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RV resort proposal nudges forward

By Staff | Feb 6, 2013

The Planning & Zoning commission on Wednesday got a tiny step closer to making the proposed RV resort in Northwest Cape Coral a reality, though there are a few Is and Ts to be dotted and crossed.

The board unanimously approved an ordinance to amend land use regulations to allow for Recreational Vehicles to be added as a special exception use in an agricultural district.

However, the board had some concerns regarding the definition of residency, the minimum size allowable for such an exception, and the hooking up to water and wastewater facilities.

Rick Sosnowski of the Department of Commercial Development outlined the ordinance where such a business would require at least 25 acres in mixed use with approval via the planned development project process.

Among the conditions would be the disallowance of pop-up trailers or tent campers. The cabins must have a kitchen and toilet and must be in code, the roads must be privately maintained and meet all codes.

Cliff Repperger, representing Avalon Enginerring, developer of the resort, disagreed with the acreage, saying at least 100 acres would be necessary for an RV resort and anything less would make it a “trailer park.”

Richard O’Donnell, president of the Northwest Neighborhood Association, had some reservations. He said much of the ordinance was rushed in order to complete it.

“Will there be a more detailed presentation? Can we trust the developer to live up to his word?” O’Donnell asked, adding he agreed with Repperger’s 100-acre minimum proposal.

Doug Kidd, another association member, questioned what would represent an RV; a $500,000 cabin cruiser or “a school bus conversion?”

Another concern was with a 180-day residency limit. Council believed that certain RV owners would rent out their RVs to other people or family members to allow them to stay at the resort.

In the end, the board decided the ordinance was 99 percent finished and approved it being sent to the city council, provided there be citizen input to help fine-tune it.

The City Council will hear the ordinance at Monday’s regular meeting, with public hearings on Feb. 25 and March 11.

In other business, the board made a motion to recommend two candidates, Glenn Hewitt and Dr. Joe Gibileski, for appointment to the P&Z board for city council approval; elevate alternate board member Paul Tee to full status, and reappoint Patti Martin, Dan Read and Dan Ranfrantz to the board.

This procedure caused controversy at the Monday City Council meeting, when Councilmember Rana Erbrick motioned to take the recommendations out of the P&Z’s hands, saying no other board has the authority to recommend or select its own members.

Erbrick motioned to take that authority away, but it failed after the council stalemated.

Also, despite some protests from residents near the corner of Surfside Boulevard and Veterans Parkway, the board unanimously approved the rezoning of a tract on 2441 Surfside Drive from single-family residential to Professional office (P-1).

The development planned is to be 36,000 square feet, although it could accommodate up to 72,000.

This caused discomfort for James Smith, who said the area, already clogged with traffic from the shopping center catty-corner from the proposed building, will get even more congested.

“I’ve seen firsthand accidents at the intersection that have caused people to die,” Smith said. “Cape Coral is getting an attitude about doing something about it later.”

“I’d rather have a P-1 than a C-1,” Triscari said of preferring a professional use designation to commercial use.