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Bimini Basin ‘charette’ to ignite creativity

By Staff | Jan 22, 2015

More than 40 stakeholders with about that many visions for what they want to see from Bimini Basin will converge next week to share creative ideas for the area.

The Bimini Basin Visioning Charette will be held Thursday, Jan. 29, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Terrace Hall, at 1313 S.E. 47th Terrace, where stakeholders will lay out their visions and the public will get a say when the process has finished.

A group of 42 stakeholders have been selected to participate. The charette process will begin at 1:30 p.m. and last four hours, during which the public is invited to only observe.

Annette Barbaccia, whose client owns roughly 23 acres near Bimini Basin and will participate in the charette, said such an event is important since the CRA district has little waterfront.

“With everyone getting on the same page, there’s a neat design that can be achieved. Property owners want to make sure their development rights continue,” Barbaccia said. “It’s a pretty capable group they’ve hired.

Barbaccia said the downtown building height is limited to six stories unless you have a nice design

At 5:30 p.m., the charrette groups will present their recommendations to the other participants, as well as members of the public, who can take part at this time and vote on the recommendations.

City spokesperson Connie Barron said this is the first step in determining a future for the Bimini Basin and that those participating are very excited about it.

“We’re looking forward to the discussion and the ideas that come out from this group. It’s very near and dear to the mayor and it’s going to be an interesting process,” Barron said.

With the involvement of key stakeholders, the charette ensures that all opinions and ideas are brought forward and given consideration.

“The stakeholders are a cross section of the city. You’re going to get input from the perspective of environmentalists, developers, residents… When you have so many minds, it’s impressive what comes out of that,” Barron said.

Joe Mazurkewicz, president of BJM Consulting and former Cape Coral mayor, said he expects at least two preferred options. What they will be, he doesn’t know.

“I hope they maximize public access to and from the water…” Mazurkewicz said. “They’re not starting with a blank sheet because there are laws, but the laws are flexible so anything can happen.”

The charrette is being facilitated by the University of South Florida’s School of Architecture and Community Design, which has been retained by the city of Cape Coral to conduct the planning and visioning process on the Bimini Basin.

USF will take the ideas and public feedback generated from the charrette to craft a design plan. They will return on March 17 to present and review this initial design plan.

The USF team will incorporate the additional feedback received during this review and return for a final presentation scheduled for April 16.

Both follow-up presentations will be held at the Fireman’s Hall.