At their first full meeting, Cape Coral's new city council got a lot accomplished Monday, including setting up a new zoning district designed to bring large industrial and commercial businesses to the north Cape.
The new High Intensity Commercial Industrial District will provide for intense non-residential development north of Pine Island Road. All development north of that area must go through the PDP process.
No dwellings will be permitted, and the minimum development area is 10 acres, 30 percent of which must be kept as open space.
Perhaps the most action came during public comment, when several residents from the Lake Kennedy area came forward to voice their complaints over the lack of meetings between the neighborhood associations in the area and the kayak club over their lease and proposed training facility.
"Meetings were expected to be held, but not before the holiday. It's like the city hasn't offered anything but token meetings," said one resident. "My daughter asked to be part of the committee, but was told if she could not be at all the meetings, she can't be part of the committee."
The previous council tabled an ordinance during its last full meeting on Nov. 4 that would have allowed the kayak club to lease a house on Lake Kennedy for $10 per year and turn the area around there into a year-round training facility.
Neighbors balked at the idea, saying those who bought property there to be around the lake would be infringed upon, especially those who own motorboats.
Parks and Recs Director Steve Pohlman suggested the legislation be pushed back to Dec. 16, the last meeting before winter hiatus, to give both sides a chance to meet.
Councilmember Rick Williams said he wanted to "drive a nail in it" by then, since it would give the kayak club time to decide its next move if the facility and lease are rejected.
Councilmember Lenny Nesta still showed strong support for the proposed training facility.
"This will put the city on the map and bring children in. I don't think residents would have a problem with kids paddling along the seawall," Nesta said.
The city also approved an amendment to the city's operating budget that increases expenditures and revenues by $88.92 million, the vast amount coming from the Southwest 6 & 7 utilities expansion project.
There also was a presentation concerning the annual investment report for the city, which showed the city earned more than $1.5 million in interest earnings for the fiscal year, with its investments surpassing benchmark performance, according to Steve Alexander of PFM Asset Management.
However, Councilmember Jim Burch was concerned by the city's use of low risk securities for its investments, with their rather low return as opposed to the stock market, which has seen a fast steady climb over the last four-plus years.
"The stock market had a great year and we rely entirely on bonds and the bond market isn't going to get better soon," Burch said.
The city also passed a resolution to approve purchases of budgeted equipment and vehicle assets within the city's funds, and a resolution to adopt financial management policies for the city relating to the management of its operating budget, debt management, financial planning and economic resources.