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New commercial zoning district gets P&Z approval

By Staff | Jun 12, 2013

A new high-density commercial zoning district that could give Cape Coral the ability to recruit big-name companies to town was passed unanimously Wednesday during the regular meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission at City Hall.

Meanwhile, the appointed board wasn’t so eager to allow a marina owner near downtown to put a gas pump at his business because of aesthetics.

The new zoning district, which will be located north of Pine Island Road, will have some strict guidelines. Prospective businesses will need a minimum of 10 acres, no dwellings will be allowed in the district and all development will have to go through the PDP process.

Developers will be required to maintain open space, such as lakes, trails and parks, and a three-zone buffer will be required to protect adjacent areas that are conservation lands.

Economic Development Director Dana Brunett said this would give the city the ability to bring in businesses and keep residents in Cape Coral.

“This would give us businesses that are suited for employment like construction,” Brunett said. “We want to embrace and control growth, but we don’t want to control it to the point where we can’t recruit business.”

The ordinance passed 5-0. It will be presented to city council for approval, with public hearings on July 29 and August 12.

Another ordinance that would have increased the maximum surface area of a deck by 100 feet and the number of boat canopies per residential dock to two, was continued to next month.

In other business, a downtown marina seeking a self-service fuel pump was denied by the Commission despite approval by staff.

Jim Figuerado, owner of Cape Coral Marina at 1531 SE 46th Lane on the corner of del Prado, sought a 3,000-gallon, above-ground gas tank on his property so he would be able to gas up the boats he sells at the marina.

But while staff recommended approval, the board wasn’t too keen on the above-ground tank and the six-foot vinyl fence that would secure it.

“We’ve always tried to make Del Prado aesthetically pleasing, this isn’t,” Commissioner Dan Read said. “I sympathize, but it will make Del Prado look like an industrial park. I won’t support it.”

The measure was denied 3-2. Figuerado said he would appeal to city council.

Engineer Nisit Sapparkhao said he would be willing to make the tank smaller or lower to the ground. Figeurado said the tank is crucial to his company’s survival.

“We’ve lost customers because we can’t supply gasoline. My competition 90 feet away has two tanks,” Figuerado said, who added he has to get gas from a gas station in five-gallon containers. “Staff supported it, we met all the criteria and we’re really disappointed.”