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Charter Review Board appointments made

By Staff | Jun 6, 2017

The Charter Review Commission is tasked with reviewing the city charter and making recommendations to the Cape Coral City Council on what needs to be changed.

On Monday, Council chose the seven members and two alternates to comprise that board.

The members of the board are Anthony Bennie, Phyllis Jenkins, Andrew Sund, John McNamara, Ryan Peterson, Giovanni Robinson, and Skip Kitchen. The alternates are Joe Stewart and Victoria Weiss.

Once the commission makes its recommendations, they will be vetted by Council, with can reject, modify or bring to referendum any changes proposed.

In other business:

n Council agreed 7-1 to move forward with a pilot program to defer single-family impact fees for agencies participating in city affordable housing programs, particularly Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties and the Cape Coral Housing Development Corporation.

The program would reduce the number of units in the original plan from 150 to 100, with repayment of the funds required at the time of first transfer or refinance with cash out.

“This would reduce the costs it takes to put someone in affordable homes and allow us to put more people in affordable housing,” said Kitty Green president and CEO of Habitat.

City Manager John Szerlag said this would allow people to move to Cape Coral and add to the tax base on land that would be empty otherwise.

While Councilmember Jim Burch said such programs are why cities exist, Councilmember Richard Leon didn’t want city taxpayers to bear the cost of such a program. He said he would “give his blood and sweat” for the program before painfully casting the lone dissent.

* Council unanimously voted to add special exceptions to the schedule of land use classifications, increasing the permitted and special exception uses so they can be used in the single- and multi-family residential districts.

The measure will allow private parks, cultural facilities such as art galleries (except for zoos), resort motels and hotels that emphasize outdoor activity, and commercial recreation and schools, such as a sports academy, that is not open to the public.

The four special exception uses must be at least 25 acres in size.

Planning Team Coordinator Wyatt Daltry said in his presentation the changes will provide greater flexibility and development opportunities for a city that is known for active recreation, but hasn’t been able to achieve a world-class facility because of the ad-hoc nature of the requests.

* City voted to ratify the tentative bargaining agreement between the city and unionized employees of the Cape Coral Police Dept., regarding both officer sand sergeants, and lieutenants.

* During closing remarks, Councilmember Rick Williams made a recommendation to decide what to do with the land it has been acquiring for a planned Festival Park property, a project which has been dormant for more than a decade while the city has tried to determine a suitable use for it.

Recommendations from members of Council included perhaps making it into a concert venue with ample parking opportunities that could bring the city money or even the new location for CocoFest, which is coming close to outgrowing its current location at Sunsplash.

Councilmember Jim Burch, who has been a staunch proponent of buying the old golf course property in the south Cape, reinforced his stance that it would be the prime location for anything that happens in the city.

That idea was shot down, with Councilmember Richard Leon saying it would not allow for parking and that, unlike the old golf course acreage , the city owns Festival Park. He said perhaps the Youth Council can take that issue up.