Widow of WWII fighter pilot wants to keep husbands private plane.
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Dr. "Bob" Cousar, Jr. passed away April of 2018 at the age of 93, leaving his wife of 41 years, Sue Ann. He was a WWII fighter pilot, was a retired minister, and served with Sue Ann for 13 years as a foreign missionary. Sue Ann and Bob lived on North Captiva Island for 21 years, selflessly serving the community as pastors and in any other ways needed. Sue Ann has carried on in this legacy since Bob's death 2 years ago. Many people have reached out to me with beautiful stories of the kindness and help that Bob and Sue Ann have given over the years. It's now time for us to unite to show our love and support for Sue Ann.
One of Bob's passions was being a pilot. His hobby was building his BD-4 experimental plane. He built it from scratch, following plans, on an island only reached by boat! It is parked in the front side yard of Sue Ann's private property. It is a local legend/yard art/tourist attraction. Bob and Sue Ann were featured in 2 articles about life on Upper Captiva Island (Grandeur Magazine and News Press). Of all the pictures the editors could have taken, they chose one in front of Bob's plane, proving the plane is a tourist point of interest and attraction, NOT a nuisance. It's very common for visitors to stop residents to ask where the plane is located. They love to drive by and get their pictures taken in front of it. If Sue Ann is home she comes out with her patented big smile, and is more than happy to retell the stories about the plane and about her wonderful husband. No trip to the island is complete without a picture in front of Bob's plane!
This plane is in no way a nuisance. It is not parked on a main road, and there are no neighbors on either side or across the street. It is discretely located on privately owned property on a dead end. Our quiet island has recently had a rash of what can only be called "weaponized code enforcement". Sue Ann received a Nuisance Accumulation Violation, and received notice of a hearing before the Lee Co. Hearing Examiner on September 28, 2020.
The definition of Nuisance Accumulation is "garbage, refuse, trash, rubbish, inoperable vehicles, or abandoned or lost property". Bob and Sue Ann's plane is not abandoned and this does not apply. The purpose of this ordinance is for the "health, peace and safety" of the community. The plane is not effecting the health, peace, or safety of anyone. Research shows that this particular violation Sue Ann is being charged with is the most ambiguous one, because it is mostly up to opinion. Universal City Walk in downtown Orlando has a plane parked right along the walkway as a tourist attraction, just as Sue Ann's is a tourist attraction. You can have any front yard decoration, and if code enforcement "feels" it is trashy looking you can receive a violation and be forced to remove it at your expense. North Captiva Island is unique in that it can only be reached by boat. It would have to be dismantled, transported to an island barge, barged to the mainland, then somehow disposed of. This makes the removal of the plane a huge expense for a widow that is on a fixed income. It also says nothing of the emotional turmoil this will cause not only Sue Ann, but the community that loves her so deeply and still cherishes Bob's memory and his plane.
It's our hope for our North Captiva community and the many visitors that have met Sue Ann and Bob over the years to stand up and unite for this wonderful woman. She lost her husband 2 years ago, and now is being forced to get rid of a piece of her husband's memory and legacy that we've all felt privileged to enjoy and share in over the years. Please, fight this travesty by signing our petition to keep Bob and Sue Ann's plane! We need as many signatures as possible before the September 28th hearing!
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