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Council appoints P&Z board members

By Staff | Mar 5, 2019

The Cape Coral City Council made several committee appointments Monday but not without some debate concerning the need for “fresh blood” and possible term limits.

The city council voted for Blanca Contreras to be an advocate for low-income persons over Franklin Lee, who told a compelling story of when he lived in Texas and was shouted down when he defending a proposed affordable housing project by people who believed it would bring in “undesirables.”

The council also decided to fill three positions and two alternate slots for the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Daniel Read, James Ranfranz and Jesse Ray Marker were all reappointed to the commission, while current alternate Robert O’Connor and newcomer John Bashaw were named alternates.

This bothered several council members.

Councilmember Rick Williams said while the people who were reapplying were good, they are the same people, and that the city runs the risk of losing out on fresh blood.

“We have some good appointments give up. We need to bring in new people,” Williams said.

Councilmember Marilyn Stout agreed, and later asked if, perhaps, they could possibly have term limits.

“We need new blood, which is why I voted for new people,” Stout said. “Is there any way we can consider term limits so we can have fresh blood?”

That idea was quickly shot down.

“The problem is finding people to fill the position of those they replace,” Williams said.

Councilmember John Gunter agreed in theory, but added there are not enough people to fill all the slots, as some committees have gone years without being able to fill all the positions.

The City Council also voted to table a consent agenda item that would authorize the Cape Coral Charter School System to enter into a contract for two mail processing machines for $2,936 per year for five years.

Mayor Joe Coviello asked if this was the most effective use of money, especially for a system that is looking to be more financially sustainable.

He suggested the schools produce a cost comparison as opposed to just putting a stamp on it, since buying the machines does not include postage.

Council also voted to rezone property at 1514 S.E. 4th Street from single family to professional office.

A second ordinance, which would amend the Future Land Use Map from Single-Family Residential (SF) to Multi-Family Residential (MF) for property located at 1632 – 1640 S.E. 46th Street, was cancelled because of a noticing error. The public hearing will be rescheduled for April 1.

At the start of the meeting, Coviello said that public hearings on Ordinance 35-18 which proposed to adopt a new citywide land development code, and Ordinance 4-19, which proposed to rezone more than 9,000 total acres, would not be heard as scheduled at the March 18 meeting.

There was a delay in the receipt of comments from the state concerning Ordinance 2-19 and the allowance of some revisions.

Ordinance 2-19 will not be scheduled for adoption on March 18, again because state comment has not been received. The ordinances will be rescheduled soon.

Vince Cautero, city Community Development director, said that once state comments come in and staff works on items they were asked to investigate, they will provide a schedule as early as later in the week.

City Manager John Szerlag has asked staff to continue to work on separate ordinances regarding Seven Islands, South Cape and Bimini Basin. Density issues are to be addressed.