City provides post-hurricane updates daily | News, Sports, Jobs – Sanibel-Captiva Islander

  • October 18, 2022

Following the landfall of Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida, the city of Sanibel has been holding Facebook Live updates daily from its Temporary City Hall at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fort Myers.
Starting this week, it switches to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for the 5 p.m. Lives.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the last 15 days,” City Manager Dana Souza said during the Facebook Live on Oct. 14. “I promise you, it will get better over time.”
Mayor Holly Smith echoed that today.
“It is day 19 of Ian’s recovery,” she said at the Facebook Live. “We are making strides every single day. We’re working 24/7 to make sure we can work together to get our community back together again.”
For those who have not been back to the island, Smith offered a word of caution.
“Do not think you are going back to a habitable island. Although we have access to the islands, we don’t have the services that we require to really live there,” she said, citing electricity and water.
Smith added that there is a sense that the island will be “open for business” when the bridge reopens.
“We’re a long way from that,” she said.
The city shared the following information and resources during the updates:
– Resident: Residential Hurricane Reentry Pass or valid ID with Sanibel address
– Property owner: Hurricane Reentry Pass with valid ID
– Contractor: Commercial Hurricane Reentry Pass with valid ID
– Insurance adjuster: Insurance Adjuster Reentry Pass with valid ID
Only the 2021 and 2022 passes are valid for re-entry; 2016 and older passes will not be accepted.
Officials reported that the Sanibel Causeway will be open for civilian use starting on Oct. 21.
Hurricane re-entry passes are currently required to gain access to the island via the water and will be required to gain access via the causeway when it is open. The passes can be obtained from the Temporary City Hall, at 13051 Bell Tower Drive. For information, visit
Officials advised the community to anticipate long wait lines to get on to the island.
The city recognizes the need of residents and their contractors to start mitigating damage quickly, efficiently and safely. While a building permit is required for most construction-related work, various improvements of real property may not require a building permit. The city has issued a “Sanibel Guidance for Construction-Related Work That May be Completed Without a Building Permit” to inform residents about work that may be completed without a permit. For more information, visit
The city’s floodplain management regulations and codes specify the lowest habitable floor of all new buildings must be elevated to or above the base flood elevation (BFE) established by FEMA in the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), plus 1 foot. The regulations also specify “substantial improvement” of existing buildings or buildings that have sustained “substantial damage” (as these terms are defined in the Sanibel Code) must be brought into compliance with the requirements for new construction. The city is providing a GIS map to assist homeowners in reviewing the updated FEMA FIRM that will become effective on Nov. 17. To view the GIS map, visit
Officials reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be on the island this week to perform a reassessment of the properties that were earlier deemed as “destroyed” and “major damage” by the Urban Search and Rescue teams. The Corps will be looking for structural damage to these properties.
Residents are asked to place storm-generated debris on the public right-of-way. Only loose debris will be collected. Bagged debris should not be placed on the public right-of-way. To prevent flat tires, residents are asked to collect and dispose of any nails and screws found in front of residences. For more information, visit
The city has placed containers at the City Recycling Center to collect residential refrigerator and kitchen rubbish. No commercial rubbish, debris or vegetation will be accepted. Commercial property owners must contact their waste hauler for pick up as needed.
Officials reported that Blossman Gas is serving as the vendor to deliver propane on Sanibel.
The service is for those utilizing a propane generator.
Those who need propane can get added to the delivery list by calling 239-244-1529.
Officials reported that 120 portable toilets were delivered on Oct. 15.
They have been set up throughout the island for public use.
Officials reported that the city is exploring options to set up charging stations for the community.
Officials reported that the barge service is going well, but it is congested overall.
Contractors who have access to a barge may bring equipment to Sanibel to help customers with mitigation efforts. A Commercial Hurricane Reentry Pass is required. The barge landing locations are Tarpon Bay Marina, Sanibel Marina and the Island Inn. Contractors must coordinate their arrival/departure times with the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit
Officials continue to work on launching a ferry shuttle service to transport residents, business owners and such on and off the island, but it is proving to be difficult. The bridge may be open before that.
Sanibel continues to have a curfew in effect between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Residents can stay overnight in their homes but cannot leave their property during curfew hours.
Five checkpoints remain in place throughout the island.
The Sanibel Police Department and assisting law enforcement agencies are checking for hurricane passes. People should carry their pass with them. For those driving vehicles and golf carts, the passes must hang from the rearview mirror at all times. Some people have attached them to their bicycles.
Speed limits are 30 mph on most streets and 35 mph on Periwinkle Way and Sanibel-Captiva Road. The SPD asks motorists to slow down and be aware of their surroundings when they are driving.
To report an unauthorized entry or trespass, contact the SPD at 239-472-3111.
“If you see something, say something,” Police Chief William “Bill” Dalton said at one Facebook Live. “If you see something that doesn’t look right, pick up the phone and call us. Don’t confront people.”
The Sanibel Fire and Rescue District and Lee County EMS have returned to 24-hour operation.
As of Oct. 13, fire suppression for the district was almost near 100 percent.
There are free CO2 (carbon monoxide) detectors available at Station 171, at 2351 Palm Ridge Road, Sanibel. In addition, there are free tarps available at the station that residents can pick up for roofs.
The district recently removed 20-25 electric vehicles from garages or under residences to prevent structure fires and further property damage. Hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles are designed to be safe in the water, even when fully submerged. However, submersion in water — especially salt water — can damage low- and high-voltage components, resulting in an electrical short and potential fire once the vehicle is no longer submerged.
Any resident who left an electric vehicle in or near property is asked to contact Assistant Administrator Greta Fulkerson at [email protected] and provide the following information: name, phone number, address and type(s) of vehicle(s) on the property.
“We’ve had an emotional 15 days,” newly promoted Fire Chief Kevin Barbot said during one of the Facebook Lives. “We’ve cried, we’ve laughed. We are grieving with each and every one of you.”
He spoke next, however, about the resiliency of the island community.
“We have never seen the kind of unity and pride of ownership for the island. We are going to get back to some normalcy,” Barbot said. “I look forward to welcoming you guys home and taking care of you.”
The city has issued “Sanibel Guidance for Assisting Residents with LCEC Power Activation” for properties where flood waters may have affected a structure’s electrical system. To view the document, visit
At the Facebook Live update today, Island Water Association General Manager Diana Wilson reported that IWA had received about 1,200 requests as of that afternoon for turning on service.
“It may take longer than the 72 hours,” she said of the turnaround time.
Wilson reiterated that property owners should not turn on their own meter, adding that only the property owner or an authorized representative for the owner can submit the turn on request.
“Please keep your meter boxes clear,” she said.
Piles of trash and debris will prevent water service from being turned on.
Wilson also advised property owners to have a contractor examine their plumbing system to ensure that it is in good working order before requesting to have their service turned on.
“It could simply lead to more property damage, so make sure your property is ready for service before you request it,” she said.
For more information or billing questions, visit
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors Chief Executive Officer Bill Robinson reported at one Facebook Live that the SCIAR has joined other area associations in launching a rental website.
Islanders looking for a rental during the recovery period can visit
Operation Blue Tarp (subhead)
Operation Blue Roof is active in Lee County. It is a free, no cost program; a contractor will install a fiber-reinforced, industrial-strength sheeting to protect a storm-damaged roof until a homeowner can make permanent repairs. The deadline to apply is Oct. 23. To sign up, call 888-766-3258, visit or stop by a mobile sign-up location.
– Main City Hall phone number is 239-472-3700
– Temporary Hurricane Ian phone number is 239-603-7261
– Call Center is open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
– Information Desk is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
– Hurricane re-entry passes available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The city will continue to post information at “”> and on the “
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