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Cape looks for share of half-cent school tax

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Jun 15, 2021

The city of Cape Coral’s municipal charter school system would like a portion of the half-cent tax voters approved for schools.

One of the things expected to be discussed at Wednesday’s Cape Coral City Council meeting is a request by the Cape Coral Charter School Authority Board for proceeds from the tax approved in November 2018. The levy is for a 10-year period to help raise money for the construction and renovation of schools, school safety initiatives, much-needed maintenance at schools and technology projects.

The Charter School Authority is requesting that Council ask for a portion of the money to fund maintenance and technology projects at its charter schools.

The Cape Coral Charter Schools have been very successful academically. The two elementary schools (Oasis South and Oasis North) ranked first and second in the district while Oasis Middle ranked fourth in 2019.

Oasis High School has a 99 percent graduation rate and is recognized in the Top 300 Schools Index American Registry based on test performance on SAT, ACT and AICE exams.

All schools have received an “A” rating for the past three years.

In other business:

n The city will also get an update regarding water quality, which will become a weekly occurrence as the summer progresses and the possible threat of blue-green algae increases.

According to a memo from public works to City Manager Rob Hernandez, water releases from Lake Okeechobee have been reduced by half since the spring, down to 1,000 cubic feet per second to allow saltwater to migrate up the river to perhaps mitigate the possibility of algal blooms.

Blooms have been detected in Lee County at the Alva and Davis boat ramps, as well as the Franklin Lock. The Florida Department of Health issued health alerts for those areas on May 20 and 21, respectively. Those alerts continued as of Tuesday morning.

n There will also be a pair of second and final public hearings. One ordinance would prohibit storage uses on sites zoned Agricultural and would affect only Agriculturally zoned properties that are primarily located along the Burnt Store Road Corridor.

According to a city memo, because of the area and location of these sites, these properties represent important economic development opportunities. To better protect the long-term economic development potential of these sites, staff recommends that this use be eliminated.

The Community Development Department and the Office of Economic Development recommended approval. However, Planning & Zoning recommends denial because of concerns over how the proposed ordinance would affect existing agricultural uses.

A second ordinance seeks to protect large sites (over 200 feet in width) with Commercial Corridor zoning with frontage along Pine Island Road for commercial uses by requiring new multi-family development to be set back 250 feet or more from the front property line.

According to another memo to Council, “while additional multi-family units are needed, they do not require sites with high visibility like many commercial establishments.

n Council will is expected to decide on an ordinance put forth by the Cape Coral Police Department prohibiting dangerous uses of public roads and rights-of-way within city limits, such as panhandling.

The meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.