is working.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Almost Memorial Day 2018 on Sanibel Island


SanibelSusan was ready to report another Friday with fantastic island weather until the rain began about 2 p.m. It’s still beautiful, just with a few raindrops. Since yesterday, the team and I have been getting our annual 7000-piece mailing post-office ready. If you are on our mailing list, you will get an island inventory/recent sale booklet soon. If you want to be added to the mailing list, just let us know.

The forecast isn’t what we want for a holiday weekend, with Tropical Storm Alberto likely to bring more heavy rain beginning tomorrow afternoon. Fingers crossed that maybe some holiday visitors will decide to look at real estate, instead of beaching, boating, and biking.

In anticipation of a rainy weekend, yesterday I took the long route from home to office to snag a few photos of some of the wonderful flowering spring vegetation before the raindrops pelted them. Here they are, beginning with a pink hibiscus at my house, followed by a late-blooming Royal Poinciana tree at Captain’s Walk, my favorite flowering trees at Sanibel Moorings, a fragrant frangipani in Sanibel Shores, and the wonderful butterfly garden at West Wind Inn.

2015-05-24 Hibiscus2018-05-24 Poinciana2018-05-24 Pink Moorings2018-05-24 Yellow2018-05-24 Frangi2018-05-24 West W

Below are a couple of news articles followed by the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. It illustrates, “it’s quiet.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoThere was no Realtor Caravan yesterday. It’s the off week in the summer biweekly schedule, but the Sanibel Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® has been hosting their annual classes for the Islands Specialist designation. To earn the designation, Realtors® must attend all 12 module classes which cover all aspects of listing and selling real estate on Sanibel and Captiva. Since this program began in 2006, close to 100 local Realtors® have earned the designation.

On Wednesday, I again taught the Resort & 2nd Homes module which I authored and update each year. It’s good to know that the “beach” remains the top location for all vacation and 2nd home sales. Florida also continues to hold its place as one of the top four states for resort and 2nd home buyers. (The other states are California, Texas, and Michigan.) Here’s a photo of the attendees after my pop quiz which earned them funny resort wear.

RSPS class 2018

Island Projects Underway

During my drive-around yesterday, I noticed that several building projects are underway. Several new homes are going up, including a big one on Limpet Drive and another big home in Butterknife. I was surprised to see a cute little often-admired beach cottage taken down on East Gulf Drive near Olde Sanibel. Probably a new larger home soon to go up there too.

paperfig kitchen logoConstruction continues on the new building at the site of the former Sanibel Steak House, and remodeling continues at the former Jacaranda Restaurant.

Remodeling also is ongoing at another new eats spot in Tahitian Gardens, called “Paper Fig Kitchen”. It’s scheduled to open in June providing catering and take-along. Check them out at http:/www.PaperFigKitchen.com.

Best 25 Places People Moving To in 2018

News Press logoAs published in the May 21, 2018 Fort Myers “News-Press”, Lee County is among the best places people are moving. It says:

“A new report from U.S. News & World Report ranks Lee County 2nd nationwide on its list of “The Best 25 Places People Are Moving to in 2018.”

“The county’s population spiked more than 14% from 2012 to 2016, behind only Myrtle Beach, S.C. (The report refers to Fort Myers, but the data reflects the entire county.)

“Florida locations dominate the list, including Sarasota at No. 3, Port St. Lucie at No. 6 and Melbourne at No. 10.

“This begs questions: Is so much growth good or bad? What is the impact? Christopher Westley, director of the Regional Economic Research Institute at FGCU, said there are many ways to look at such a ranking.

“Demographically, the Baby Boomers have been planning to move to Florida for 25 years and now they’re doing that, hence Florida’s outsized presence on this list,” he said. “That’s a big factor.” It’s important, Westley said, for elected leaders and others to consider the implications of such growth 20 years from now, when that generation’s migration is over. “Then what will Florida look like?” he pondered.

“Florida’s population is over 21.3 million, according to the latest estimate based on U.S. Census Bureau data. It will exceed 22 million in 2020, based on trends, and could hit 26 million in 2030. The last Census estimate for Lee County, in July 2017, says the population is nearly 740,000, so it’s likely over 750,000 today.

“The largest future growth areas in the county include Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, where there is plenty of space to develop. The Cape’s population, estimated at 180,000, is expected to reach 400,000 at buildout.

“This “Best 25” list is based on the “Best Places to Live” ranking, which looks at the 125 most populous metro areas in the nation. Lee County, again listed as Fort Myers, ranks No. 41 on that list. Collier County’s population, estimated to be almost 373,000 in July 2017, is slightly too small to be included.

“Eric Berglund, executive director of the Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance, said workers are a critical piece of the growth equation. “Jobs attract people and having more people here gives us a more diversified and qualified workforce,” he said. That’s important because site selectors — those examining where to locate businesses — look at more than just population when making decisions. “They’re asking, ‘What skill sets does the workforce have?’” Berglund said. “They’re saying, ‘If I can’t get the talent to work for me, the location won’t work.'”

“Workers, too, are evaluating a community when determining whether to relocate. That’s one reason issues like attainable housing and transportation are important. “You need to make sure workers have somewhere to live and that the infrastructure is adequate to get them around,” he said.

“Those concerns have sparked more conversations around attainable housing in Lee and Collier counties.

“Everybody is saying, ‘If we have such a robust tourism industry, we need to make sure our workers have a place to live,’” Berglund said. “It’s critically important.”

“Brian West, a spokesman for Lakeland-based Publix, said many variables are involved in the company’s site selection process, which relies on market research. “The population in an area is one of the considerations, along with projected growth,” he said. “Most of our growth continues to be right here in Florida.”

“The Great Recession, Berglund said, changed the budget realities for policymakers, forcing them to reprioritize spending. That’s changed in recent years, through the rebound. “With the tax base increasing, they’re able to come in and start to make some of those investments with infrastructure that got delayed,” he said.

“On a longer-term scale, Westley wondered: “How many municipalities’ operational strategies are based on income from continued in migration and how will that change once the demographic trends change?”

“Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais was at an all-day meeting Monday and unavailable for comment, said Betsy Clayton, county spokeswoman, in an email. The county, she wrote, has a “continuation budget,” which is the cost to provide the exact same level of services from one year to the next. “If population growth impacts service levels, that is factored into the development” of this budget, she wrote. “The county’s 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan also contemplates the infrastructure that will be needed to accommodate growth.”

“More population can strain resources, from roads and schools to water and health care if it’s not addressed adequately.“These are things that have to be taken into consideration as the region grows,” Westley said.

“Most of the same cities appear on such “best places” lists because they are appealing destinations and many are in states — like Florida — with no income tax.

While growth affects Florida cities and counties differently, partly based on their reliance on tourism, there are many other communities nationwide — from Seattle to Key West — struggling with such issues due to wage differences in the workforce. “When you attract higher income through in migration, you also create a demand for more of the trades as a result of them being here, whether it’s health care or restaurants,” Westley said.

“Moving forward, elected officials in Lee and Collier counties will continue to look to the state’s more developed east coast for lessons. “What did they do wrong? What did they do right and what can we learn from their experience?” Westley said. “Our area is in the process of turning a corner right now.”

us news & world report logo“Florida metro areas on ‘Best Places People Are Moving’ list

No. 2: Fort Myers

No. 3: Sarasota

No. 5: Orlando

No. 6: Port St. Lucie

No. 7: Daytona Beach

No. 9: Lakeland

No. 10: Melbourne

No. 12: Tampa

No. 21: Jacksonville

Source: U.S. News & World Report”

What to Consider Before Downsizing

Florida Realtors logoPosted online today at FloridaRealtors®, this article is sourced to USA Today:

“Tim and Tracey Kerin knew it was time to downsize soon after their grandson Maximus was born. “We started to re-evaluate what’s important to us at this stage in life and decided that our health and family were more important than a larger home with a big backyard and pool,” says Tim, 58, who along with Tracey, 59, operates a commercial cleaning and construction business.

USATodayLOGO“Last December, the Kerins packed up a two-story colonial replete with a beautifully landscaped garden in Damascus, Md., and moved to New Smyrna Beach, Fla., near their sons Justin, 35, and Jason, 33, and their families. And of course, they get to see Maximus, now 2. “We usually see Max a couple of times a week, and he spends one night every weekend, which we look forward to,” Tim says.

“The Kerins are not alone in their quest for a simple life centered on happiness. According to a recent TD Ameritrade Survey, 42% of pre-retirees are likely to downsize if they haven’t done so already. Some 25% of respondents are moving to a warmer climate, and 17% are moving closer to loved ones.

“Another critical consideration is cost. “Retiring with a lower mortgage payment, (lower) property tax bill, (and) smaller place to clean and maintain can be attractive,” says Dennis LaVoy, CFP of Telos Financial in Plymouth, Mich.

“Before downsizing, homeowners should run the numbers to make sure it makes financial sense. “Look at costs associated with selling the primary home, such as preparing the house for sale, agent’s commission, moving and buying a smaller home to get an idea of the fixed costs to relocate,” says Aaron Galileo, senior loan officer at Investors Home Mortgage in Howell, N.J.

“Once a person decides to downsize, he or she must keep lifestyle in mind. “You need to save as much as you can for retirement to keep your lifestyle intact,” says Jeff White, a financial analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com. “If you can lower your monthly mortgage payment from $2,500 for the big home to $1,200 per month for a nice condo that fits you and your spouse, why not leap and invest the extra $1,300 into your retirement plan?”

“The amount of space you have may also influence your decision to scale down. “If the kids have moved out and you’re an empty-nester, do you need all of that space?” asks Brian Graves, co-founder of Everything But the House, an online estate sale marketplace. He says factor in how much space you need based on your family dynamic and the frequency of out-of-town guests.

“For some homeowners, maintaining a property, especially an older one, is no longer attractive. That was the case for Sean Dougherty, age 51, and his wife, Juliana Atinaja-Dougherty, 56. In February, they moved into a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in Manhattan after living for more than 20 years in the 2,000-square-foot single-family ranch house in Clifton, N.J., where his wife grew up. “The house was run down in small but noticeable ways, and we kind of lost the emotional energy to fix it up for sale, so we priced it to sell,” says Sean, a senior vice president at a public relations firm, and Juliana, an attorney. “Plus, we always wanted to move back to New York at some point and having reached a point where we are more financially comfortable, it made sense.”

“Part of their decision was doing the math and figuring out they could afford to do it, especially given that the move to New York would increase their cost-of-living expenses substantially thanks to the rent they now pay. The other part was wanting to enjoy the entertainment and cultural experiences of big-city living.

“In my case, I wanted to do more in New York like seeing friends, taking in a Broadway show or going to a book reading without worrying about the frustrating commute back to New Jersey,” Sean says. Even still, they are happy with the move. “I put a ceiling on what we could afford, and I could still keep my job as my wife plans to retire soon,” Sean says. His best advice for those thinking about downsizing: “Don’t wait too long. It’s easy to live in the status quo of your life, but then you deny yourself other experiences.”

“While there is no one-size-fits-all answer for when it’s time to downsize, keeping these factors in mind will help pre-retirees and retirees make a smooth transition.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 18-25, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sanibel Moorings #1312 2/2 $549K.

1 price change: Island Beach Club #220E 2/2 now $899K.

2 new sales: Sundial East #Q404 2/2 listed at $929.9K, Island Beach Club #230D 2/2 listed at $1.395M.

2 closed sales: Nutmeg Village #313 2/2 $950K, Sanddollar #B301 2/2 $1.059M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 1126 Schooner Pl 4/2.5 duplex $459K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 $629K, 1066 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $639K, 1476 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $739K, 3136 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $995K.

5 price changes: 1520 Centre St 3/2 now $465K, 9225 Belding Dr 3/2 now $515K, 5885 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $599K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 now $639K, 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 now $899K (our listing – photos below).

6 new sales: 966 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $449K, 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $450K, 1338 Tahiti Dr 2/2 listed at $565K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex listed at $579K, 223 Daniel Dr 4/3 listed at $898K, 1545 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 listed at $1.149M.

5 closed sales: 3043 Poinciana Cir 4/2 $487.5K; 1145 Shell Basket Ln 2/2 $639,875; 1137 Shell Basket Ln 3/2 $700K; 805 Sand Dollar Dr 4/3 $1.295M, 1272 Isabel Dr 4/4.5 $2.8M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 9226 Kincaid Ct now $129K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #22 2/2 $1.791M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15879 Captiva Dr 3/3 $3.495M.

2 price changes: 16525 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $1.875M, 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 now $8.475M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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.

memorial-day-clipart-Memorial-day-clip-art-5-2Especially on Monday, we honor those who served. Here’s hoping you have a nice weekend too.

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Island Beach at Noon Today, Friday the 13th (April 2018)


 

Wondering how the beach looks? SanibelSusan made a quick stop, just after noon today, at the beach access at the end of Donax Street on Sanibel’s almost east end. As the above photos show, the beach is looking great and being enjoyed. My car said the outside temperature then was 83 degrees F. With a brisk breeze, it was perfect beach weather.

My team and I are continuing to enjoy the change in traffic pattern this week as the islands slow down. The trouble is once Periwinkle Way eases up, so do the real estate phone calls and inquiries. That’s too bad, as now is when it’s often easiest to gain access to the properties that have been occupied all winter.

Sanibel realtors logoAt yesterday’s local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting, in addition to many new price reductions, a large number of new listings were announced. It was a full caravan, too.

That’s a bit of an oddity for this time of the year when business typically slows down a little. Hopefully this year with winter weather continuing in many areas, Florida will be more attractive to future prospective property owners.

Shown after a couple of news items below is our weekly report showing the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Florida House Bill 631/Senate Bill 804 – What Are The Facts?

State of FL SealThere have been rumblings the last couple of weeks over House Bill 631/Senate Bill 804 – Possession of Real Property (commonly known as customary use), signed by Governor Scott on March 23. Some folks believe that this bill restricts access to Florida’s beaches. That is not true.

Florida’s Constitution provides that all land seaward of the mean high-tide line belongs to the public. No government entity or private individual or property owner can deny access to it.

Florida Realtors logoPosted on-line yesterday, April 12, Florida Realtors® provided a good explanation of customary use and the beach access issue with the following questions and answers:

“Question: What is “customary use”?

Answer: “Customary use” is a common law term referring to public access to private beachfront property. Generally speaking, beachfront property owners in Florida own the “dry sand” area leading down to the mean high tide line – the line of intersection of the land with the water’s surface at the maximum height reached by a rising tide. The land seaward of that, commonly known as the “wet sand” area, is held by the state in trust for the public.

The process known as customary use allows a local government to adopt an ordinance that allows public access to the private dry sand area of beachfront property where the use has been ancient, reasonable, without interruption and free from dispute. (1974 City of Daytona Beach v. Tona-Rama, 294 So.2d 73 (Fla. 1974)

“Question: Are customary use ordinances new?

Answer: No. The public trust doctrine is embodied in Art. 10, s. 11 of the state’s Constitution. Further, the customary use process has existed in Florida for many decades.

“Question: If customary use is not new, then what does this new law (HB 631) that was passed actually do?

Answer: The previous process for adopting a customary use ordinance was not structured in a way that encouraged active dialogue about the issue between property owners and the local government. The intent of the new law is to allow customary use practices to continue, but in a way that is more transparent, efficient and economical, while requiring active dialogue between local governments and private property owners on the front end to avoid costly legal challenges.

“Question: What was the old customary use process and how does it work now?

Answer: Simply put, prior to this law a local government would evaluate its public beach needs and previous public use, draft a customary use ordinance to address the issues they found, and then vote to adopt that ordinance. Property owners affected by the new ordinance could then pursue a legal challenge if they wished to.

Under the new law, the local government must first hold a public hearing to make the public aware of the new customary use ordinance they want to adopt. They also need to notify every affected property owner of the proposed ordinance in writing, as well as identify the use they are seeking and show evidence of the need of that use. They will then bring the proposed ordinance forward for a judicial determination and must notify affected property owners that they have 45 days from receipt of the notice to intervene in the legal proceedings….

“Question: Is public access to Florida’s beaches cut off under this new law?

Answer: No. The law only changes the process by which a local government would follow to adopt a customary use ordinance.

“Question: I live in a county that has an engineered beach/erosion control line. Does this issue affect me?

Answer: There are 35 coastal counties in Florida. A total of 26 coastal counties have an engineered beach/erosion control line – a jurisdictional boundary established in beach re-nourishment project areas. If you live in one of these counties, then customary use ordinances are highly unlikely for your area.

Nine counties don’t have an engineered beach/erosion control line. These counties are: Walton, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Volusia and Flagler.”

Reducing Your Flood Insurance Cost

femaThe cost of flood insurance often is a consideration to a prospective buyer. Some flood policies allow a new owner to assume the seller’s policy, so it is common for Realtors to ask owners about their insurance costs and the contact information for their insurance carrier. Sometimes we have info about how you may be able to reduce your insurance costs too.

Several years ago, the local Association of Realtors® brought in speakers from a local engineering firm that specializes in services related to flood zone mapping and analysis, flood protection analysis and flood proofing services. Sometimes that engineering work results in a document called LOMR (Letter of Map Revision). To fully understand what a LOMR is, it helps to know about the City’s evolution and how it relates to flood insurance.

Sanibelcityseal logoHere is some background from Sanibel’s on-line 2017 Comprehensive Floodplain Management Plan. (Read the full document at http://www.mysanibel.com/Flood-Information/Comprehensive-Floodplain-Management-Plan )

“The City of Sanibel is a barrier island, located on southern Florida’s Gulf coast. In 1974, the City was in a grassroots effort to gain local control over land development so that the fragile and unique environment of the Island could be preserved and enhanced…. Development within the City is regulated to coexist with nature.

“One of the City’s initial tasks following incorporation was the adoption of the Sanibel Plan (a comprehensive land use plan), which uses the ‘carrying capacity’ concept of land use management to determine the development intensity permitted on the island: the more sensitive the land is to human activity, the less development is permitted. In the City’s very fragile and vulnerable Gulf Beach, Bay Beach and Mangrove Forest Zones, little or no development is allowed. On the higher and less environmentally sensitive ridge areas of the Island, more intense development is permitted.

“Prior to incorporation, Sanibel Island was zoned for the development of over 30,000 dwelling units. After the City was established and the initial Sanibel Plan was adopted in 1976, the projected number of dwelling units to be permitted on the Island dropped to approximately 7,800. After subsequent lawsuits and Plan amendments, the current projected number of dwelling units to be permitted on the Island has been adjusted to approximately 9,000.

“Not only did the City significantly decrease the amount of development permitted on the Island, but the City’s new zoning regulations severely restrained and, in some cases, prohibited development in the Island’s most environmentally sensitive and flood prone areas such as the Bay and Gulf Beach Zones, the Mangrove Forest Zones and the Interior Wetlands Conservation District. By restricting or limiting development in these sensitive and vulnerable areas, the City took a giant step to protect the public health, safety and welfare from flood damage.

“When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the Community Rating System (CRS) in 1990, the City of Sanibel was one of the first to apply. Due to its historic proactive floodplain management efforts, the City is currently recognized as a Class 5 community by the CRS. Through the CRS program, the City has made a commitment to further improve and enhance its proactive floodplain management efforts through the evaluation and updating of its comprehensive Floodplain Management Plan (FMP).

“The purpose of the Sanibel FMP is to reduce or eliminate risk to people and property from flood hazard and has been developed to meet CRS criteria for such planning documents and incorporates the primary goals of the CRS to reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance ratings, and promote the awareness of flood insurance. The plan includes existing and new mitigation activities, to prioritize mitigation activities and on-going activities to meet the City’s floodplain management goals. The City of Sanibel has implemented its Comprehensive Floodplain Management Plan since the initial adoption of that plan in 1995. This 2005 Floodplain Management Plan assesses updates and clarifies that plan and provides direction for future actions. On May 3rd, 2016, the Sanibel City Council established a City of Sanibel Floodplain Management Planning and Mitigation Advisory Committee to the City of Sanibel to organize and prepare the Floodplain Management Plan. Under the Community Rating System (CRS), there is an incentive for communities to do more than regulate new construction. The CRS provides a reduction in flood insurance premiums to reflect activities that reduce flood damage to existing buildings, protect new buildings beyond the minimum NFIP protection level, and help residents obtain flood insurance.

“…The largest potential impact in hazard assessment of the 100-year storm is Base Flood Elevation (BFE) requirements from the FEMA maps. In November 2014, FEMA notified the City of Sanibel that it is analyzing coastal wave action in the Gulf of Mexico as part of its Risk Mapping, Assessment & Planning (Risk MAP) program. This analysis will be used to create new elevation data for Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Preliminary maps are anticipated to be distributed in 2018. Previous maps included Zone VE, where the flood elevations include wave heights equal or greater than 3 feet; and Zone AE, where the flood elevation includes wave heights less than 3 feet….

“By joining the NFIP in 1979 and requiring new construction to be built above the Program’s base flood elevation, development that has occurred on Sanibel since that time is relatively safe from flood damage in all but the very worst-case storm events….”

So how does this relate to a LOMR? In floodplain lingo, a Letter of Map Revision or LOMR is FEMA’s modification to an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM) or both.

Why do you want your property to be included in a LOMR? Because it may mean that your property is now located in a flood zone that is less likely to flood, so less costly to insure. The property didn’t move, but the likelihood of flooding occurring may have lessened because of nearby construction, shift in the land, and changes in the weather, that could affect wind and wave action.

In recent years, many island condo complexes and communities have hired engineering firms to determine if their locations could be candidates for LOMRs. The process can be costly and lengthy, but in many cases has achieved great results – and huge savings in flood insurance. Posted at on the City’s website at http://www.mysanibel.com/Flood-Information/LOMR-Letters-of-Map-Revision are recent revisions.

If your property is near one of these locations, particularly if it is landward of one of them, go to the link for that LOMR. There, you will see the letter that FEMA sent to the City identifying the area of change. The last page(s) of each document list by STRAP numbers & owners names, all of the properties affected by the that document. If yours is included, it may be worth a phone call to your insurance provider, as they may not be aware of the change. The LOMRs currently posted on the City’s site are:

  • West Wind Inn – 3345 West Gulf Dr
  • Beachcomber condo – 635 East Gulf Dr
  • 1243 Par View Dr
  • Pointe Santo condo – 2445 West Gulf Dr
  • Sanibel Seaview condo – 727 East Gulf Dr
  • Island Beach Club condo – 2265 West Gulf Dr
  • Beachview Cottages – 3325 West Gulf Dr
  • Dosinia condo – 3339 West Gulf Dr
  • Sandalfoot condo – 671 East Gulf Dr
  • Island Inn – 3111 West Gulf Dr
  • Loggerhead Cay condo – 679 East Gulf Dr
  • Sanibel Arms West condo – 827 East Gulf Dr
  • Casa Ybel Resort – 2255 West Gulf Dr
  • Tanglewood condo – 1101 to 1104 Seagrape Ln
  • Sunset Beach hotel – 3287 West Gulf Dr
  • Gulfside Place condo – 1605 Middle Gulf Dr
  • 5125 Joewood Dr
  • Sundial East condo – 1401 Middle Gulf Dr
  • Sunset South condo – 1341 Middle Gulf Dr
  • Sundial of Sanibel Bldg E & K – 1501 Middle Gulf Dr

To find your property’s FEMA map location, go to https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search

2018 Hurricane Seminar

hurricane-symbol-blue-hiThe same day last week as the City seminar about the 2018 hurricane season, forecasters projected that the upcoming 2018 season may be busier than usual. As a fan of the City’s official weather consultant, Dave Roberts, it was interesting to read that he said hurricanes can happen during any month of the year when certain conditions are present. One of those is that water temperatures need to be about 80 degrees. (Right now, the gulf is about 77, 78 degrees.) According to Roberts, due to La Nina weather conditions, Atlantic Ocean water temperatures currently are one degree above average. “That’s something to be worried about,” he said.

Roberts also stressed the importance of heeding calls for an evacuation especially when powerful storm surges are expected. “I can tell you that a 15’ storm surge is very unlikely, but a 3’ to 5’ storm surge can happen. Believe me, you don’t want to get caught in that because one foot of standing water can move an SUV….”

Here’s hoping that if we are prepared, no storms will come.

Upcoming Events

ding darling48th Earth Day Celebration at J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, April 21:

  • 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Wildlife Drive free to bikers/hikers, $5 per motor vehicle
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Free bike rentals at Tarpon Bay Explorers
  • 9:30 a.m. – Bike refuge tour (4 miles)
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Earth-friendly crafts in Refuge Visitor & Education Center
  • 1 p.m. – See free film STRAWS

Sanibel School Fund Blue Ribbon Golf Classic at The Sanctuary, Saturday, May 12. Call Christian at 917-763-6824 for more info/tickets.

Reminder About Watering

Lee County_logoAfter experiencing below-average rainfall from November through March, residents and visitors are reminded of Lee County’s year-‘round water conservation ordinance. It prohibits irrigation between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Irrigation outside of these hours is limited to Thursdays and Sundays for even-numbered addresses and Wednesdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered addresses

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 6-13, 2018

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #A34 2/1.5 $339.9K, Sanibel Moorings #1631 2/2 $615K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 $849K.

8 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #141 1/1 now $450K, Sanibel Moorings #1611 2/2 now $499K, Blind Pass #B209 2/2 now $569K, Sunset South #6A 2/2 now $599K, Sandpiper Beach #506 2/2 now $719K, Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 now $745K, Sunset South #1A 2/2 now $749.9K, By-The-Sea #C102 2/2 now $1.249M.

6 new sales: Sanibel Arms #D4 2/2 listed at $549K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 listed at $729K, Kings Crown #312 2/2 listed at $799K, Tarpon Beach #206 2/2 listed at $799K, Surfside 12 #A4 3/2 listed at $819K, High Tide #C201 2/2 listed at $989K.

7 closed sales: Tennisplace #E33 2/1 $285K, Mariner Pointe #241 2/2.5 $615K, Sundial West #J307 2/2 $738K, Sundial West #F201 2/2 $795K, Sanibel Arms West #D5 2/2 $845K, High Tide #C101 2/2 $885K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-6 3/3 $968.5K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1621 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 half-duplex 3/2 $565K, 5303 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2.5 $599K, 223 Daniel Dr 3/3 $898K, 829 Pyrula Ave 3/3 $1.149M, 2414 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.849M, 2564 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 $2.149M.

16 price changes: 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $455K, 3837 Coquina Dr 2/2 now $699K, 1325 Par View Dr 3/3 now $739K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 now $759.5K, 950 Cabbage Palm Ct 3/2 now $799K, 1350 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex now $885K, 4460 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 now $878K, 938 Pecten Ct 3/2.5 now $1.099M, 5411 Osprey Ct 3/2 now $1.099M, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.145M, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.249M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/2 now $1.495M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/3 now $1.65M, 2564 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 now $2.1495M, 3009 Turtle Gait Ln 4/4.5 now $2.795M, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.374M.

9 new sales: 813 Rabbit Rd 2/2 half-duplex listed at $399K, 3043 Poinciana Cir 4/2 listed at $525K, 1283 Par View Dr 2/2 listed at $574K, 887 Casa Ybel Rd 5/3 duplex listed at $575K, 1582 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $649K, 236 Hurricane Ln 2/3 listed at $689K, 678 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed at $829K, 529 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed at $1.22M, 805 Sand Dollar Dr 4/3 listed at $1.295M.

8 closed sales: 340 East Gulf Dr 2/2 $515K, 1625 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $575K, 474 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $655K, 924 Beach Rd 3/2 $875K, 748 Windlass Way 3/3 $1.1M, 2629 Coconut 2/3 $1.15M, 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 $1.275M, 1083 Bird Ln 4/2.5 $3.675M.

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: 976 Whelk Dr now $679K, 6000 White Heron Ln now $749K, 1226 Isabel Dr now $1.849M.

1 new sale: 2401 Blue Crab Ct listed at $679K.

1 closed sale: 6027 Dinkins Lake Rd $215K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Villas #2423 1/1 $545K.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2414 2/2 now $640K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 now $1.794M; 11535 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1,999,999; 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 now $2.499M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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 week, here’s hoping your Friday the 13th has been lucky & you get to the beach this weekend!

Here’s one more photo from today. TGIF!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusanIMG_5541