Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bertolini files to seek re-election for Cape Coral council seat

By Brian Liberatore • • May 30, 2009

Cape Coral Councilwoman Dolores Bertolini said she needs at least one more term to finish what she started.

The first-term councilwoman took the first step Friday toward her re-election in November, filing with the City Clerk to run for a second four-year term in District 4.

"I have accomplished a lot," Bertolini said. "But there are several things I'd like to see through completion."

Bertolini, 75, has taken the lead on negotiations with developers looking to build a world-class swim facility in north Cape Coral and is pushing to turn over the defunct The Golf Club in the southeast to public hands. She helped write new codes that set higher architectural design standards on new construction and is working on similar codes to govern the city's landscaping.

No one has announced intentions to run against Bertolini. The deadline is July 6.

Scott Hertz, an area builder and active member of the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, worked with Bertolini on the new design standards.

"She's been very reasonable," Hertz said. "She does what she says. I think that's very important, and I have a lot of respect for that."

Bertolini, a New York City native, has lived in Cape Coral since 1986.

She served on dozens of volunteer boards and organizations in the city before her 2005 run.

With the city facing a $33 million shortfall in next year's operating budget, City Council is facing decisions about cutting services or raising taxes which could affect the November election.

"You have to first determine what's best for the entire city and you have to forget about what's politically expedient," Bertolini said.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cape Coral City Council makes decision on land-use changes

News Press May 21,2009

As expected, the City Council Wednesday shot down a request to change what’s allowed on the 175-acre golf course in the southeast Cape. The former Golf Club has been shuttered for nearly three years, and owners of the course were attempting to change the land use on the property paving the way for mixed-use development.

Officials from Florida Gulf Ventures, LLC, who own the course, deemed the move a backup plan should negotiations fall through to bring the course under city control. The Community Redevelopment Agency – a pseudo governmental organization – is in negotiations with the course’s owners to purchase the course. Both parties are now waiting for an appraiser to set a price.

Council denies land use change for Golf Club

Land owners seek backup plan


The plans of Florida Gulf Ventures, owners of The Golf Club who were taking a mulligan on a land use change proposal, fell into a sand trap Wednesday when the proposal was unanimously denied by the Cape Coral City Council.

Despite ongoing negotiations with the Trust for Public Lands and the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency to sell the property, Florida Gulf Ventures representatives said they needed to switch the land use designation of the 175-acre parcel in the southeast from parks and recreation to mixed use as a backup plan.

"We are here today because this is our only opportunity this year to ask for a change this year," said Brian Carlson, a representative for Ryan Companies, the parent company of Florida Gulf Ventures.

Economic analysts with Florida Gulf Ventures said the golf course is not profitable, nor could any structure under the current land use designation be profitable.

"There's simply no evidence that the golf course has ever operated as an economically feasible business venture," economist Dr. Hank Fishkind said. "It just wasn't designed to be one that would attract large amounts of play."

The CRA, which is attempting to purchase the golf course using the nonprofit TPL as an intermediary buyer with the intent of preserving it as a course, disputes that conclusion, despite the harsh economic times.

"I would respectfully disagree with Dr. Fishkind's analysis. From the analyses that have been prepared for us, it doesn't work out that way. We see it as a plus," CRA executive director John Jacobsen said.

The golf course has been left unkempt for the past two years after Florida Gulf Ventures shut it down after determining it is not profitable.

Carlson warned the property needs to be developed should negotiations with the TPL and CRA fall through.

"To date the TPL and the CRA have not come to a deal yet. If the CRA is not successful, we've got to do something with this site - we can't let it sit forever," he said.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mixed Use application DENIED

Hello All,

The application for mixed use was unanimously DENIED by our city council and mayor tonight.

Save Our Recreation must now offer our full support to the Trust for Public Lands who are in negotiations with Florida Gulf Ventures to buy the property and the CRA who will eventually bring back an 18 hole golf course with amenities.

The next meeting coming up will be June 8th where the city council will hear the results of the 'finding of necessity'. I'll send an email blast to confirm in a couple weeks.

Thanks to everyone able to make the meeting tonight and for those who were unable, see you next time.



Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Please Attend Special Council Meeting Wednesday, May 20th

I urge you all to attend this meeting to be held at City Hall. Florida Gulf Ventures mixed land use ordinance will be heard before council. To date city staff recommended denial to planning & zoning and planning & zoning voted to recommend denial when it goes before council at this special meeting that hears only large tract changes. Please contact your neighbors and friends. We want a large showing of opposition.

Please remember to be respectful to the council and applicant. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to Save The Golf Course.

Where: City Hall Council Chambers

Date: Wednesday, May 20th (special meeting)

Time: 5:30