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Mandatory rental list for the Cape?

By Staff | Nov 26, 2019

Cape Coral’s trash collection issues could result in the mandatory registration of all rental properties within the city.

A planned ordinance to require all owners of rental properties to register with the city received support from the Cape Coral City Council Monday during a bulk waste collection presentation by Code Compliance Division Manager Rich Carr.

Carr said registering rental properties would allow his department “to do better enforcement.”

He also said such a program would initiate “better communication” with property owners.

The subject of requiring a rental list was laid out by Carr on a slide to the council titled “proposed bulk trash changes to contract and city code.”

The council currently is weighing whether to change its bulk collection methods by either establishing a bulk pick-up day, set up waste transfer stations, setting a 48-hour windows for bulk waste to be removed. For example, the city could fine homeowners who don’t remove trash within 48 hours. There was some confusion between the council and staff over the methods of collection by Waste Pro, which contracts with the city to pick up bulk trash. Mayor Joe Coviello suggested re-working the city’s contract with the company so that bulk trash pickup included all trash, which could potentially change the fees charged to residents. Welsh suggested that the city consider scaling back its involvement in collecting trash.

Carr said “the rental registration may help us identify” in single-family neighborhoods where the city’s waste collection costs are situated. There was no discussion as to how the registration would work.

Coviello said that by registering rental properties, the city could take additional action against properties where “tremendous piles” of bulk trash was being found and the invoiced amount not being paid.

In a separate discussion at the meeting regarding a plan to ban parking on the grass, some of the reasons cited by staff for cars being parked on the grass are “multi-generational households with several vehicles” and “unrelated persons (each with a vehicle) sharing housing arrangements — related to the cost of housing or rents.”

Following the meeting, Carr said a rental registration list would allow the city to “educate them on relevant ordinances.” He said a rental registration list would give the city local contacts to deal with instead of sending out certified mailings to owners who may live in other states or countries.

“We want to have an established communication line,” Carr said. “It will ultimately benefit them.”

Food trucks

On a night of lengthy debate, food trucks became the source of divide on the council.

Councilmember John Gunter expressed concern about how they would impact “brick-and-mortar” businesses. He said food trucks should be kept a certain amount of distance from established restaurants situated in buildings.

“They are taking business away from them,” he said.

Councilmember Rick Williams disagreed.

“I don’t have a problem with food trucks at all. I like food and if I can be driving down the road and have a selection of different foods I would like that. I don’t know if I agree with the competition with the bricks and mortar restaurants,” Williams said. “The brick-and- mortar restaurant could have put in a truck.”

— Micro cottages

Another topic of discussion was micro cottages. Councilmember Jennifer Nelson believes they will benefit the city.

“We need to have more generational housing,” she said.

Nelson said such housing would particularly help older people and veterans with affordable rents.

Williams said micro cottages could help provide “inexpensive housing to people who need it. Newlyweds especially.”

Williams said they should be limited to an enclave of the city, however.

Councilmember John Gunter said he opposed the micro cottages concept believing they would change the “aesthetics” of the community.

“It could be detrimental,” he said.

Councilmember John Carioscia also opposed the cottages.

“What’s next? Trailers and tent cities?” he said.

Councilmember Lois Welsh followed up that thought by noting the city has a trailer park.

No action was taken on any of the items. They are expected to be brought back up again by the council at a future meeting.