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Residents get reprieve on re-zoning proposal

By Staff | Aug 25, 2011

Residents along Southwest 15 Place are ecstatic after City Council decided Monday to hold off on zoning changes that would have impacted their neighborhood.

Council was considering turning a residential zoning designation to commercial, a move that had people like Donald Parsons pleading their case before council Monday.

“We’re just concerned about our neighborhood,” Parsons said Tuesday. “There is no reason for this to be zoned commercial.”

Parsons was one of roughly 40 people who wanted their homes left alone.

City Council approved a host of land use changes throughout the city last year and the zoning reclassification was the final component of those efforts.

For a city, whose tax base is overwhelmingly reliant on residential property taxes, the land use changes were meant to foster future commercial growth and, in turn, create an improved commercial tax base.

Southwest 15 Place runs parallel to Chiquita Boulevard. And while Parsons understands that roadway will one day develop into one of Cape Coral’s major commercial thoroughfares, he just wants his home and his neighborhood to retain the qualities that brought him here in the first place.

“We’re not bomb throwers, we want to work with the city,” Parsons added. “We realize Chiquita will inevitably be commercial along the frontage.”

Council voted unanimously to support delaying the rezoning decision until Nov. 14.

Meanwhile, Parsons is working with city staff and Councilmember Bill Deile to address the neighborhood’s concerns. Deile represents Parsons as his District 3 councilman.

“The goal is to preserve the character of the community and find the best way to do that,” Deile said Monday.

Councilmember Pete Brandt thought the best decision would be to change the land use designation back to its previous residential status, therefore saving the neighborhood for the future.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz thought council just simply made a mistake by voting to approve a land use change that encompassed part of a neighborhood where residents very clearly don’t want their homes designated part of a commercial zone.

“It’s OK to go backwards if we made a mistake on the land use,” he said.