I have emailed the current candidates running for city council seats in the upcoming election and asked them to share their position on the issue of the application made by the investor/developers for a change of Land Use from Parks and Rec to Mixed Use (Commercial, Retail and Multi-Family) of the former Golf Club property. I will post their views under their names below as I receive them.
This past Wednesday the Planning and Zoning Commission gave their endorsement to an ordinance that will make it possible to create a golf resort on the grounds of the former Golf Club. I asked our Department of Community Development in coordination with our City Attorney to create this ordinance to answer the concerns of surrounding property owners. The ordinance is written in such a way that it would guarantee the continuation of a golf course on the current site given a willing buyer, but it will also allow a building of up to ten stories on the site of the former club house. This was done to make the property as economically viable as possible while maintaining the golf course aspect of the property. In short, the property needs a buyer, and this will help make that possible. I have asked the city manager to have someone from staff provide a brief explanation to your organization on the proposed ordinance.
Beyond that, I have seen the proposal from the current owners for the property. A linear park with residential and upscale mixed use is a viable plan B if we cannot find a buyer and are willing to allow those who have failed at one business venture to profit off of another. My thoughts are that the property and surrounding community would best be served by a golf resort given the statements of surrounding property owners. My concerns are that if we cannot find a willing buyer, what happens next?
Thomas W. Hair
Councilmember, District One
City of Cape Coral, Florida
James D. Burch
Thank you for inquiring as to my opinion on this matter. I am opposed to rezoning this property and I believe that the Golf Club was a valuable part of what little historical significance remains in this great city. I spoke at the meeting held at the Realtors Building in Club Square several months ago as a concerned citizen.As you probably know, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, two very good golfers from the PGA tour in the past, tied for the NCAA championship that was held at the Club over 30 years ago. Many actions have taken place on this parcel including the fact that the club house has recently been demolished for whatever reason as obstacles to revitalizing this wonderful championship golf course layout, but it remains my hope that this property will continue to be looked at as the venue for an 18 hole regulation course and I am hoping that the City officials can look into solutions to help facilitate that, if possible. This city is geographically large enough to facilitate two championship courses and the locations of Coral Oaks in the extreme North and the Club in the extreme South are perfectly aligned for co-existence now and as the City grows. We may never have the opportunity to realize this usage again as the prospect of acquiring or consolidating 175 acre parcels seems to be difficult at best. I also question the wisdom of placing that type of development in that area, nestled inside of the existing community. That would not be the worst use of the property but I believe the best use is what as it began, maybe hotel, as it began originally, but definitely golf course.
Jim Burch www.burchforcape.com
First, let me apologize for not responding to your first request.
Second, let me state that I have two basic premises concerning this property. The first is, that the city should not buy it. That's not to say that I would preclude consideration of some public/private venture in the future, depending, of course on the terms of such a venture. My second premise is that the interest of the area's property owners/residents need to be protected.
Whether or not what I understand your goal to be of returning this property to a golf course, potentially coupled with a convention center can be realised depends on several things. One is the economy of our area. That must be revitalized before anything can be expected to be done with this property. Even when that is accomplished (something to which I'm dedicated), a second requirement is to find the right developer/promoter to actually implement such a complex.
At this point in time, I hope that P and Z will turn down the request for a land use change for this area from Parks and Recreation to Mixed Use, and if they don't, I hope the current council will.
The investor/developer's estimates of disposable income in this area (the so called GAP study) may be flawed. With four of Cape Coral's Zip codes being in the top ten list of foreclosure properties in the US, their estimates could be way off. Also, with what the local real estate industry reports as over a ten year supply of condos, based on available units and current demand, anyone proposing to build more condos, in my mind, is nuts.
Finally, let me suggest that it is my understanding that golf course communities where the surrounding property owners have an equity interest in the golf course are generally successful.
As I understand it, that is not the case here, and it is something that might be worthy of pursuit.
Candidate for Cape Coral City Council, District 2
Walter G. Fluegel
Karyn forwarded your email to me, thanks for reaching out to her. Please let me know if I can come and speak to your group.
Although I can't entirely prejudge it because of my role on planning and zoning board and the fact that I'm supposed to hear all of the evidence at public hearing before making a decision, I can tell you that my position on golf course conversions is fairly straight forward, I am generally opposed to the conversion of open space to other more intensive uses. In fact, the City, a few months back had requested a Fire Station be located on a City park over off Pelican and I voted to deny it! Further, I have some history with golf course conversions, as a planner for the City of Plantation I was involved in preparing the City's defense for two lawsuits against the City, where the owner of the Golf Club in Plantation had attempted to convert a portion of the golf course to residential and was denied by the City. Having said that, in this particular instance, should the homeowners around the Golf Club find some common ground with the developer, to provide some limited type of development on the Golf Club while providing for a meaningful dedication of lands to the City for Park purposes, I would keep an open mind, so long as the neighbors are in agreement.
Please feel free to call me to discuss or set up a meeting with your group.
Walter G. Fluegel, AICP Candidate District 2
Director of Planning
Heidt & Associates, Inc.
3800 Colonial Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33966-1075
Dear Ms Neilson:
In 2000 my wife and I moved to Cape Coral from New Jersey . New Jersey, last time I looked is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas, has the densest system of highways in the U.S., has the highest cost of living, highest cost of auto insurance, has the highest property taxes in the nation and North Jersey has the most shopping malls of any area in the world! We escaped that and do not want to see it replicated here.
I do not believe it is in the best interest of our city to change the zoning of the “Golf Club” area so it can fill up with condos and other high density housing, car washes, pizza places, gas stations, pharmacies etc. To do so will stress the environment, the city infrastructure and create congestion as well as other undesirable conditions. I believe it should retain as much green space as possible and yet remain on the tax rolls. I would like to see it become a mini-resort with a pool, golf course and club with associated boutique shops and a small perimeter park serving the resort as well as the community. All of this should be operated by private enterprise. It should generate not only tax revenue to reduce the burden on home owners but serve to attract visitors who spend money here as well as providing amenities for the community as it did in the past.
I believe this may possible if the city and the chamber as well as normal market forces work in concert. We can make the “Golf Club” an attractive investment while preserving the character of the area. I believe it was so in the past and would like to see it become so again.
William P. Deile
Candidate for City Council, Dist 3
M. Lynn Rosko
We have a unique opportunity before us in keeping the Golf Club land use Parks and Recreation. Cape Coral's growth is expected to max out at some 400,000 residents. With that type of growth one has to be cognizant of the future needs for parks and recreation for our residents both present and future. Quality of life in Cape Coral requires as much park land and recreational as possible. This being especially so in the south area of Cape Coral. I will be following this issue closely to insure that this land is put to the best use for Cape Coral residents and not a squandered opportunity.
Candidate Cape Coral Council District 3
Eric D. Grill
I have not reviewed the application for the change yet. When it comes before
P&Z, I will be able to give it a complete review. Without having the
application, it is hard to make a definite decision. I will state that I do
not believe the infrastructure will support increased density at that site.
Obviously, something needs to be done about the property, I am still hopeful
that something can be worked out that protects the surrounding residents yet
still brings a quality project to the City.
Thank you for taking the time to request all of our opinions.
Eric D. Grill
Gloria Z. Baron
Thank you for requesting my input on the application to change the current Land Use of the golf course property from Parks and Recreation to Mixed Use.
I really would like to see the golf course remain as a recreational site. I sympathize with existing property owners whose homes are adjacent to the golf course. The decision to purchase their homes was probably based on the fact that they would always be on the golf course and would be able to enjoy the beauty and spaciousness of the area. However, since the property is privately owned, the owners have the right to apply for the zoning change. In all sincerity, I hope that the City can find a way to negotiate with the golf course property owners to allow the site to remain as a recreational area.
This property is perfectly viable as a golf course. The owners of The
Golf Club simply are not marketing the property at a number that the
private sector is willing to pay.
An analogy for this land change would be that if I over-priced my home
and could find no buyer willing to pay my price then I should be able to
have it rezoned to commercial so that the market would meet my price.
That scenario is as illogical as the attempted rezoning of The Golf
Cape Coral City Council