homepage logo

Zoning issues main hurdle for proposed Burnt Store RV resort

By Staff | Aug 14, 2012

It isn’t that the Cape Coral City Council is against the construction of a luxury RV resort on Burnt Store Road.

The issue is going to be zoning and land use.

That was the prognosis at Monday’s City Council workshop meeting at City Hall as plans for The Resort at Burnt Store Lake were unveiled to the council.

Cliff Repperger, vice president of Avalon Engineering, showed the council the $35 million resort, which he said would cater to an upscale clientele.

The 188-acre site includes an 87-acre lake and will include 91 cabins, 11 luxury villas and 130 motor coach sites. It also will include a marina, beach areas, a restaurant, snack bar, meeting rooms, and a clubhouse with a spa.

“It’s a good way to bring affluent people to the city and show it in a fresh light,” Repperger said.

The resort will allow Class A RVs, but pop-up campers or smaller trailers would be prohibited to keep the resort from becoming an “RV park.”

People would be able to rent the cabins, even if they don’t have RVs, Repperger said.

“We’re trying to attract those with the $500,000 RVs,” Repperger said.

The resort drew praise from many on the council.

“This is a real opportunity to brings tourism to Cape Coral, which would showcase the amenities of the city,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said. “This will allow us to leverage the other attractions in Southwest Florida like the baseball stadium and Seminole Gaming Palace.’

But one issue that needs to be addressed is the land use, which currently is mixed-use, and zoned agricultural.

Repperger hopes they can get an RV special exception land use in an agricultural zone.

City attorney Dolores Menendez said that since this is the first development of its kind, she anticipates much effort will be needed to revise regulations to make the resort a reality.

“They have to look at allowing a variance on the mixed use to allow for an RV resort,” McGrail said. “We would need a land-use change to allow for this. Our mixed-use does not allow for an RV resort.”

McGrail said there would be about a year’s worth of work involved to make the changes, bring them forward, and this will take a lot of staff time.

Among the concerns with a zoning change would be an influx of RV parks citywide, McGrail said, as well as since the agricultural zoning permits farm animals, would there be a future application for a dude ranch, for example.

“The question is how do you prevent the unintended consequences. The last thing we want is to allow mobile home parks in the city,” McGrail said.

Repperger said he was pleased things were coming into motion and unfazed by all the work that needs to be done.

“I’m not surprised. We’ve been dealing with them for six months,” Repperger said. “I’m pleased to see we’re getting to the point where we’ll get some answers.”

Repperger said he had hoped to break ground soon, but would probably have to wait until next summer. He said there is no timeline for when the resort would open, with the myriad of details the resort must attend to.

“All we’re asking for the city is to approve a use so we can bring it to a public hearing so people can see it and make an educated decision,” Repperger said.

The vote to approve time the staff would need to complete the project will go before the council at the regular meeting next Monday.