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UEP for North 2 to break ground in August

By Staff | Feb 9, 2016

The next phase of the Utility Expansion Project expected to break ground in August for the neighborhoods designed as North 2 has a possible twist – the city may ask some property owners if they want to pay approximately $6,100 more for underground electric and communication lines.

During a special session Monday afternoon, the Cape Coral City Council heard a status update on the UEP for the north Cape. Construction on North 2 area will commence later this year followed by North 1 in 2018.

UEP director Paul Clinghan informed council that the engineering and design phase for North 2 is 60 percent complete. Construction on the $209 million project is scheduled for August and will take 18 months. The same assessment methodology used for Southwest 6&7, pre-payment discounts and financing methods will be followed for North 2.

One conceptual add-on feature is being discussed for a small area of North 2. Staff presented the idea of undergrounding electric and communications utilities at the same time as the roadways are torn up for the water and sewer project.

The proposal includes installing two conduits for communications service and electrical lines on the opposite side of the roadway from existing power poles so as not to interfere with current services and ultimately speed up the switchover upon completion. The proposal includes installing LED street lighting in the area.

Staff targeted an area west of Burnt Score Road and Ceitus Parkway that would affect 1,907 parcels, 40 percent of which already are improved. Staff estimated the cost of the project at about $11.7 million to be paid by the property owners through an extra assessment. The cost for each property is estimated at $6,124.

Councilmember Rick Williams, who represents the area, likes the idea.

“Personally, I’d love to see this happen,” he said. “Residents would have to understand that they would get this at a greatly reduced cost and I think it would increase the property values, even benefit the vacant properties. It would be a voluntary assessment, but I think we need to make sure the populace wants it. The residents are the ones who will drive this forward.”

Councilmember Marilyn Stout was not sure residents will accept the added cost.

“We need to be clear,” she said. “We’re not just asking for $6,100. It’s now $22,000 with the other utilities. If I were a resident there I would be all for the $6,000, but at $22,000 I would have to think about it.”

City staff was authorized to notify residents in the area that the idea is being discussed and solicit their input. Further discussions with the residents will be done at public meetings.