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Mayor calls for special meeting

By Staff | Feb 15, 2018

The city of Cape Coral may revisit its decision to approve one type of poured concrete, vinyl form seawall while rejecting another.

Mayor Joe Coviello has scheduled a special meeting on the subject for Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, at which time Council could reconsider its 6-2 vote.

The meeting is expected to include discussion of issues that weren’t presented during Monday’s meeting, including the different applications of seawalls that may not have been made clear during city staff’s first presentation.

“There were different applications of the corrugated wall that weren’t made clear to Council and no cost factors, either,” Coviello said. “Based on that I felt compelled to meet again.”

Council approved a resolution Monday that will allow the construction of alternative forms of seawall construction, such as vinyl.

However, it was under the condition that excluded “corrugated vinyl,” which Councilmember John Gunter said was not aesthetically pleasing. He favored the traditional precast concrete as well as flat, cast-in-place vinyl, which can be installed in front of existing seawalls damaged by Hurricane Irma.

A majority of Council agree with the decision to leave out “corrugated” walls with the measure passing 6-2. Council members Jessica Cosden and Rick Williams dissented, saying the omission greatly reduced the options for homeowners and contractors.

After the meeting, Joe Mazurkiewicz and Cape Coral Construction Industry Association Executive Director Bill Johnson Jr. expressed their frustration, saying the decision was based purely on aesthetics, not engineering standards.

Geoff Campbell, senior estimator and project manager at Honc Marine, said the Council action inadvertently drove up costs significantly.

“Unfortunately, that drives the price up to use the flat panel, which is 30 to 50 percent more expensive than corrugated vinyl,” Campbell said, regarding building a new seawall in front of the failing one.

Corrugated, or dimensional, vinyl would allow for the use of half the material as the flat-paneled walls, which could, in some instances, cost nearly as much as using concrete alone. Campbell said every property is different, so the price would depend on the individual needs of the property.

“There are some situations where corrugated is the right solution, and there are some where corrugated isn’t. Maybe concrete or flat vinyl are the right solution,” Campbell said.

After research and consulting with city staff, Coviello said he believes most on Council assumed the flat seawall was the same as corrugated but with a different look.

“We assumed the cost would be the same and the applications were similar and that doesn’t seem to be the case,” Coviello said. “We found out afterward there are different applications, types and costs.”

Campbell said it is important for the city and industry to give the city as many arrows they can carry in their quiver. Monday’s decision took one arrow out.

“Right now, the city is taking away the options of the homeowner to make informed decisions. Taking any tool out of our tool box means we won’t be able to do these projects as quickly,” Campbell said, adding that removing corrugated vinyl could knock a few seawall contractors out of the game, meaning seawall repairs also would take longer.

Mazurkiewicz said he is glad Council has apparently given more thought to engineering and economics instead of just perceived appearance.

“I think Council members were made aware of the economic impact of their decision. I don’t believe they had all the information,” Mazurkiewicz said. “When they found out they eliminated the option that was more financially feasible, aesthetics wasn’t as important.”