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Residents: New gas station doesn’t belong

By Staff | Nov 19, 2011

A new Race Trac gas station at Del Prado and Southeast 26th Street will take traffic congestion from bad to worse, according to the homeowners in the neighborhood and along Everest Parkway who use the intersection as their main access to Del Prado.

The site of a former car sales lot, a special exception was approved for the new Race Trac by Planning and Zoning commissioners on Nov. 2.

Gas stations are currently permitted in the land use regulations that govern the corner, according to city staff.

Approval of the special exception by P and Z was the final step for the project. Special exceptions don’t have to be heard by city council members.

“It doesn’t fit,” said Bonnie Stickney, a homeowner in the Gold Coast neighborhood off of Everest Parkway. “It doesn’t belong in the neighborhood and neither did the car lot.”

Stickney thinks the added traffic at the gas station will make the intersection nearly impassable.

Traffic from the city’s public works facility, the neighborhood and along Del Prado, especially during rush hour, will create a nightmare of deadlocked cars trying to make it through the stoplights at Southeast 26th and Southeast 27th streets.

Stickney said traffic already backs up between the two lights, without the added load.

“Everything will come to a stop,” Stickney said.

Cape Coral Councilmember Marty McClain said he wished the gas station was slated to be built a half mile north or south of Del Prado, so as not to add to traffic problems.

McClain said he was in support of the project, and growth, but the health care facility next door gives him pause, as the north side of

the facility will front the gas station and the high powered lights used to illuminate the convenience store and gas pumps.

“This is one of those items where I wish the public had a little more say about what goes on that corner,” McCLain said. “I wish they had been a little more aware and I wish we had known on council.”

The Everest Homeowners Association spoke out against the project when it was before P and Z, but won’t have the chance to plead their case via a public hearing in front of council.

McClain said the matter would likely head to litigation if council overturned the P and Z decision.

“The way the land use is written, the area will allow for a gas station,” he said.

Rehab and Healthcare Center of Cape Coral officials could not be reached for comment, while St. Andrews Catholic School declined comment.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail did not immediately return phone calls for comment.