It sure is great to be back on the islands, especially with the deep winter freeze reported in so many areas of the country. With temperatures here this week about 10 degrees lower than normal at this time of the year, a few islanders have grumbled about needing to kick their heat on and dig out their warmer sweaters and jackets. Mostly however, we have worried about friends and family up north and wish their frigid weather soon ends.
The islands’ good weather news today is that day-time temperatures here finally are back into the high 70’s, with even some low-80’s predicted for the weekend. The SanibelSusan Teams hopes that being the warmest state in the nation will bring more visitors and buyers to the sunshine state, especially the islands.
As traffic here increases, business likewise seems to be growing. Our various Open Houses this week had more visitors, while our listings had a little more activity too. Teammate Dave and I also were both out working with buyers and showing property.
At the islands’ Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, there were more new sales announced – also, many new listings and price reductions. The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week follows a few news items below.
First, a summary of today’s inventory (2/1/2019) compared to sales action this year, and 2018.
|Sanibel||#||Avg $ Price||DOM||#||Avg $ Price||DOM||#||Avg $ Price||DOM|
|Sold to-date in 2019||6||626,875||123||9||1,057,222||149||0||N/A||N/A|
|Sold in 2018||155||720,617||172||218||1,112,748||162||21||602,095||240|
|Captiva||#||Avg $ Price||DOM||#||Avg $ Price||DOM||#||Avg $ Price||DOM|
|Sold to-date in 2019||1||389,000||43||1||2,800,000||181||0||N/A||N/A|
|Sold in 2018||27||797,532||153||25||2,127,352||290||0||N/A||N/A|
First Florida Water Policy Summit
Organized around the idea that “clean water is a basic human right”, the first Florida Water Policy Summit was held on January 21 featuring six speakers from local conservation groups speaking about actionable water policy that can improve Florida’s impaired waters. According to experts, Florida has a lot of impaired waters – currently 12 million acres under Best Management Action Plans which are 15-year restoration plans required by the federal government when a waterbody is not meeting quality standards.
The Federal Clean Water Act requires each state to compile a list of such waterbodies. Then the Department of Environmental Protection conducts water shed assessments. Any waterbody that does not meet pollution standards is scheduled for a Total Maximum Daily Load, which is a limit for the amount of a particular pollutant that a waterbody can handle. The next step after establishing that “Load” is writing up the Action Plan to restore those waters. Current reports show that Florida has 416 waterbodies with “Loads”, with 80 others on a waitlist to receive one.
Specialists with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida offered some insight into how Florida got the point where almost a third of the state is under water quality restoration plans. Those answers are complicated (quotes below from January 30, 2019 “Sanibel-Captiva Islander”:
“A combination of harmful agricultural run-off, insufficient urban stormwater treatment, and fertilizer use have mixed us a cocktail of toxic water.
“Under Florida water law, farmers can sign a notice of intent to implement best management practices – essentially promising to comply with water quality standards.
“This grants a “presumption of compliance,” regardless of whether they are actually meeting standards or not.
“…Doing away with that presumption of compliance, updating stormwater run-off standards to remove more nutrients, and strengthening local fertilizer ordinances can all help improve water quality.
“And then there is Lake Okeechobee.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule in 2008, and it was intended as an interim measure until repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dam were completed.
“Those repairs still are not done.
“The Corps expects them to be finished by 2022, but they have said they will not change the Schedule until the dam is completed.
“According to Florida’s director of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Schedule did not consider cyanobacteria and red tide, claiming it was unlikely that discharges from the lake caused harmful algal blooms, and did not analyze them any further.
“But discharges from the lake do cause problems.
“Rae Ann Wessel, natural resource policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, refers to the issue of balancing the lake’s flow levels as “The Goldilocks Condition.”
“Propelled by gravity, Lake Okeechobee’s discharges travel across 75 miles of freshwater river and estuary and three lock and dam systems to reach the Gulf of Mexico.
“Too much flow from the lake washes valuable fish and oyster nurseries out into the Gulf, decimating the ecosystem.
“Too little flow chokes these habitats with salt.
“”When we don’t get enough flow into the system through the western lock, the water that is fed by tidal action from the Gulf up the river brings much more salinity than some of these habitats can tolerate,” Wessel said.
“Habitats like tapegrass, which provide a home for crab, fish, and oysters that filter feed and clean water naturally, are destroyed.
“”Not only do we lose the tapegrass, we also lose 100% of the oyster reef that is downstream, and those are filtering water for free. 50 gallons a day for a single oyster is a huge contribution to our water quality,” she said.
“In 2001, the South Florida Water Management District set a minimum flow level of 300 cubic feet per second.
“Scientists realized this forgot to account for inflows to the estuary coming downstream from Telegraph Creek and Orange River, so they adjusted the number to 450, Wessel said.
“”That’s important because it shows up in the Schedule, and every habitat analysis for every state and federal Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan project as a habitat metric. So if you’re meeting 450 cubic feet per second for the Caloosahatchee, it says you’re golden… and we know that’s just not true,” she said.
“A more ideal number is closer to 800, all the way up to 1,000 cubic feet per second, according to Wessel.
“The South Florida Water Management District recently set the flow level to 400 cubic feet per second, and the City of Sanibel gathered three other neighboring municipalities, including Cape Coral, to challenge that rule in administrative court, asking for more flows.
“That case is still awaiting a ruling.
“We’re doing oyster restoration and tapegrass restoration, but it’s not accounted for in the district’s analysis. They say the tapegrass is doing fine, but that’s because we keep going in and planting it,” Wessel said.
“With all of this in mind,… it is important for citizens to ask the Corps to address the regulations schedule as soon as possible, and to finish repairs to the dam by June 2020.
“”It can be done by then, and we need to demand it….”
“Wessel reminded everyone that it is not just Lake Okeechobee to blame for all our problems, because the watershed the discharges flow through to reach the Gulf is almost two Lake Okeechobees in size.
“”There are many times when we are getting no discharges from the lake, and we’re having harmful flows just from the estuary and river watershed. So keep in mind that when we talk about where the problems start, and where the solutions lie, it’s important to recognize that it’s all of us, we all contribute to it,” she said.
Important Addition to South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)
Local water quality advocates were encouraged two weeks ago when Florida’s new Governor, Ron DeSantis took office and almost immediately issued a water policy order and requested that all board members of the South Florida Water Management District board resign.
This week, Gov DeSantis appointed outgoing Sanibel City Councilman Chauncey Goss to serve on the district’s 9-member panel. Chauncey has not only a keen connection to the island (yes, his Dad was Sanibel’s first Mayor), he has an impressive resume, having served in senior roles in politics both in the U.S. House and the White House. He is on the Board of Directors at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Lee County Coastal Advisory Council, Lee County Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, among others. Last week, he announced that he would not seek re-election to the City council post he has served on since March 2015.
Following Goss’ appointment, the SFWMD released the following statement:
“The South Florida Water Management District appreciates Gov. Ron DeSantis’ leadership in making the restoration of Florida’s Everglades and the protection of its water resources such a high priority. His recommendation to allocate $625 million for state water resources projects like the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir, as well as the actions laid out in his recent executive order, show that Gov DeSantis is leading the charge to restore, and protect Florida families, businesses, and the environment.”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Jan 25 – Feb 1, 2019
4 new listings: Sandalfoot #1C1 2/2 $959K, Pointe Santo #E3 2/2 $889K, Sundial #P203 2/2 $929.9K, White Sands #25 2/2 $999K.
6 price changes: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 now $259K, Sundial #I103 1/1 now $479K, Oceans Reach #4B1 1/1 now $699K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $769K, Gulfside Place #305 2/2 now $1.49M, Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 now $1.595M.
2 new sales: Sand Pointe #228 2/2 listed at $749K, Kings Crown #311 3/2 listed at $999K.
2 closed sales: Sundial #G206 1/1 $457.5K, Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $940K.
12 new listings: 747 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $559K, 4619 Rue Bayou 3/2 $699K, 2010 Wild Lime Dr 4/4 $749K, 405 Tiree Cir 3/2 $824.9K, 543 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $929K, 5659 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 $949K, 1010 Kings Crown Dr 3/3 $1.245M, 928 Beach Rd 4/3 $1.295M, 228 Violet Dr 4/2/2 $1.949M, 572 Kinzie Island Ct 5/5 $2.15M, 2391 Shop Rd 3/2.5 $2.174M, 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 $2.895M.
9 price changes: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 now $535K, 984 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 now $549.5K, 1973 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 now $689K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $799K, 1307 Par View Dr 3/3 now $999K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $1.0355M, 829 Birdie View Pt 4/3.5 now $1.19M, 6425 Pine Ave 4/3 now $1.595M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.699M.
7 new sales: 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 listed at $439.5K; 529 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $749,947; 1236 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed at $889K; Moonshadows #2E 2/2 listed at $895K (our buyer); 3351 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 listed at $1.25M; 2640 Coconut Dr 2/2 listed at $1.375M; 5407 Osprey Ct 4/3 listed at $1.595M.
2 closed sales: 4290 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 $510K, 568 Sea Oats Dr 3/2.5 $730K.
No new listings.
4 price changes: 1817 Long Point Ln now $309K, 5251 Indian Ct now $689K, 6505 Pine Ave now $779K, 6519 Pine Ave now $799K.
No new or closed sales.
2 new listings: Beach Villas #5114 1/2 $412K, Beach Villas #2227 1/1 $539K.
2 price changes: Beach Homes #17 4/3 now $3.25M, Beach Homes #25 3/2 now $1.895M.
No new sales.
No closed sales.
2 new listings: 14981 Binder Dr 3/3 $1.049M, 11501 Laika Ln 3/3 $1.595M.
2 price changes: 16596 Captiva Dr 5/5/2 now $6.979M, 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 now $7.98M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 1102 Tallow Tree Ct 5/4 half-duplex $2.8M.
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, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan