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Cape to discuss modified noise ordinance

By Staff | Sep 19, 2019

A re-modified noise ordinance will come back to Cape Coral City Council for discussion Monday.

Council will discuss the long-debated provisions for the South Cape, as well as, in other business, the procurement method the city uses for its landscaping and median projects, which one city council member said has proven to be too costly.

The noise ordinance has been a tricky topic for the city for well over a year. Twice, the issue has been brought to Council, only to have it punted it back for further review.

“We want to be sympathetic to the people in the neighborhood as well as those nearby 47th Terrace where a lot of the noise comes from,” Mayor Joe Coviello said of the proposed regulations for the South Cape entertainment district. “We’ve looked at areas like Tampa to see what they do and to see what we should do.”

Police Chief David Newlan said the current ordinance sets conditions that require decibel readings which can be unclear and subject to interpretation. Currently, such readings are measured from the complaint’s location, which results in ambient sound and false readings and don’t address other noises from cars or motorcycles, he said.

The city of Fort Myers uses a 75-decibel limit downtown. The city of Cape Coral originally proposed a new level of 85 decibels. A compromise would be 80. It would be in effect nightly from 6 p.m. until 3 a.m. and 65 decibels all other times, with businesses making sure the noise does not become a nuisance.

There also will be discussion on how violations in the entertainment district would be enforced. It is expected that if As proposed, businesses that don’t comply with the ordinance would be fined $150 for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses within a year.

Regarding the procurement ordinance as it pertains to the method used for tree replacement in city medians post-Hurricane Irma, one council member has said the city could be paying much less for royal palms and other plantings.

During the July 23 meeting, Councilmember John Gunter took issue with a consent agenda item regarding the planting of royal palms in medians, which ultimately was rejected by the council.

Gunter’s research found that the lowest bidder to plant 114 trees bid $84,820, including $3,600 each for four royal palms. Buying wholesale from the farm, the average total would be $13,090. He also researched past bids approved by Council and said he saw the same results.

While the bidder’s price comes with warranties and professional installation, there is substantial savings to be had, he said.

“I looked at three projects; we could have saved $215,000. We have to ask ourselves if we can plant and warranty those trees for that. I think yes,” said Gunter, who brought his findings to City Manager John Szerlag. “I want to see us get a bigger bang for our buck.”

Mayor Joe Coviello said there are several ways the city can go with this.

“Anything more than $50,000 has to go out for procurement. We’re just not going to get a quote for 114 palm trees. It would be a faster process if we up the amount of dollars to go out and get bids without a procurement being made,” Coviello said. “We can also do a better job at shopping the deal to get better pricing.”

Coviello added he would like to get Cape Coral companies to do the projects. The last procurement bids were submitted by companies from Fort Myers and Miami.

Workshops, or committee of the whole meetings, are not voting meetings, but rather a place where Council can publicly discuss issues before making decisions on them at regular meetings.

The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.