Cape Coral City Council passed one ordinance and two resolutions that came before it for public hearings Monday night. The panel also received an update from DCD Director Vince Cautero on a project of modernization, simplification and correcting inconsistencies in the city's Land Use Development Regulations.
The more pressing resolution that passed 8-0 Monday deals with the city's support of the construction of the C-43 Basin Reservoir project that will help improve the quality of freshwater discharges into the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee.
The resolution approved by council urges Florida Gov. Rick Scott to make the project the highest priority for the use of RESTORE Act Funds. The resolution joins other area communities - Sanibel, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach - impacted by the Lake O freshwater flows. It grew out of last year's devastating discharges that turned the river, passes and even the Gulf of Mexico water off area beaches a tea-stained color that negatively impacted tourism and commercial interests.
The only objection was raised by Councilmember Jim Burch, who asked to add the word construction to the resolution summary paragraph to make it read "... a resolution of the City of Cape Coral urging Governor Rick Scott to make the protection and restoration of the Southwest Florida coast, and in particular, the construction of the C-43 Basin Storage Reservoir in the Caloosahatchee Basin, the highest priority for the use of RESTORE Act Funds."
"The C-43 Reservoir is an important factor in the filtration of nutrients in the discharged flow before it is released down the river," said Burch.
Council agreed and amended the resolution accordingly. It will now be signed and sent with resolutions from the other communities and sent to Gov. Scott.
The 170,000-acre C-43 project, located in Hendry County, is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan approved by Congress. The project is estimated to cost more than $576 million to be shared by state and federal authorities.
Cautero informed council that his department has been making changes in the language of LUDR regulations to make it easier for businesses interacting with the city.
Topics being updated include the Planned Development Project; site plan process; PDP subdivision and plats; schedule of uses and definitions; accessory structures; commercial parking; non-residential design structures for commercial uses; South Cape Zoning district; landscaping; fences; boat canopies; communication towers; and allowances for a hearing examiner.
Council already acted last week on Section 8.10 regarding variances for non-conforming lots of record that are slightly less than the required 10,000 square feet.
"I will be back with specific requests for approval," Cautero concluded.
A second resolution that passed unanimously involved amending the city's Affordable Housing Program policies and procedures to enable the city to negotiate short sales with homeowners and lenders in lieu of foreclosure so the city could recover as much money as possible in the event of a short sale.
Council also passed an ordinance declaring a triangular-shaped parcel that is part of the Eternity Canal right-of-way located at 2103 S.W. 52nd Ave. as unusable and issue a quick claim deed to S&J Development LLC once the grantee has constructed a seawall upon the property.
The parcel is the last of four similar transactions by the city on both sides of the canal bridge along Agualinda Boulevard near the Chiquita Lock. The action also puts the parcel back on the tax roll by deeding it to the adjoining property owner.
Councilmember Burch raised the issue of a high mean tide line associated with the parcel and cast the lone dissenting vote as city staff assured the panel that the Corps of Engineers had not raised the issue in the transfer of the three other parcels in the past.
Council next meets on Monday, Aug. 18, at 4:30 p.m., in Council Chambers at City Hall.