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P&Z approves zoning changes

By Staff | Apr 7, 2011

With the land use changes initiated last year now in place, the city is setting about the business of tweaking the zoning requirements within those areas, hoping it attracts commercial and professional development.
The Planning and Zoning board heard and approved changes for two tracts of land along south Chiquita and Santa Barbara Boulevards, totaling just over 100 acres, on Wednesday.
Zoning changes within those areas will go from single family residential and residential to commercial and marketplace designations.
“This will bring the property into conforming with their land use,” said Wyatt Daltry, city planner.
The rezoned acreage along Chiquita is between Savona Parkway and Southwest 29th Street, and on Santa Barbara south of Nicholas Parkway.
Linnea Doden, who lives one block off of Chiquita Boulevard, said she was distressed by the changes along the corridor.
She worries her front door will face the back of a business like a Jiffy Lube, though she said a drainage pond would be welcome in comparison.
Doden is now thinking of selling her home and moving away from Cape Coral, as she’s now faced with the six laning of Chiquita and the possible commercial growth of the corridor.
Despite her understanding of Cape Coral’s need for a diversified tax base, she feels the city is heading in a direction opposite of the original vision for Cape Coral, and is what brought her here from Chicago years ago.
“In my wildest dreams I never thought they would change their gameplan here,” she said. “I don’t feel safe there. They (the city) are completely reimagining themselves.”
In other news, P and Z officials will offer their comments on the city’s EAR –Evaluation and Appraisal Report — process in the next two weeks, responding to residents’ reaction to the city’s comprehensive plan.
In three workshops held in February and March of this year, residents identified alternative transportation, commercial development, environment, and infrastructure as being some of the most important issues facing the city in future years.
P & Z members are expected to have their comments to city staff in two weeks.
Board member Steve Cristaldi said he appreciated all of the citizen input through the EAR process thus far, but felt there was still one item needing attention: the city’s 400 miles of canals.
“We may be missing the boat on Cape Coral promoting what we do have … nobody ever talks about the true source of wealth in this city, the canal system” Cristaldi said. “We’re not using our resources properly to do this.”
Board member Paul Carlson agreed.
“We are under utilizing the canal system … that’s the core of what Cape Coral is,” Carlson said, adding, “We need to focus on developing and branding the canal system — it means so much, that’s why I moved here.”