Snell Isle Weekly News

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Watershed Event

On Thursday night September 26th at the Woman’s Club SIPOA sponsored what I literally will call a “watershed” event. Perhaps that word is a little tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is the theme of the event was all about water issues affecting Snell Isle. From the upgrades and renovation of the Lift Station in the Parkway, to flooding and water pooling issues at various locations on the Isle, to increased costs for water/reclaimed water usage and storm water drainage cost increases that are based upon the square footage of impervious structures on resident properties, to flood insurance increases, one may have felt a bit overwhelmed, and underwater, with the vast quantity of information presented to us in a short two hour time period.

In an effort to summarize the most salient points covered, all should be pleased to know that the pump station upgrades will be completed months in advance of the original projected date. If all continues to go as well as it has, the work will be done by year end, which is fantastic news.

With respect to the costs for reclaimed water usage, the increases are not significant on a percentage basis, so no one should become too alarmed. As to the issue of drainage/runoff on a property by property basis, there is a formula based on the square footage of impervious structures as relates to the entire square footage of the property in question, so that the more of such structures, whether your home, driveway, pavers and patios, the more you will be charged. Again, the percentage increases are not significant enough that we should all be up in arms and worry too much about it. Of course, every dollar counts and while I don’t want to make light of any increased costs for anything in general, these won’t break the bank. The City explained that, with these increases, Saint Petersburg is more in line with our neighbors in surrounding cities. For further information on the rate changes, please go to this link StPete.org/ratechanges.

Moving now to the well-known problems of flooding and drainage after storms and high tides, we were informed that the City of St. Petersburg is taking the issue seriously, pipes in some areas are being enlarged while in other areas pipes are being cleaned and leaks are being repaired. Unfortunately, this is a slow and at times difficult process, but it is moving forward. In fact, residents were advised that if they notice an issue in any particular location, the City should be contacted so that specific areas may be addressed. Of course, all must keep in mind that while things can be done to mitigate the effects of too much water, living on an island as we do where summer rainfall can at times be daunting, especially when coupled with high tides, we will all have to continue to live with some flooding in certain areas.

A project is being looked at to consider dredging canals surrounding the Vinoy Golf Course that will enable further drainage of high water, but this potential project has many moving parts and teams. You will hear more about this in the near future.

Ed Montanari, our City Council Representative and Snell Isle resident, spoke briefly to our crowd and answered several questions. He is up for re-election in November.

The informative evening continued with Jake Holehouse of Holehouse Insurance making a video presentation detailing what Snell Isle can expect with regard to expected flood insurance increases in or about March of 2020. There was much to be learned and some of it complicated in terms of analyzing where individual homes fit in the grand scheme of things. Variations in rates not only have to do with locations on Snell Isle, such as being on the water, but also flood elevations and when your home was constructed. A distinction was made for pre and post 1975 construction with post 1975 construction having lower rates. On Snell Isle we are all in the AE flood zone and the rate increases will impact us all. The recommendation was made that we obtain elevation certificates to further assist us in wading through the quagmire of flood insurance. The elevation certificates may help to distinguish individual properties and possibly help some of us to obtain lower rates. Questions can be directed to HH Insurance via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (727) 498-5551. Their website is at www.HHInsgroup.com

Last, but not least, Officer Don Herring of SPPD spoke briefly on safety and security issues and reminded us that while crime on Snell Isle is at a low rate, it still exists and we need to be vigilant, lock our cars and homes, keep outdoor lights on at night, and if you see something suspicious please contact SPPD.

Our speakers who came to speak and provided information and who we would like to thank for their input, were as follows: 1) Brejesh Prayman, Engineering & Capital Improvements Director, City of St Pete 2) Carlos Frey, Design Manager, Stormwater and Environmental Engineering and Capital Improvements, City of St Pete 3) Aaron Carmella, City Liason for Utility bill updates 4) Officer Don Herring of SPPD 5) Jake Holehouse, HH Insurance, experts in Flood Insurance and designated by the City as Flood Insurance policyholder advocates (Kayla Roberts & Christian Kaelber were there to answer questions, too) 6) Ed Montanari

By: Howard K. Pollack, Communications Chair

Got Sandbags?

While we thankfully have been missed by Hurricane Dorian, please consider keeping any sandbags you may have obtained during recent storm prep until hurricane season concludes in November – just in case.

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!

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!

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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