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City Council tables request for zoning changes in downtown area

By Staff | Jul 19, 2016

Councilmember Richard Leon proposed to reduce the size of about 50 acres of property in close proximity to the Bimini Basin area that came before City Council Monday night to change from current multiple uses to a Downtown Mixed designation.

Staff was recommending the change for parcels along the north side of Cape Coral Parkway west of Palm Tree Boulevard, parcels north of Southeast 47th Terrace to Country Club Boulevard east of Palm Tree to Coronado Parkway. It is the majority of those parcels that Leon wanted to eliminate from the new designation.

Some on council agreed with Leon while Mayor Marni Retzer, who has been driving the Bimini Basin project from the very beginning, maintained the area is important to the project especially if it is decided to connect the Rubicon Canal to the Bimini Basin at Four Freedoms Park. She urged her colleagues not to start making “spot changes.”

Since the city has 180 days after the project was approved by the state to make changes, it was decided to table the public hearing for two weeks so staff could prepare answers to a number of questions posed by council. The city is only 28 days into the 180-day time period.

The ordinance amendment is the third of four steps in preparing the area for the redevelopment project.

In a related action, council delayed the first public hearing date for the establishment of the Bimini Basin Zoning District regulations until Aug. 15 to reflect the two-week delay on the Downtown Mixed use change.

Other items:

Council approved the sale of city-owned property at the intersection of Santa Barbara Boulevard at Veterans Parkway for $1 million to developer Dan Creighton Monday night. Creighton has a contract on adjoining parcels and can now close on those as he takes control of the former city fire station property for a major commercial development.

The sale includes permission to install a traffic signal at Southeast 27th Street for which Creighton will bear all costs for as well as designing and installing a left-turn lane on Santa Barbara. The city was concerned that a signal at that intersection might stack vehicles back toward Veterans and impacting traffic flow through the intersection. A traffic study determined there was no cause for concern.

Council unanimously approved a new agreement with the city’s general union representing blue collar, white collar, nonsupervisory professional and supervisory units at Monday’s meeting. The three-year agreement awards a 3.75 percent raise in base pay the first year, 2.69 percent the second and 4.79 percent the third year.

City Council’s next regular meeting is at 4:30 p.m. on July 25 in Council Chambers at City Hall.