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SanCap Resilience Comments on Sanibel Plan Update Priorities SanCap Resilience is a citizen-led i

SanCap Resilience is a citizen-led initiative to improve the resilience of our island communities. Recently our co-chairs submitted the following comments to the Sanibel City Council and Planning Department to consider as a part of upcoming Sanibel Plan updates. The city will host an event later this fall to invite additional input from the community. Keep an eye out for announcements on the date and time. We would like to see a lot of voices included in this process!

Sanibel Plan Revision Priorities SanCap Resilience is a coalition of local organizations* and concerned citizens on Sanibel and Captiva formed in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Its mission is to “lead a community-based initiative to build resilience and protect the vibrancy of our sanctuary islands long into the future.” As the city plans this round of updates to the Sanibel Plan, we believe there is an excellent opportunity to adopt an expanded focus on resilience with the incorporation of strategies focused on both risk mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change to which we are particularly vulnerable as a barrier island community. In the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Ian, such changes would be timely. Below is a slide excerpted from the PowerPoint presentation to the Planning Commission that summarizes staff recommendations for Sanibel Plan update priorities. We applaud the city Planning Dept. staff for recognizing the importance of incorporating adaptation priorities into the upcoming plan review.

We suggest building on these recommendations to include a broader view of both adaptation and mitigation opportunities. As it relates to the need for adaptation, the science is clear that we will continue to face an increasing number of high-heat days, an increased frequency of stronger storms and worsening of storm surges, sea level rise, flooding, drought and fire risk, and other hazards that we need to address. However, the science is also clear that more than adaptation is required. Without proactive planning to mitigate future risks, there will come a time when adaptation will no longer be sufficient, especially for communities like ours located in vulnerable coastal areas. The City Council acknowledged these challenges when it added to its list of strategic priorities earlier this summer the following statement regarding resilience: “Build Sanibel’s resilience to future threats from natural and manmade events by mitigating hazards, hardening infrastructure, encouraging the use of renewable energy sources, continually updating vulnerability, response, and recovery plans, and improving community education concerning building codes, flood protection and the benefits of native vegetation.” In keeping with the spirit of how the City Council articulated this strategic policy to face the challenges that lie ahead for our community, SanCap Resilience recommends an expansion of the Sanibel Plan update priorities to address additional aspects of adaptation such as protecting buildings and critical infrastructure and incorporating nature-based solutions. In addition, we recommend directly managing future risks through efforts to reduce the emissions of our energy, transportation, and other sectors. This can serve as an important model within our region. Below is a proposed revision to the Sanibel Plan Update priorities to reflect these recommendations.

We thank you for your consideration and welcome ongoing dialogue and involvement in the work of planning for our community's future and specifically in making updates to the Sanibel Plan.

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