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Council denies rezoning of Cape Coral Parkway site

By Staff | Mar 19, 2013

Cape Coral City Council has unanimously denied a rezoning request for a 1.12- acre site next to one rezoned commercial to put in a gas station.

Monday’s vote affirmed a unanimous verdict in February by Planning & Zoning to deny commercial status for property on 821 Cape Coral Pkwy.

Opponents of the proposed rezoning from professional to commercial said the change would increase the number of accidents and decrease property values.

One by one they laid out their case against the rezoning.

Richard Mullins said the area has already been degraded by the proposed gas station and that in a city where there’s a surplus of available space, another office building is not needed.

“It will have a negative impact on property values and will make Cape Coral Parkway more dangerous,” said resident Larry Toth. “There’s also a risk of criminal activity and the zoning doesn’t fit.”

The proposed building would have been surrounded on most corners by multi-family housing.

Bill McFarland, representative of the landowners, disagreed, saying the rezoning was more perception than reality.

“Whether its P-1 or C-1, it’s the same building. Putting a building there doesn’t make a difference, what matters is getting tenants,” McFarland said. “C-1 appeals to a broader base of tenants. It would improve development.”

When council had its say, Marty McClain felt like it was dj vu all over again.

“There are myths coming up that have no documentation,” McClain said, but added, “We were promised no gas station and it was shoehorned in. We have control with a P-1 zoning.”

Councilmember Kevin McGrail said it would turn Cape Coral Parkway into strip mall city.

“A zoning change would create an Old Del Prado,” McGrail said. “I urge council to agree with Planning & Zoning and deny.”

Afterward, McFarland said there were no surprises and, as a result, the land will just sit there.

“It wasn’t unanticipated. The fallout from the gas station and the way it was prosecuted was what caused it,” McFarland said. “The land will sit there vacant. There isn’t interest in P-1 zoning at this time.”

In other business, Cape Coral Leadership Group presented a check for $20,400 to Special Populations, proceeds from a Casino Night the group held at the Yacht Club.

Couples paid $75 and there were raffles and silent auctions, and play money (except for the poker).

“Special Populations serves hundreds of people and is the crown jewel in this city,” McClain said, who was a member of this year’s leadership group. Everyone reached out and gave what they could to them.”

Also, Councilmember Derrick Donnell addressed the council on podium procedures and his concern over recent incidents with those he says were out of order in addressing the council.

While nothing concrete came of it, some suggestions on what to do with future outbursts were given, including allowing Mayor John Sullivan to shut off the microphone or shut off the projector when a point of order is made by a council member.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz was worried about such actions, saying it was like “killing a fly with a sledgehammer.”

Sullivan said that while council may be experts on parliamentary procedures, the average resident is not.

“How often do I have to remind people to take off their hat or to not address council,” Sullivan said. “Not everyone knows the rules.”