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Water Lettuce

Our FWC retired scientist, Walt Jaap, a Snell Isle resident offers the following update on the tremendous water lettuce problem that comes into Coffee Pot Bayou from Crescent Lake...

News from the Bayou

So, what is the floating green stuff in Coffeepot Bayou? Water Lettuce (WL), an invasive plant

Where does it come from? Crescent Lake via a culvert-drain that enters the bayou near 23rd Ave NE.

Why now? It grows like crazy in the summer and is difficult to control.

How is it managed? The Friends of Crescent Lake (FCL) are actively removing the WL by hand during monthly work days (as much as 7 tons on a Saturday). The city installed a floating barrier to minimize WL entering the culvert. The city applied herbicide (an action that was necessary because of the volume of WL at this time). The city has budgeted for a machine to harvest WL (that will not happen in the next few months). The FCL are planting native water plants that over time will displace WL.

What does WL do to the water quality in Coffeepot Bayou? When WL enters the bayou, it is in an unfavorable environment (salt water). It decomposes fairly rapidly. If it is a large floating mat and it sinks to the sea floor there could be an issue with oxygen depletion. We sampled water during a period of heavy WL concentration, we did not find any areas that were deficient in oxygen. In the most recent samples (13 August), water was 47 to 77% saturated with oxygen (31 sample records). This is not to say in an isolated pocket, buried under a mat of WL, there would not be anoxic conditions.

Fortunately the city and FCL have done a reasonable job of limiting WL entry into the bayou in the last few weeks. With all of the rain, it is a challenge and we hope that the measures they have employed will continue to keep WL at bay.

Flooding

As you know, yesterday’s mid-day deluge of rain coincided with our high tide and caused serious flooding issues throughout Snell Isle. We got somewhere in the range of 4” in one hour and, by any standard, that is hard for any drainage system to keep up. I spoke with a City Engineer today to inquire specifically about the Snell Isle Blvd & Appian intersection. I wanted clarification to understand IF the Appian area fed into the huge drainage improvement project the City undertook 2 years ago at Rafael / Brightwaters / Maron. It does not. As a matter of information, that completed project functions well, per the engineer.

The Appian Way / Snell Isle Blvd area is a different story…it in no way connects to the Rafael / Brightwaters new storm drains. The excess water from the Appian area processes through a drainage basin to a canal / creek near the Vinoy Golf Course. Yesterday that canal was overflowing with water - due to previous rains and the ground being soaked - causing no place for the rain that fell to drain. The City placed DETOUR signs so traffic avoided the “river-like” roadway at that intersection. The City intends to place a pump this week near this intersection to be used for situations like we experienced yesterday. It will remain in place until our rainy season is over. This is not the final solution. A feasibility study is underway determining the scope of work for a longer-term solution which we will hear more about in the future.

As a matter of information, our featured speaker for our September 26th SIPOA meeting at the Woman’s Club will be Jake Holehouse, talking about Flood Insurance and FEMA’s plans to change the maps that will negatively impact Snell Isle’s flood insurance rates. We all recognize water issues that impact our daily lives, especially at this time of year. Do mark your calendars to join us at 6:30. Your September Panther newsletter will be in your mailbox early next month and will provide additional details. You can RSVP to Howard Pollack now at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 516-356-0988. We hope to see you there!

Summer Social Rescheduling

Your SIPOA Board continues its commitment to sponsoring events throughout the year for all our members and residents. We had originally scheduled the summer social for August 11, however due to a lack of sufficient response and because we truly want to engage as many people as we can, we have chosen to move the event to September 26th at 6:30 pm at the Woman’s Club on Snell Isle Blvd, and combine it with an important guest speaker. This is going to be a free family event, sponsored by SIPOA, where children and adults can enjoy socializing, along with food and beverages.

Your SIPOA Board is, and has been committed to sponsoring free events throughout the year to bring our membership and residents together to engage, make new friends, and reconnect with old friends. We also endeavor to bring informative speakers to discuss issues of relevance and importance to our community. Specifically, Snell Isle has become the subject of a number of water issues. First, as many of our residents already know, during the heavy rains of summer we have flooding problems in the lower lying areas of the Isle. This is not only a problem for cars, but also for bicyclists and pedestrians. Even more disturbing is the anticipated flood insurance increases that are expected to take effect shortly.

Effective October 1, 2019, upon City Council approval, the City of St. Petersburg will be implementing a tiered billing structure for stormwater rates for single-family properties. This new tiered structure will classify single-family properties into tiers, based on the square footage of impervious surface area (surfaces that water runs off), so that a property’s fee more accurately reflects its impact to our stormwater system. Be sure to check out the impact to you at stpete.org/rates Find more information and view your property’s impervious surface area measurement in the Stormwater Review and Appeals Portal at: stpete.org/ratechanges Questions? Call 727-893-7280. Please take advantage of these opportunities to review and understand the impact on your utility bill prior to any changes.

In connection with all of our water issues, and as part of our September meeting, we have scheduled a well-informed and knowledgeable speaker named Jake Holehouse of Holehouse Insurance Group, who will discuss the impact to Snell Isle of the Coastal A Zone rate changes. These are serious issues and if you live on Snell Isle you will want to come to this event.

We are making a concerted effort to get our residents to join and become active members of SIPOA to voice your opinions and make your positions known on these, as well as a variety of other important subjects that come up throughout the year. If we remain complacent and turn a blind-eye, things will take place around us, without opposition, and impact our quality of life as well as our wallets, which, (perhaps with a large group voice), could be avoided, or at least mitigated. One thing we know for sure is that if no one speaks up, we will have no one to blame except ourselves.

One last thing: it is of vital importance that we get a head count as far in advance as we can, so we are asking for everyone to RSVP with the number of people who will attend our September 26th 6:30PM meeting. Please send an email to our communications chairman, Howard Pollack at his email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him, or text him, at (516) 356-0988 and let him know you’ll be coming. All your Board members will be there, and this offers you the opportunity to engage and discuss matters of importance to you. We hope you’ll join us!

Utility Bill Rate Changes

I encourage you to become familiar with potential rate changes to your St Pete Utility Bill. These changes have the potential to change the base amount you pay in your monthly invoice. Prior to St Pete considering making this change, all residential properties were considered “equal”and billed the same base amount. If the new rate tiering is approved, it will be based on the square footage of impervious surface area (surfaces that water runs off), so that a property’s fee more accurately reflects its impact to our stormwater system.

I hope you will click on the link below and, if you have questions, please call the number shown below. The City is making available these telephone resources to answer any and all questions you may have.

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ST PETERSBURG UTILITY RATE CHANGES IN THE WORKS

St. Petersburg City Council will consider increases to water, wastewater, reclaimed water, stormwater and sanitation utility rates and charges. Meetings will be held at the Sunshine Center at 330 5th St. N.

First Reading is Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 3 p.m.

Public Hearing Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 6 p.m. The proposed rate adjustments will be published at the First Reading and made available at stpete.org/rates. If approved, any changes would take effect October 1, 2019.

City Council will be considering Stormwater tiered rate changes for adoption on October 1, 2019. Find more information and view your property’s impervious surface area measurement in the Stormwater Review and Appeals Portal at stpete.org/ratechanges

Questions? Call 727-893-7280.

Please take advantage of these opportunities to review and understand the impact on your utility bill prior to any changes.

Pelican Rescue

July 18th we rescued a pelican from Snell Harbor off of Cordova Blvd. The bird was in poor condition: entangled in fishing line, compound wing fracture, and bones were exposed. Our SPCA colleague made us aware that in all likelihood the bird would be euthanized as they could not heal this severe injury. If you catch a bird, do not cut your line and turn it loose, you doom the animal if you do this. FWC recommended procedure to take care of a hooked pelican (or other bird):

Put on glasses/sunglasses to protect your eyes. Reel the bird in slowly to reduce the risk of added injury. Or use a net to carefully lift the bird from the water. Fold the bird’s wings against its body and hold the beak firmly. Allow the beak to be open slightly to allow it to breathe. Cover its head and eyes with a towel or shirt to calm it. Clip the barb and back the hook out. If the bird is severely injured, has swallowed a hook, or you are unable to deal with the problem, call a bird rescuer, such as Helping Hands Animal Rescue: 727.365.4592.

When fishing, avoid casting into projecting mangrove branches, there is high probability the line will become entangled and pose a trap to birds. If you see line in mangroves and other structures please remove it. The Brown Pelican is the Iconic symbol of Saint Petersburg, let’s all do our part to be good stewards and care of birds that need help.

Thank you Walt Jaap, Coffeepot Bayou Watershed Alliance

SIPOA Business Showcase May 14 - 6PM

In a further effort to engage our community and all the residents of Snell Isle, the SIPOA Board of Directors has organized a BUSINESS SHOWCASE on May 14th at 6:00 PM at the Women’s Club on Snell Isle Blvd. There will be free delicious food catered by Harvey’s 4th Street Grill and beverages available for everyone, along with speakers and vendors of various goods and services who will provide information and literature about their respective companies. This will be an informal gathering intended to benefit Snell Isle and the members of the Association. We are asking that everyone show up promptly by 6:00 PM as we have a full agenda is planned.

Flock Camera Systems (Neighborhood wireless security system consultants) will be our featured speaker for the evening and will do a slide show presentation followed by Q&A. Putting tag-reader cameras at all entrances and exits to Snell Isle is an option we will be discussing in open forum. Additionally, we anticipate having the following vendors on site for folks to review their services and ask questions; they too will have an opportunity to speak in front of the membership…

1) Dynamic Outdoor Spaces

2) Happy Healthy Roots – Nutritional

3) Premier Paver Restoration

4) Canterbury School

5) North Shore Elementary School

6) Budget Blinds

7) Dr. Stuart Pollack – Chiropractor

8) Bayview Wealth Group

9) NE Animal Hospital

10) Lightning Funding - Mortgages

We look forward to an entertaining and informative event and invite all our residents to join us for what will surely be an enjoyable evening where we can socialize, eat, drink and engage with local businesses from our community. It’s an event you surely don’t want to miss!

VISIONS OF SNELL ISLE

As Snell Isle developed over the years it has progressed from its early beginnings and the vision Perry Snell had for it almost a century ago. Of the unique features that comprise the Isle there are fourteen different pocket parks that can be found at various locations. Many of you probably have never even heard the phrase “pocket park” or even know what it means. I know I didn’t until very recently, so I took it upon myself to visit them and learn what I could about them in an effort to educate myself. However, even with on line research tools, I was unable to find much written about them, though I did find some pictures of the more well know ones, including Snell Isle Parkway on Snell Isle Blvd. across from the golf course. Many are much smaller and may go unnoticed if you don’t look for them, but one in particular should come to mind, and that is the one located on the right side of Snell Isle Blvd. as you cross over the bridge from Coffee Pot Blvd.; that is the Cherub water spout which has recently undergone a wonderful transformation. All should take notice that the fountain has been repaired and the landscaping has been totally refurbished. Many thanks to the SIPOA Board who have all contributed their own funds allocated for beautification as part of our yearly dues. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the locations of the rest of these mini parks:

These 6 larger Snell Isle parks have benches for the enjoyment of all residents:

Snell Isle Entrance Fountain

Snell Isle Parkway

Brightwaters Park

Coffee Pot Riviera Park, known as Pete’s Park

Monterey Point Pocket Park

Maple & 34th Ave NE Traffic Circle

These smaller “green spaces” you might have passed by and hardly noticed...

Coffee Pot Riviera & Monterey Blvd small traffic island

Traffic Circle at Monterey Blvd & Almedo Way

Snell Isle Estates Bridge area

Brightwaters Circle Bridge area

Entrance to Snell Harbor Drive

Brick triangle area at Giralda & Brightwaters

Snell Harbor Drive green space by the panther

Coffee Pot Riviera Entrance Walls

Now, although I was unable to find much to go on regarding specific historical accounts of the pocket parks, I did find a wonderful little piece written by Perry Snell back in 1926, after viewing magnificent scenes in various parts of the world. He came home to write as follows:

“It is the memory of these beautiful scenes that encourages one to lend some romantic touch to our local scene. At Snell Isle, I am endeavoring to lend a foreign note to match the warmth and balm of our sunshine. I see a vision of loveliness at this gateway to St. Petersburg. Domes and towers will hold sway on this fair Isle, and the colors of the Orient established an outpost in our Sunshine City. I may even approach the vistas of Paris, the domes of the Orient, the color of Italy and the charm of Spain. In the layout of the Avenues, Parks and Villas; something to suggest unimagined splendors and unwanted joys, the green lawns that satisfied, the curve of the new façade, the glint of fountains, the classic glimpse of statuary, the mysticism of the picturesque Riviera, the romantic view of lagoons and canals with the subtle witchery of the old world Venetian buildings, all minister to my fancies and lead me upward to achievement.

I see these things accomplished at Snell Isle, the Pearl of Pinellas, the brilliancy and gayety of Florida at its best, warmed by the golden sunshine, surrounded by laughing waters amid flowers in bloom and waiving palms. Other scenes to me will not have greater charm.”

Apparently, Perry Snell was not only a visionary developer, but also a true romantic as well as a great poet. And through these words of his, I began to understand. In the early homes he built on Snell Isle he incorporated beauty from around the world and brought it to his little slice of heaven. The pocket parks were another part of that vision. Places one could come to for a chance to sit and contemplate the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings and to just appreciate the moment. The oft used Latin phrase Carpe Diem, (seize the day) or better yet, Carpe Momentum (seize the moment) comes to mind and is perhaps apropos. Snell would have appreciated a foreign phrase to help define his quest for serenity and bliss among the surroundings of his creation.

So, for all of you who have never heard of a pocket park, or have simply driven by one of these little cutouts that populate our locale, please take a stroll, a moment, perhaps a deep breath and sit by one for a while as you become a part of, and appreciate, a wonderful piece of our history.

Join The Snell Isle Property Owner's Association

About Snell Isle

image Snell Isle is home to the historic The Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, one of the Nation's premier golf courses.
image Our tropical surroundings provide waterfront vistas for most residents. Over 80% of the homes on Snell Isle enjoy waterfront views.
image In 1920, local developer C. Perry Snell began construction on what was originally, a muddy mangrove island.

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