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Council approves several items

By Staff | Jan 13, 2015

Everything before City Council on Monday earned unanimous approval with very little in the way of opposition.

Council approved a new wetland mitigation contract agreement with the Little Pine Island Wetland Mitigation Bank regarding a large commercial parcel in Northeast Cape known as Academic Village. Economic Development Director Dana Brunett has been working to attract a developer for the parcel at the corner of Del Prado Boulevard and Kismet Parkway.

According to Brunett, to develop a property with wetlands present the city must preserve wetlands at other developments and bank the credits in order to develop the site. A credit is a certain amount of acreage preserved that should be equal to a wetland area that becomes developed.

The new agreement will cost the city $225,000 up front with the ability to extend the agreement by up to three one-year options at a cost of $90,000 per year. The city would pay just over $900,000 when it allows the property to be developed.

“Of course, we hope we never have to pay the full amount down the road,” said Brunett. “The developer would be expected to pay those costs. This agreement gives us until 2019 to find a suitable developer.”

Brunett added the new agreement will save the city about $87,000.

Council also approved adding an alternate member to the Community Redevel-opment Agency advisory board and immediately appointed Isabel Barroso, a practicing attorney, to that position. Her role on the board is a non-voting one unless one of the other four members is absent or one of the seats becomes vacant.

Council approved its platform priorities for the 2015 Federal Agenda. The agenda will be used by the city’s lobbyists to acquire federal funding throughout the city for projects like economic development, public safety, bicycle paths and sidewalks. It also asks the government to continue funding the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

The city also vacated 19 feet of a 25-foot utility easement associated with a commercial property recently constructed on the southwest corner of the intersection of Diplomat Parkway and Andalusia Boulevard. The convenience store construction encroached on that easement.

According to Public Works Director Steve Neff, the original 25-foot easement was established in the 1960s for reasons unknown. The city only requires six feet of utility/drainage easement.

Councilmember Rick Williams wondered why the building’s encroachment on the original easement was not discovered by the planning department, developer or surveyors.

When asked if vacating 10 feet of the easement instead of 19 feet would be more beneficial, Neff responded, “No, we just don’t need it. And we will have six feet of easement on the adjoining property to the west.”

The easement vacation amounts to about 5,187 square feet to include the convenience store and several adjoining commercial lots to the south belonging to the same owner.

Council will convene a special workshop meeting today to discuss two topics – public-private partnerships (P3) and the city’s road paving plans for the next five years. The road paving plan is tied to the Fire Service Assessment funds generated by a methodology the city used to determine the amount per property. That methodology is being challenged by a group of citizens in a lawsuit that is awaiting an appeal ruling from the Florida Supreme Court.

Wednesday’s meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. in Room A200 in the Nicholas Parkway Annex building. There is no regular council meeting next Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A second special meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Nicholas Parkway Annex. The next regular council meeting is Monday, Jan. 26.