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Bimini Basin set for CRA discussion

By Staff | Jul 14, 2016

The Community Redevelopment Agency Commission will take up the much anticipated Bimini Basin Zoning District ordinance at 2 p.m. Monday during a special meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall.

City staff will present the details of the new ordinance created to meet the needs of future development across 134 acres on both sides of Cape Coral Parkway and S.E. 47th Terrace west of Coronado Boulevard and extending to Palm Tree Boulevard. The area contains 289 parcels with 70 percent of them already developed.

The ordinance then goes before City Council for more discussion and public comment at two public hearings scheduled for July 25 and Aug. 8. The city’s Planning & Zoning Commission approved the ordinance 6-0 at a special meeting on Wednesday.

Like the South Cape Downtown District, the proposed Bimini Basin Zoning District features mixed-use designations favorable for residential and nonresidential development that would include multi-family residential as well as various retail, office, restaurant, entertainment and cultural uses. There are 60 uses permitted within the boundaries, including seven special exception uses. The South Cape District allows about half as many permitted uses.

The Bimini Basin project began more than a year ago when City Council contracted with the University of South Florida Architectural Design Studio to develop several concepts of mixed uses for the area. In December 2015, council authorized the city manager and staff to draw up the land use and zoning ordinance to regulate future development in Bimini Basin.

While new single family and duplex residences will not be allowed in the Bimini Basin under the new ordinance, those that already exist there will be allowed to continue indefinitely.

Other uses prohibited in the new district include auto repair, gas stations, light manufacturing, variety stores, flea markets, outdoor storage or the use of large commercial vehicles.

“Development will be driven by the private sector by whatever the market will bear,” city planning coordinator Mike Struve told the Planning & Zoning Commission. “The city owns or controls very little of the property in that area.”

Workshop sessions held to get public input called for preservation of Four Freedoms Park, creation of public and green space, entertainment and cultural developments.

The district is designed to provide an urban area that encourages people to live, work, play and shop within a relatively small area. Its components include regulations on residential and commercial density, parking, architectural standards, landscaping and setbacks.

“We can encourage developers to include waterfront walkways, but we can not mandate them on private property,” said Struve. “Drive-thrus will be prohibited. That does not mean fast food restaurants and banks are not permitted, just no drive-thrus.”