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Top News from Snell Isle

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.

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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