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Mayor: Council needs to proceed with caution with ‘infill’ assessments

By Staff | Nov 7, 2011

Mayor John Sullivan said the Cape Coral City Council, regardless of its make-up next Monday, needs to be careful moving forward with an assessment on “infill” properties, or properties that are unimproved with available utilities.

Sullivan said during a council workshop Monday that the city could unwillingly become owners of millions of dollars worth of lots if owners decide to walk away.

“We need to really think this out before we go forward with this program there has to be a tipping point where X amount of people throw their lots back at the city, where it becomes detrimental not beneficial,” Sullivan said.

City Manager Gary King assured the mayor that a vast majority of the people who would be affected by the assessment are not residential property owners.

“Eighty-four percent of the ownership of these properties are investors, external owners and speculators we have a different dynamic going on here,” King said.

King added that since the city has “gone to market” with its bond debt, the infill project will not require bonding and any property owners that default on their payments will not represent a risk for the city.

Councilmember Bill Deile agreed.

“Even if half the people don’t pay, the half that do is good because they’re retiring old debt,” Deile said.

More on the

permit fee refund

In other news, Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz is asking King to bring more information to council relating to refunding the permit fee for Ryan Tronchet, a Cape homeowner who remediated his home of Chinese Drywall.

Council deadlocked on the decision last week.

Chulakes-Leetz said the requested data will show that approving Tronchet’s request, valued at $467, will bring on a deluge of homeowners with similar circumstances looking for a refund. Tronchet’s home was built prior to the date established in an ordinance that allows for permit refunds.

City staff previously reported there were over 300 permits awaiting approval for drywall remediation.

“I’ve asked the city manager to get data to verify the sky is not falling and that we’ll have an onslaught of citizens applying for remediation permit waivers,” Chulakes-Leetz said, adding, “We’ve failed Mr. Tronchet, miserably.”