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Council reconvenes Monday

By Staff | Jan 12, 2013

Those who attend the first City Council meeting of 2013 Monday at City Hall will find the format a little different from how it was in 2012.

Actually, it will be more like the format from 2009.

There will still be workshops where items will be discussed, but those meetings also will have a voting element where last-minute items that need attention or regular day-to-day business can be voted on by council.

Councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Rana Erbrick conceived the idea because council had only 19 voting meetings and this would help expedite things.

“If there’s an issue that comes before us that hasn’t been through the workshop process, we could vote on it,” Erbrick said. “That’s about the only change besides the agenda being in a slightly different form.”

The workshop meetings will now have votes on approving the minutes from the previous voting meeting, as well as the appointment of candidates to boards and committees.

“We don’t workshop those anyway, so we can expedite that 7 to 14 days because we wouldn’t have to wait for a voting meeting,” Erbrick said. “Do we really need to vote on whether to accept grant money?”

Council will appoint one member of the Planning and Zoning Commission to serve as an alternate on the Burnt Store Right-of-Way committee.

Erbrick also said the city could also deal with emergency issues, such as if a fire truck suddenly goes out of commission.

“We would need to jump on that because they’re custom. The instance a few weeks ago with the GPS system for public works, council doesn’t need to look at that twice,” Erbrick said.

There were fears from some members of council, especially from Mayor John Sullivan, that the new format would hinder public input and that things would revert back to a time when council meetings would run past midnight.

But Councilmember John Carioscia believes it’s an idea that deserves a chance.

“We’ll give it six months to evaluate it and if we don’t like it, we’ll change it back. That’s what flexibility is all about.

The meetings will be run in this format for six months, when council will decide whether to use it on a permanent basis.

Among the items on the agendas include the first public offering on an appeal of the decision of the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment and Appeals resolution which granted a special exception to construct and operate a gas station at 801-809 Cape Coral Parkway West.

Approval of the appeal would reverse the previous decision of the board, thereby denying the special exception for the station.

The official vetting on the subject will be on Jan. 28.

A companion resolution also appeals the dimensional variance of seven feet from the minimum rear setback requirement of 25 feet. Again approval of the appeal would reverse the P&Z board’s decision.

In September, more than 50 residents petitioned to the City Council over the approval made by Planning and Zoning for construction of the convenience store and gas station.

The petitioners claimed a gas station was too intense for the area, that it violates the city’s zoning standards, and that its proximity to water could spoil the recreational water atmosphere.

Council also is expected to discuss amending the future land use classification on one parcel from Public Facilities to Mixed Use, and on six parcels from Single Family and Multi-family by PDP to Mixed Use on land north and south of Northwest 40th Lane just west of Burnt Store Road.

The land use changes in that area are to make them consistent in hopes of building an RV resort in the area.

Also on the agenda is a review of fleet management services in the city presented by City Manager John Szerlag, with the possibility of bringing in a new fleet administrator for all city vehicles.

The plan has Carioscia quite happy.

“I think Szerlag and company has done an outstanding job laying it out,” Thank God we have a professional in there,” Carioscia said.

Also, councilmember Kevin McGrail will bring up the charter schools’ request to bring in a school resource officer.