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Everest water plant wall may get nod

By Staff | Feb 1, 2012

Homeowners wanting a wall to block the view of the Everest Water Reclamation Plant may get their wish after a decade of trying.

The Cape Coral City Council decided at its workshop meeting Monday that the construction of a wall around the perimeter of the plant was likely.

Council members cannot vote at a workshop, but can discuss items that may come up at the following Monday’s city council meeting.

The issue of whether to install a wall around the facility has long been a hot issue among Everest Parkway residents. Many have complained about what they say is the unsightliness of the facility, with some calling it a “mess” at council’s workshop on Monday night in an effort to show their support to have the wall finally built.

Pat Young, who said she represented the Southwest Property Owners Association, wasted little time in making her view known at public comment.

“We request your approval. It has been a topic for years and there have been surveys and petitions and the people want it,” she said.

The decision to move ahead with the project came on Sept. 21 at a previous workshop when council asked staff to procure bids for the construction of a solid panel perimeter privacy wall, including landscaping.

Mary Ann Parsons, told council members she has lived in the Everest Parkway area for 10 years and the plant is an eyesore.

“Homeowners are apologizing all the time when friends come and visit them on Everest,” she said. “It’s embarrassing.”

Gary Kresge, another resident of Everest Parkway, said the wall has been an issue for him since 2006.

The waiting time, although a headache for residents in the area, however, allowed for the price for the project to drop from around $1.6 million a decade ago to $632,000.

Nancy Miller said she has lived on Everest Parkway for 14 years and the neighborhood is a good one.

“People like to keep things looking good,” she said.

Another resident, Phil Parsons, added his thoughts: “We urge you to support the wall.”

Miller added that the Everest Water plant was what she also called “a mess.”

“We have been promised for years, and we are not going away until it’s approved,” she said.

Councilmember Marty McClain noted that the price now is $632,000 for project.

He asked about landscaping cost and was told it would be around $129,000.

The plant can’t receive a CO (certificate of competition) unless landscaping is done in conjunction with the wall, the council was told.

McClain said he has some concerns with the cost of engineering for the project, but added that the project should have been done a long time ago.

Council was also told that the cost won’t affect the city’s property tax rate as it has been passed on to ratepayers over the years.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail said a resident had emailed him with concerns about a part of the wall that, if not built, could save the city money.

McGrail said there is a section of about 80 feet with a barbed wire fence already there.

“This is not a delaying tactic, but the gentleman was wondering if that part of the fence, an L-shaped area, could be left alone and save the city money.”

Council was told it would delay the project.

At one point during the discussion, one of the council members asked those in chambers to raise their hands if they were there concerning the “wall issue.” About 20 people raised their hands.

Councilmember Derrick Donnell said those who have been fighting to have the plant surrounded with an attractive wall have folders of information.

“If you want to know something about that issue, just ask them, it will knock your socks off,” he said.

Once the project is approved, the wall should be constructed in around 240 days.

Also expected to come before the council will be a proposed settlement for the eminent domain case of City of Cape Coral vs. Ponce Cape Coral. The settlement is aimed at resolving the acquisition of right of way on North Del Prado on Northeast Pine Island Road for a total land cost of $190,000.

More than two years ago, the council decided certain properties were needed for the street widening project.

The property in question is involved in an eminent domain action for the North Del Prado Improvement Project.

It is at the northeast corner of Del Prado Boulevard and Northeast Pine Island Road. The property, with a 14,129-square-foot building, is currently being used as a CVS retail drug store.

Some 3,785 feet was needed for the widening project. The city took title to the property portion in 2010. A negotiated settlement was made between the City of Cape coral, Ponce Florida LLC (the property owner), CVS, the leaseholder, and an adjacent property owner concerning the city condemnation of right of way for Del Prado Boulevard, the closing of the previously existing CVS driveway, loss of drainage retention area, waiver of business damage claims and a waiver of that portion of the attorney fees arising from non-monetary benefit claims, according to the city.

City staff has been able to stop a business damage claim by CVS by allowing a replacement driveway and construction of a retention area.

The next scheduled city council meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 6, at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.