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Bid to revisit vote gains no traction

By Staff | Sep 20, 2017

Cape Coral City Councilmember Marilyn Stout learned Monday at the weekly City Council meeting at city hall that there are no mulligans when it comes to seeking reconsideration, especially when you lost.

Toward the end of the meeting, Stout presented the grounds for a reconsideration of the vote held Aug. 21 regarding the old golf course property, which ended in a 4-4 tie. The deadlock effectively killed a requested amendment to change the site’s designated future land use from parks to single family residential.

Stout said she had information that could have persuaded one of those who voted no to reconsider. She didn’t get very far.

As the measure died in a tie, Stout was not on the prevailing side of the vote, and Mayor Marni Sawicki said that made the request very unusual. Therefore, Stout could not make a motion to reconsider, though she could bring it up for discussion.

“I think the council decision is playing Russian roulette with our tax dollars,” Stout said.

Those on the prevailing side, who voted no, had no interest in bringing the reconsideration further.

“The question is how long do we want to listen. I’ve heard enough, and I don’t believe I’ll be changing my mind no matter how long you talk,” Councilmember John Carioscia said.

“We’ve heard all this from you, the attorneys and probably 50 people,” Council member Jim Burch said. “To reconsider everything on the other side, that sets a terrible precedent because it means people can come with their “B” game and their “A” game can come later. It can become a strategy.”

On Sept. 18, the city administration and Council received an email from the owner of the 175-acre parcel off Palm Tree Boulevard.

Bill McHale, executive vice president of Ryan Companies US Inc., said the firm would appreciate a reconsideration of the vote, which killed the company’s request to transmit the land use amendment to the state.

Ryan Companies still wants to proceed with development plants, the email states.

The company’s CEO has decided to go forward and self develop the golf course property, the email states, adding that Ryan would take the development position of DR Horton, which proposed to buy the property and build homes if the land use amendment was approved.

“Our intention would be to go forward with the plan DR was proposing and take their position (guarantee the site commitments, etc.) and complete all horizontal construction, at that point we would deal with housing builders (DR will get the first chance) for all or portions (phases) of the developed site,” the email states.

Due to a scheduled medical procedure, McHale was unable to “meet with the Mayor/Council to press (the company’s) case for reconsideration.”

“Good luck, I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” he wrote to Stout in advance of her effort.