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City staff, residents plot development of northwest for future

By Staff | Jan 9, 2009

About 75 people gathered in the Mariner High School cafeteria Thursday evening to give input to Cape Coral city planners about how the northwest area of the city should be developed.
Dubbed a “visioning meeting” by city staffers, residents and city officials alike said the lull in development created by the sputtering economy provides ample time for sober, methodical master planning.
“It’s a great time to be doing it,” said Susan Burhoe, president of the Northwest Neighborhood Association. “Developers don’t have the money to work on anything right now, so it’s a good time to develop a plan.”
Councilmember Dolores Bertolini agreed that the pause in construction for the area is ideal for creating an overall plan, but she also said the involvement of the association and other residents will lead to successful development.
“They’re really the most active group in the city. They really want the northwest to be a showcase for Cape Coral,” she said.
Preserving the area’s parks and wetlands is an important piece of the northwest puzzle, but where to place — or not place — future commercial areas is a main concern for residents.
Paul McConnell, an eight-year Cape resident who has lived in the northwest for two years, suggested Burnt Store Road as an area for commercial development.
“My interest is where they plan on putting commercial areas. Since Burnt Store Road is going to be one of the main arteries going through there, I think that’s where the major commercial area should be,” McConnell said.
Burhoe said the neighborhood association, which has 600 members, and other northwest residents will work with city planners on developing a master plan for the area to present to the city council before the end of the year.
A similar meeting is planned for February, Burhoe said.