Cape Coral City Council had a lot of questions to ask the owner of a boat dealership that wanted to put a fuel pump at his business at Del Prado Boulevard and Southeast 46th Lane.
After some assurances and a few concessions, though, council unanimously overturned a decision by the Planning & Zoning Commission in June and allowed Jim Figuerado to install a fuel pump at his business at 1531 S.E. 46th Lane.
Figuerado will have to scale down his plans. The proposed 2,500 gallon fuel tank was reduced to 1,500 gallons. He must provide a device to eliminate any possibility of spillage into the canal and have someone qualified to dispense the fuel. The approval also includes required fencing and setbacks and bollards around the perimeter of the pump. Hours of operation will be limited to between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
"We worked with them and they worked with us and we're satisfied with the decision," Figuerado said. "We had to give them peace of mind from a safety aspect. It gave them comfort and if we didn't compromise, it would've been a different answer."
Councilmember Marty McClain was least assured and made a motion to uphold the P&Z's original ruling, worried about the possibility of tank puncture and aesthetics. But as the quasi-judicial hearing went on, he slowly came around to approval.
Councilmmber Chris Chulakes-Leetz asked if Figuerado might reduce the tank size. Figuerado agreed, saying that he wanted a larger tank so he would get gas at a cheaper rate, that smaller deliveries take longer, and it would end the rash of five-gallon containers that come into his place, which increases the chance of contamination of the water.
Figuerado said all gas would be dispensed by a staff member, which he said was a condition for him to get insurance, and that the double-walled tank stood little chance of rupturing or leaking.
The smaller tank would also make the area more aesthetically pleasing, since it would no longer stick out above the top of the six-foot vinyl fence and all the boats on the lot would hide the area fairly well.
"I have no problem with downsizing the tank. If this gets done, I can see the other marinas asking for larger tanks, too," Councilmember Lenny Nesta said.
That didn't stop council from ruling to overturn the P&Z ruling and allaying McClain's concerns.
"As long as all of the standards are met because it's right on the water. Today's technology offers a better product than what's across the canal," McClain said, adding he agrees the ruling could result in other places possibly asking for similar tanks.
"It's difficult to reject them if they're willing to accept the criteria. That would set the stage for it," McClain said. "Accessibility to purchase fuel is a good idea because the city doesn't have anywhere where you can purchase gas."