City Council to hear flea market petition on Monday
Cape Coral City Council will hear a petition on Monday from the German American Social Club to allow a weekly outdoor flea market.
According to city documentation, the GASC has been operating the weekly flea market since November 2010, although it is not zoned appropriately within the Pine Island Road District.
The Pine Island Road Master Plan does not include flea market uses, wrote city building official Paul Dickson in a Dec. 13, 2011, memorandum.
Indoor flea markets are allowed, but a special use permit is required to operate the outdoor version, Dickson wrote.
The memo also indicates that Pine Island Road should have a unique synergy as a “gateway” to the city, and a flea market would not fit into that synergy. Staff is recommending denial of the petition.
“The Pine Island Road Corridor is a gateway into the City of Cape Coral and the proliferation of outdoor flea markets could have a negative aesthetic effect for development potential within the corridor,” Dickson wrote.
The GASC has, and will, hold the flea market in the rear of the property and is not visible from the street. The flea market also does not border any residential housing.
Councilmember Marty McClain said Friday he fears that not only Pine Island Road would become a “flea market row,” but other areas of the city could be open to random flea markets if city council accepts the GASC petition.
“My fear is we open up unnecessary opportunities for commercial properties around the city. How can you make an exception for one and not the other?” McClain asked, adding, “But if they wish to use the facility and exercise their right under a special use permit, I have no problem with that.”
The special use permit would allow the the market for two or three days on a quarterly basis, and the permit would have to be issued for each event.
Councilmember Erick Kuehn said he would vote approve the GASC’s request on Monday.
A member of the club, Kuehn said he would vote yes not because of his affiliation with the GASC, but because it would be the right move for the city.
As the city has attempted to take a more “business friendly” attitude, Kuehn said denying the flea market would send mixed signals.
“Cape Coral is supposed to be business friendly, allegedly taking a different approach to new businesses,” Kuehn said. “We are here for you so you can make you business better. If we’re throwing up road blocks and obstacles, that’s not showing us going in that direction.”
Kuehn also feels the economic impact that the club has provided the city through its Oktoberfest celebrations and hosting a multitude of other events shouldn’t be ignored.
“How many businesses that have been here for as long as they have done so much for the city of Cape Coral?” Kuehn said.
City council meets 4:30 pm on Monday at city hall.