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Sam’s Club project; kayak complex lease get council approval

By Staff | Oct 22, 2013

One ordinance will bring one of the nation’s largest wholesalers to Cape Coral within a year, while another will bring some of the world’s best athletes to town during the winter months to train and spend lots of money.

Talk about a win-win.

Cape Coral City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will allow the building of Sam’s Club on the corner of Pine Island Road and Hancock Bridge Parkway with the required zoning change to “corridor,” a special exception allowing the use of self-service gas pumps and the subdivision of the project parcel.

The 36.69-acre property will house a 141,000-square-foot facility. The property will be subdivided into nine tracts, two for stormwater, five outparcels along Pine Island Road between 1.25 and 1.5 acres, and two interior parcels with the Sam’s Club on 15.58 acres and another 7.83 acre tract.

Among the conditions for development will be a six-foot wall along the northern boundary, delivery trucks will use southwest Pine Island Road for ingress/ egress, outparcels 1 through 5 will provide vehicular cross-access between each adjoining outparcel and vehicular access to the east/west drive aisle.

There will be a rezoning of 13.27 acres to “corridor” to allow for the self-service pumps and for a wider variety of uses and greater flexibility for the developer.

At its Oct. 2 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Commission, sitting as the Local Planning Agency, voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the ordinance.

There were no speakers during public input, and no correspondence opposing the project was received.

“This project has been well-discussed at the P&Z. I haven’t heard an objectionfrom anyone,” said Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz, who also serves as its liaison. “Many people would love to not have to cross the bridge.”

The approval was music to Councilmember Kevin McGrail’s ears, who supported dropping the impact fees to the minimum to get the big-box store to come to town.

“The mitigating factor we addressed was getting the impact fees down from $2 million to $90,000,” McGrail said. “We look forward to Super Wal-Mart once we complete expansion of Pine Island Road.”

The city also approved extending its lease with the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club in a house on Lake Kennedy near the city-owned Sun Splash Family Waterpark.

For $10 annually, the club will get to lease the residence and vacant three-acre site for five years, plus an additional five-year term.

This would become the home of a canoe/kayak training center which would house athletes, store equipment, and many other things.

It is part of a plan to expand the training facility to include a boathouse, a 100 dorm room complex with four per room, a beach, stage, and a cross-training facility that would not only attract sailors training in the winter, but serve as camps for other sports.

Economic Development Director Dana Brunett said the economic impact of the athletes staying here is significant, especially if more come to the area to train during the winter months.

Brunett said the daily impact of 400 attendees would be $58,460. Over 90 days, that would be $5,261,443.

The alternatives to a lease would be to sell the house, valued at $169,000 with a tax impact of $1,076, not comparable to its potential use as a sports tourism site, officials said.

McGrail was in full support of the public/private partnership that such a facility would generate.

Councilmember Derrick Donnell said to get Olympic-level sports to come to the city is a great reason to move this forward.

Melinda Mack, executive director of the kayak club, said bringing an Olympic-caliber training facility to town would be a great opportunity for area youth to train with the world’s best, among other things.

“These are multi-medalists who will come here every year and will be on the water with our youth development,” Mack said. “We’re also looking to open up new sporting opportunities for other long-term housing options for a cheer camp, or soccer camp.”