Homeowners protest proposed gas fuel tank
A proposed 500-gallon gas tank at a boat rental place on Del Prado Boulevard has nearby residents protesting, afraid that an already polluted canal could get much worse.
The company’s owners, though, are saying the pollution concerns are overblown, and that the business needs the tank to fill the boats they rent to remain profitable.
The Cape Coral City Council will consider both sides of the argument during a special meeting Monday at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall.
Paradise Boat Rental, at 3013 Del Prado Blvd., is seeking a special exception to install a gas tank and pump near the canal for its own use, to fill the boats they are renting, said new owner Michael Dixon, who adds the pump will not increase boat traffic or increase pollution in the canal.
“We agreed under the order we would not sell to the outside and only our own employees will be properly trained to dispense it,” Dixon said.
It would be like a car rental place, in that if the car is rented to you with a full tank, you would return it with a full tank. The same would go for the boat, said Dixon, who added it has become a problem because some boaters don’t want to wait to fill up.
“The issue is when there isn’t enough gas in the boat to rent it, we have to go to the Boat House to get gas or filling five-gallon jugs. We’re trying to get away from that,” Dixon said.
As for the pollution issue, Dixon, who became the owner in November, believes it’s more hyperbole than fact. It is something he said he has tried to tell the neighbors.
“People have this idea it will be the next Exxon-Valdez and it’s not a good analogy. It’s really bordering on the verge of hysteria with all the misinformation,” Dixon said.
The owner of the building, Bob Gennaro, filed for a special exception to dispense fuel on the property.
The attorney representing the residents of the Cornwallis and Palaco Grande neighborhood associations, former Cape Coral mayor Eric Feichthaler, said their concerns are justified with more then 500 people signing a petition against the proposal, including some who live just a few yards from where the pumps will be.
“The special exception has to be for a self-service gas station like a 7-Eleven. This isn’t like that. A trained person will be refueling,” Feichthaler said. “Right there the application should fail on its face.”
Feichthaler also said the way the building is situated, there is no room for a tank in regards to setback to follow the code of ordinances, and that the building’s owner has nothing to do with the business, so the applicant should be Dixon, even though he doesn’t own the building.
Feichthaler said he agrees that the boat rental place should run like a car rental, but that renters should fill the tank at the nearby Yacht Club.
“It’s just not permitted under the law to allow for this full-service tank without proper setbacks to go next to a strip mall. It doesn’t make sense,” Feichthaler said. “I hope the City Council will understand the ordinance on this and if they do, that they will deny it.”