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Council overturns hearing examiner’s decision, OKs variance

By Staff | Dec 12, 2018

The Cape Coral City Council closed out 2018 with one of its quickest meetings of the year, lasting a little more than an hour. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t get anything done.

One completed task was reversing a decision the hearing examiner rendered, allowing for a variance to construct a home on Sea Gull Court.

City management had recommended the council approve the HEX decision made in the case on Sept. 11, as the criteria for a variance for the most part was not met.

Robert Schmid, the applicant, was seeking a seven-foot variance to allow him to build a single-family home 18 feet from the front property line instead of the required 25 feet on his water frontage site along Bimini Canal.

However, the HEX and the city contended four of the five standards for a variance were not met.

For one, the site is trapezoidal, which is unusual for canal lots, with a depth between 103 and 111 feet, which is less depth than many other platted homesites.

Also, a single-family house had previously been on the site, which was demolished in 2005. Based on a survey of the site, a house with a footprint of 7,000 square feet can be built. The design of the house desired is at odds with the setback requirements.

Finally, a similar variance was granted to another similar site. Previously granted variances are not sufficient basis for justifying future requests.

That was something brought up by Joe Mazurkiewicz, a consultant who was representing the Schmid family. He said the unique configuration of the property is the reason variances are allowed.

“That footprint prevents many homes to be built without variances,” Mazurkiewicz said. “We’re not asking for anything special. We didn’t create this lot.”

Also, because of its positioning at the end of the cul-de-sac, the 8- foot difference in the front would not be as noticeable as it would if it was down the street.

Councilmember John Gunter said a variance was pulled on a similar house in 2009, so he saw no reason not to grant this one. His fellow council members agreed and voted 7-0 to overturn the HEX decision.

It would be the only public hearing of the evening. Another one scheduled for Monday was rescheduled after an advertising error was made.

City Council also created an internal auditor and police communications training coordinator position and reclassifying one lead telecommunicator to the position. They also reappointed Tom Hinkle and David Kenney to the Golf Course Advisory Board.

Council also introduced several measures it will consider to kick off 2019 at its first meeting of the year on Jan. 7. Among them will be the issuance of $60 million GO Bonds to fund the acquisition, construction and equipping of various parks, natural areas, recreational and athletic facilities, trails, boating, fishing and swimming facilities, and wildlife habitat and shoreline protection improvements.