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Cape looks to use impact fees for design of gun range

By Staff | May 30, 2019

A proposal to use $650,000 in police impact fee reserves to fund the design of a police department gun range is on the Cape Coral City Council consent agenda Monday.

Council approved a resolution last September to annex a site called the Zemel property with 15 acres earmarked for a Public Safety training facility.

The objective now is to compete the site work and design of an indoor gun range for the Cape Coral Police Department in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

The placement of the request for funding for design on the consent agenda means there will be no Council discussion on the matter unless a member of the board has questions or comments.

The gun range is expected to cost $8.3 million.

The city has completed a funding initiative request to the State House and Senate, asking for $2.7 million through appropriations. The CCPD has $4.6 million available in reserves, with a future increase of $900,000 in next year’s budget.

The corresponding contract would then be brought forward for approval at a later City Council meeting after the procurement process is completed.

Also on Monday’s Council agenda is an ordinance that would provide for the creation of a Health Benefits Trust and appointment of a health benefits board.

The structure of the board as proposed would consist of three city representatives and two members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Local 2301, the union covered in the collective bargaining agreement.

Councilmember John Carioscia said the union is against the measure as proposed, wanting instead two members from the city and union and a discussion on a fifth person, whom they want to be a neutral party.

“The city is adamant about it having the third person. That will be a matter of discussion Monday night,” Carioscia said. “I think we’ll end up with a compromise person, someone who would be a good listener and made a fair ruling. An advantage one way or the other would probably have a negative impact.”

A companion resolution would adopt a Declaration of Trust for the General Union Health Benefits Trust.

Also, the city will hold a final public hearing on an ordinance to amend land use regulations in the South Cape Downtown District. The ordinance would amend maximum floor area ratio, residential density, and building height in the district, establishing regulations to allow certain architectural elements in city easements and rights-of-way, and establishing regulations to allow outdoor dining on public rights-of-way and city-owned parking lots.

“It’s about time. It’s part and parcel for what’s coming in the South Cape, especially for allowing dining on the sidewalks downtown. It’s a win-win,” Carioscia said. “The CRA is for this and so am I. I can’t see not doing this.”

In a related topic, Council is also expected to vote to amend regulations to remove the maximum building height regulations of 45 feet for non-residential buildings in the Corridor District. Building heights would be regulated by floor area ratio rather than a fixed height.

This change could allow greater flexibility in project design and architectural features for non-residential projects, particularly for hotel development.

Council also is expected to vote to amend its rules of procedure, with the main intent to allow council members, with approval, to participate in meetings remotely if unable to actually be there, as well as providing that council member reports be related to city business.

This item was tabled last month and further discussed on May 20 during a workshop meeting.

The city also will hold a discussion on drones, which Councilmember Rick Williams brought up two years ago and something Carioscia will return to Monday, as well as appoint two new members to the Youth Council and select the city recommendation for the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors for the 10 most populous cities.

Cape Coral City Council meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. and are held in the Council Chambers at City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.