City tackles building height restrictions
Cape Coral City Council unanimously approved changes to its non-residential building height restrictions in the South Cape and the Corridor District Monday.
With three members out on excused absences, Council first voted 5-0 to amend the city’s land use and development regulations regarding the South Cape Downtown District.
The ordinance will eliminate the South Cape Redevelopment Incentive Program, amend the maximum floor area ratio, maximum residential density and maximum building height, establish regulations to allow certain architectural elements in city easements and rights-of-way, and establish regulations to allow outdoor dining on public rights-of-way and city-owned parking lots.
The changes will increase the maximum density to 75 units per acre, increase the maximum Floor Area Ratio to 4.0, and increase the maximum height to 160 feet.
This will allow more design flexibility in downtown Cape Coral to encourage economic development, officials said.
Council also passed a similar measure for the Corridor District to remove the maximum building height regulations of 45 feet for non-residential buildings.
Building heights will be regulated by floor area ratio rather than a fixed height to allow for greater flexibility in project design and architectural features for non-residential projects, particularly for hotel development.
In other business:
Residents brought a number of issues to Council ranging from low water levels in city canals to the continued protestations of the city trip to China taking place this week.
Richard Osman wondered if the city could again bring in water from Punta Gorda to fill the canals following what has been an usually dry past few weeks.
Lynn Rosco, who got into a disagreement with Mayor Joe Coviello at the May 20 workshop meeting regarding her referring to individual members of Council while voicing her disagreement over the China trip, continued her argument, and promptly got into it with Mayor Pro-Tem John Carioscia.
“Why would you want to deal with a communist country in the middle of a trade war? I don’t get that,” Rosco said. “You are supporting them with our hard-earned tax dollars.”
When Rosco brought up the name of Councilmember Marilyn Stout, who had made the motion to approve the trip, Carioscia warned her not to address individual council members, to the protests of the speaker.
Another speaker said the vote, while following the letter of the law, violated the spirit of the law, while yet another questioned the use of a travel agent in Georgia and why the mayor was booked under premiere economy rates with another member of the five person city-funded delegation, Joanne Killian.
Stout said the Council gave ample time for people speak up and the issue has been discussed quite frequently.
“It’s well known the trip was wanted because we are sister cities. Consequently, I don’t think this was done in the dark,” Stout said. “There are items on the consent agenda that aren’t really discussed, but the trip was discussed many times.”
Council approved measures including an ordinance to update the travel expense and allowance code for city employees, an ordinance granting to South Florida Water Management District a perpetual Conservation Easement upon property owned by the city located in the Academic Village area, a land swap of surplus property, and an ordinance to regulate commercial activity in city parks.
City Council named Peyton Ziegler of Canterbury School to the junior at-large vacancy and Shannon Dougherty of Cape Coral High School for another vacancy for the Youth Council.
Human Resources Director Lisa Sonego honored city employees after they placed first in the Million Mile Movement for the second straight. This program is sponsored by the Healthy Lee Coalition and took place from Jan. 15 to April 15.
The Million Mile Movement encourages companies and individuals of Lee County to walk, run, bike, swim and move in hopes of creating healthier living. The program resulted in 450,000 miles of movement in 90 days.
Because only five council members were present, it decided to table the selection of a Florida League of Cities Board of Directors nominee and continue a resolution to amend the city council’s rules of procedure.