South Charlotte County Coalition (SCCC)
Ed Zapke, President
As you are all aware the City of Punta Gorda, and closer to home, the PGICA, continue to evolve. The issues facing our Association in 2005 are much different than those which we faced just a few years ago. The residents of Burnt Store Isles were formerly eligible for membership in PGICA. As we grew as a community so did they and it doesn’t come as much a surprise that many of the problems we faced, were problems in common. In 2000, the Board of Directors from each organization began meeting on a quarterly basis in order to discuss items of interest to both groups. The meetings were well attended and much was gained from sharing.
During the fall of 2003, at one of these joint sessions, a decision was made to invite other property owners associations from the Peace River southward to a meeting similar to those being held between BSI and PGICA. It would be the goal to share information on programs, discuss issues of concern and areas of common interest. The need for such a coalition was immediately obvious to all in attendance. The South Charlotte County Coalition (SCCC) was established. The SCCC was formed to provide a coalition of associations whose mission is to enable, enhance and improve the quality of life for the residents of south Charlotte County. Identifying the SCCC functions further embellished The Mission Statement: 1) Evaluate the regional concerns of member organizations to achieve an objective common consensus; and, 2) Present coalition concerns to municipal officials and other organizations for remediation. Organizational efforts were complete at the end of 2003. Dr. David Phelen of the Burnt Store Isles Association was named President for 2004. Ed Zapke of the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association is the 2005 President. Currently there are eleven property owners associations affiliated with SCCC. Each of our member organizations is represented on the SCCC Board by two persons appointed by their respective affiliate group. The PGICA Representative is Ron Slimp and Ed Zapke acts as the alternate.
Initially, fifteen regional issues were identified as items of interest.
- Beautification: Evaluate the status and adequacy of plans for Beautification of Rt. 41- South.
- Route 41 pathways: Evaluate the status and needs for the establishment of sidewalks, pathways, bicycle trails etc. along Rt. 41-South.
- Water management: Evaluate plans and adequacy for managing potable, grey and black water as applies to the SCCC area.
- Rt. 41-South Safety: Evaluate the need to insure safety by reducing the speed limit on US 41 south of Jones Loop
- Route 41-S Development: Evaluate the impact of plans for future commercial and residential development along Route 41-South.
- South County Traffic Study: Evaluate the extent that area-wide traffic study has been completed and whether SCCC considers these studies/plans to be adequate for the SCCC area
- Burnt Store Road: Evaluate the plans for modification of Burnt Store Road and related issues.
- Development of the Charlotte County Airport: Evaluate the potential impact of flight patterns and noise related to further development of the Charlotte County Airport.
- Burnt Store Road: Evaluate the impact of new sub-divisions being planned for development along Burnt Store Road.
- City of Punta Gorda: Evaluate the desirability and impact of various areas that are, from time-to-time, considered for annexation into the City of Punta Gorda.
- Evacuation Routes: Evaluate plans for emergency evacuation routes: Aqui Esta, Route 17-North
- Green Space: Evaluate the need for and identify areas that may be recommended for conversion to "Green Space" in the South County area.
- Emergency Services: Evaluate the adequacy and location of emergency police, medical and disaster services.
- Property Appraisal System: Evaluate the fairness and appropriateness of property appraisal practices.
- Taxes: Evaluate the forces that drive property taxes and promote policies that either avoid or minimize further increases
The list was shared with the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners, Municipal Planning Organization, Punta Gorda Council and other agencies that would have an impact in attempting to achieve the SCCC goal.
So far during 2005, the following items have received significant attention:
- Airport Noise and Growth
- Aqui Esta Upgrade
- Burnt Store Corridor Truck Traffic
- Unsafe Intersections
- Preserving Water Supply
- US 41 Traffic and Safety Concerns
- Weigh Station
Officials whose positions impact an item under discussion are invited to speak at the monthly meetings of the SCCC Representatives. In addition to State, County and City Officials, we have heard from organizations planning to develop the Burnt Store corridor, environmental groups, and concerned citizens. These interactions have provided the opportunity for SCCC Representatives and the Boards of Directors of member associations to better understand the issues and explore how working together can result in improved cooperation between the various municipal entities and affiliate organizations. Our speakers list includes:
- Federal Government:
- Fred May – FEMA
- County Commissioners:
- Adam Cummings
- Tom D'Aprile
- Matt DeBoer
- Mac Horton
- County Staff:
- Mike Konefal – Community Development
- Tom O’Kane – County Public Works
- Bruce Louckes – County Administrator
- Dan Quick – Charlotte County Airport
- John Davenport – Sheriff
- Gary Harrell - MPO
- City Council:
- Stephen Fabian -Mayor
- Marilyn Smith-Mooney
- City Staff:
- Howard Kunik – City Manager
- Bob Crispin – Community Development
- Private Sector:
- Joan Campagna – Burnt Store Road Beautification Alliance
- David Nash – Tern Bay Group
- Paul Holmes – Audubon Society
Representatives of the SCCC attend all meetings of the County Commission, City Council and the Metropolitan Planning Organization. They act in an advisory capacity to organizations such as the Burnt Store Initiative and TEAM Punta Gorda and have participated in the development of the new Land Use Regulations and the revised City Charter.
The result of these efforts should be to expedite the resolution of issues through communication. The SCCC goal is to work with municipal officials in meaningful, respectful and productive interactions that ultimately benefit South County residents. This process is well underway.
As the area south of the Peace River continues to develop, the role of the SCCC will become even more critical. Growth will bring problems whose solution can only be found in a cooperative effort of governmental agencies and organizations representing property owners and tax payers.