On the Agenda: Cape Coral City Council Meeting Preview (Jan. 23)

Submitted by Jeff Koehn

The city council returns from its holiday hiatus for its first meeting of 2017 this afternoon.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 4:30pm in Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral. The meeting is open to the public.

Below are details on some of the items scheduled for discussion and possible vote, as well as the full meeting agenda.

Council to decide on Bimini Basin Project Manager hire

The city continues to move forward on the Bimini Basin redevelopment project Monday when the city council will decide whether or not to hire a project manager for the initiative.

In a resolution set to be presented at the meeting, City Manager John Szerlag is recommending the hiring of Pompano Beach firm Redevelopment Management Associates, LLC.

The recommendation comes after an internal evaluation committee interviewed representatives from Redevelopment Management Associates and VCF Florida P3 Solutions, LLC of Fort Myers.

The two firms were the respondents of the city’s Request for Proposal regarding the project manager position.

If the city council approves the committee’s recommendation, Redevelopment Management Associates will be tasked with developing both public and private partnerships related to the project, as well as implement specific design concepts and construction projects in the Bimini Basin area.

The budgeted cost for the hire is $138,000, which includes a city controlled 15% contingency.

New convenience store proposed for busy intersection

A Circle K could be coming to the corner of Veterans Parkway and Country Club Boulevard.

If approved, the convenience store will be located at the southwest corner of the busy intersection and will feature a nearly 5,000 square foot store and canopied gas pumps that will allow up to 16 vehicles to refuel at the same time.

Developers are also proposing a wall on the northern side of the location that they say will add to the aesthetics of the property.

The City’s Hearing Examiner and planning division have both recommended approval of the project. City staff is recommending a few conditions. Limits on lighting and LED signs, restriction on delivery hours, a requirement of additional trees and shrubs on the east and south property lines to better shield surrounding properties are among the city staff’s conditions for approval of the project.

According to the city, they have been contacted by six residents via email and letters with five citizens against the project and one in support. In addition, four residents spoke out against the project at recent meetings.

If approved, the new Circle K will be the forty-sixth convenience store with gas pumps located within the Cape Coral city limits.

LGBTQ protection ordinance to be discussed

A proposed ordinance that will prohibit the city from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression for its employees will be considered by the city council at Monday’s meeting.

The ordinance is being presented by council member Jessica Cosden, who says that while there are federal laws in place making “sex” a protected class, the same cannot be said for sexual orientation or gender identity, which is left up to interpretation by the courts.

Cosden says that while many court cases have ruled that sexual orientation or gender identity falls under the “sex” classification, not every court has ruled that way, which is why it is the duty of Cape Coral’s elected leaders to ensure that protection is clear for all city employees.

Firm narrows down City Auditor candidates

Recruiting firm The Mercer Group, Inc. has narrowed down the candidates to replace City Auditor Margaret Krym to nine.

The city hired the firm to carry out finding Krym’s replacement after she announced her retirement in October.

After an extensive search, representatives from The Mercer Group will present the nine candidates to the city council at Monday’s meeting, they feel are best to fill the position.

In their presentation, The Mercer Group has broken down the applicants in two tiers with the top tier being the most attractive according to the firm to replace Krym. There are six candidates in tier one and three candidates in tier two.

The city hopes to have a final decision on Krym’s replacement before her last day at City Hall which is set for February 28.