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Council set for meeting twinbill Wednesday

Before regular meeting, city board to hear from Rep. Donalds

By CHUCK BALLARO - | May 4, 2021

The Cape Coral City Council will have not one, but two meetings Wednesday, the first beginning at 3 p.m. in council chambers.

The 3 p.m. special meeting will feature a legislative update from U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds who will speak to council about what’s going on in Washington and how actions may affect the city and Lee County as a whole.

The special meeting is open to the public however, due to time constraints, there will be no citizens input and no questions from residents are expected to be taken.

The hour-long meeting will precede the regularly scheduled council meeting at 4:30 p.m., where the agenda includes several key issues.

Among them is the return of the Judd Creek project, this time in a highly amended form.

Last month, city staff withdrew an ordinance that would have removed the Judd Creek Sub-District from the city’s comprehensive plan.

The proposed amendment will include changes to the Judd Creek Sub-District rather than the previously proposed elimination, and would permit multi-family residential uses to be constructed in the Pine Island Road District part of the sub-district.

This area comprises the northeast part of the district and includes the existing RaceTrac gas station. The overall number of units and commercial square footage caps would not be affected, and would remain at 1,170 units and 250,000 square feet, respectively.

In 2003, the city annexed the Judd Creek area into Cape Coral. Last year, a text amendment was transmitted to the state for review.

However, that ordinance created concerns regarding the proposed deletion of the sub-district, namely the loss of the codified development cap in the Comprehensive Plan. It was withdrawn and new language was drafted in the new ordinance.

Council also is expected to decide whether to allow dogs into certain outdoor areas of food service establishments.

Dogs had been allowed in outdoor dining spaces since an ordinance was passed by council in 2011. However, in 2019, the city adopted the new Land Development Code and the Dogs in Food Establishment provisions were omitted.

This effectively made any city food establishment permitting dogs in dining areas in violation of the Food and Drug Administration Food Code and subject to a $500 fine.

Ordinance 25-21 re-establishes the ability of food establishments to allow dogs in outside areas with a permit. There is also a companion resolution establishing an application fee for an outdoor dog dining permit to allow patrons’ dogs.

There also will be three consent agenda items that could generate some interest. There will be an amendment proposed to the City Council Rules of Procedure concerning decorum brought forth by Mayor John Gunter; a settlement agreement in the case of the Matlacha Civic Association and the city; and in an addendum, ratification of an emergency purchase of a Grappler Truck, authorizing the use of unassigned fund balances, if needed.

The Public Works Department is collecting yard waste from residential houses throughout the city due to a labor shortage experienced by the contracted solid waste hauler.

The city crews are utilizing various assets to collect this waste. The most efficient asset utilized is a Grappler truck. It can store the most volume and requires the least amount of hand work clearing debris.

Public Works only has one existing grapple truck in the current fleet, and they do not have any reserve assets to replace it if the vehicle malfunctions.