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Council looks into vehicle ordinance

By Staff | Aug 8, 2012

Although some Cape Coral property owners continue to plead for revisions to the city’s residential parking ordinance, the pendulum may be swinging toward maintaining the status quo.

There appeared to be little support from the Cape Coral City Council Monday for changing the ordinance so as to allow homeowners to park boats, campers, RVs or commercial pickups in driveways, prompting one council member to say the code restrictions probably won’t be re-addressed.

“Does the council have the motivation to change the ordinance?” asked Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz. “The city manager made it clear it would not be addressed. It’s a dead issue.”

Code Enforcement Director Frank Cassidy explained to the elected board why ordinances exist and what residents on both sides of the argument are saying.

Cassidy said ordinances are made to “preserve property values, economic viability, crime prevention, health, safety and welfare, and establish the wishes of the community,” according to his Powerpoint presentation.

As far as the commercial vehicle controversy, he said those who have been cited under the current ordinance prohibiting such parking claimed they were on call or couldn’t afford storage fees.

Those cited for boat violations said they should be allowed anywhere because of restricted access to the backyard. Boat parking currently is allowed behind residences, but not on the side of the lot, or in the driveway.

In all cases, the complainers cited aesthetics and noise.

Cassidy said commercial vehicles are allowed, as long as the commercial lettering is covered upon arrival home and racks on trucks or vans are concealed.

Chulakes-Leetz said he still has a problem with the ordinance.

“If I’m going on a trip in my RV, I can only leave it parked in front of my house for three days. That’s wrong,” Leetz said. “There are many things wrong with this ordinance.”

Cassidy agreed that perhaps the language needed to be changed, but some on council, including Rana Erbrick, said the ordinance should stay as is.

Residents came out again to have their say. Jason Barrett said the council is out of touch with its constituents and suggested they “put on code enforcement badges to see what’s really going on.”

In other business, the council rejected a request for waiver by Lawrence Wolf to allow his RV/trailer to be used as a buffer between his house and a neighbor.

Also, council approved the purchase of 10 used Chevy Impala sedans and trade in 10 vehicles for a cost of $127,500. The vehicles, all used 2012 models, would be for administrative purposes and not patrol.

It also discussed, and approved, a proposal from City Manager John Szerlag to hold a special budget workshop meeting Aug. 27 in lieu of the City Council’s workshop meeting.