Monday, October 31, 2011



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update Code Compliance

Good Afternoon Mrs. Neilson

I thought you might appreciate the latest update regarding the blighted Golf Course. Please pass this information on to those that might be interested.

Thank You

Chris Chulakes-Leetz
Dist 4

From: Frank Cassidy
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 9:46 AM
To: Chris Chulakes-Leetz
Cc: Paul B. Dickson
Subject: Golf Course Property

Good morning.

Please accept this as an update on the golf course and the mowing:

• We held a hearing in September and the owners were found “guilty” and given until October to mow the property or develop a plan of action or they will face a $500.00 per day fine;

• The owners contacted the City immediately after the hearing to discuss a plan to address the concerns of the city regarding health and safety issues;

• Code Officer met with the property owners and the mowers and toured the property on October 4th outlining the plan:

o Mowers will begin to cut the area the first week of November.

o The dead grass will be bundled and removed to prevent it from laying on the property and creating a hazard.

• Per discussions the agreement is as follows:

o As soon as the perimeter of the property and drainage areas have sufficiently dried out from the rainy season, a 50ft buffer zone will be cut and maintained to lessen the fire hazard to the surrounding buildings.

o The intention is to have no less than two (2) mowings depending on growth rates.

o During the dry season, the course conditions shall be monitored and more frequent and extended mowing areas may result.

o FGV property officials intend to stay in communication and to cooperate with Code and Fire Officials.

We will continue to monitor the property and take every effort to ensure the owners are complying with this agreement.

If you have questions or need additional information please let me know.

Thank you,

Frank Cassidy, CEP
City of Cape Coral
Code Compliance Division Manager
Ph# (239) 574- 0684

Please Note: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from officials regarding City business, are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your email communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Golf Club Mowing Continued

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 18:17:05 +0000

Good afternoon Mr. Hutcherson. I was able to speak with Off. Foley today and I found that the Special Magistrate found the owners of the golf course guilty of not maintaining their property. They were given 10 days to correct the violation (mow all of the acreage) or a lien will be recorded against the property with a $500.00 per day running fine. A compliance hearing will be held in the near future to see if they have complied with the Special Magistrate’s order.

I hope this information is helpful. If you need anything else please contact me at your earliest convenience.

With best regards,


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Golf Club Mowing Update

Below is an email response from Cape Coral code compliance to an inquiry about the overgrowth.

Hello Mr. Hutcherson. Officer Foley is correct in that we have been informed by the managing partners of the old golf course property that they do not intend to continue mowing their property.

As such we have sent them a Notice of Hearing as we intend to prosecute the owners at a Code Board hearing on September 15, 2011. Should they be found to be in violation of city ordinances the Special Magistrate will give them a short time to bring the property into compliance. If they fail to do so at that point a compliance hearing will be held and a lien will be ordered against the property by the Special Magistrate.

The City would have the option of mowing the property at that point and the accumulating costs would be included in the lien for eventual payment to the City for expended costs. Unfortunately the Code Enforcement Division does not have the large amount of money that it will take to mow 150+ acres for even one mowing much less 6 times per year. We are exploring all options available to us at this time.

We are disappointed that the owners of this property have decided to stop mowing their property. Once a lien is recorded against the property this places a cloud on the title that makes it difficult to sell the property. Hopefully the owners will reconsider their position once we obtain a guilty finding at the hearing.

I realize however that this will not be a quick solution for you and the neighboring properties. The need for government to be regulated in enforcement actions by the due process requirements and the protection of individual property rights makes for a cumbersome process. In the end I am confident that there will be a successful resolution.

I hope this information is helpful to you and I am sure it is not the answer you were hoping for as to a quick resolution. If you need any other information or would like to contact me please give me a call or send me an email at your earliest convenience.

With best regards,


Michael J. van Deutekom

Section Manager

Code Compliance Division

City of Cape Coral

(239) 242-3787

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Over time, one-time city gem has lost its luster

by, DREW WINCHESTER, The Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral's first golf course is still mired in litigation, sitting overgrown and unused as it reached its 50th birthday on Friday.

The lawsuit is currently In the discovery phase, according to Community Redevelopment Agency Attorney Bob Pritt, who said there likely will be little movement until next year, when the matter could be solved through mediation.

Should mediation fail, then the issue will head to a court room.

"It's a wild guess at best, but if there was a trial it would be sometime after the first of the year," Pritt said.

Florida Gulf Venture LLC, a part of the Minneapolis based Ryan Companies, brought the inverse condemnation case against the City of Cape Coral several years ago, according to Michael Ciccarone, the attorney representing Florida Gulf Venture, because the city denied them a "reasonable economic" use of the property by failing to grant the necessary land use regulation changes.

Ciccarone said Florida Gulf Venture's original intent was to install residential, office and commercial components on the site.

"The plans all along were to convert the property from a golf course to a mixed use development of fairly low intensity," he said.

The golf course was once a featured amenity for both Gulf American Corporation, and eventually the city, after incorporation. Its been unused for roughly four years, but it was once a very important cog in the Rosen Brother's vision for their burgeoning development.

Used in conjunction with the Yacht Club, the Golf Course was a sales tool wielded by the Rosen Brothers and their people to convince potential buyers that Cape Coral - or what would become Cape Coral - was a place where the Florida dream was not only real, but achievable.

It started as a nine-hole course in 1962, but eventually became an 18-hole championship course by 1967 that bloomed into a full-blown country club, boasting a 100- room hotel, club house, tennis facilities and a pool.

A former salesman for the Rosen Brothers, city historian Paul Sanborn, would eventually become the first manager of the country club, serving in that role nearly two years.

"It was a showplace of the area," Sanborn said. "It was the most outstanding club between Tampa and Miami and it had all the amenities one would expect. It was a place not only for the locals, but it also really helped to sell properties."

The country club quickly became the defacto hot-spot in the Cape, not only for golf but for the night life, too, where locals could be found wining and dining in the restaurant and the deck overlooking the course.

The course was also the first in Florida to host the NCAA golf championship in 1972, according to Sanborn. And future PGA stars Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite were among the rising stars to walk its greens.

"It was a championship golf course, always kept in magnificent condition," Sanborn added.

The course now grows wild, unkempt. Although it's bordered by homes and condominiums, and the outline of once pristine greens are noticeable, it looks more like the Florida backwoods than a championship course in the middle of a city of nearly 160,000, where police officers have had to run off homeless squatters looking for shelter amid its overgrowth.

It's a far cry from the days when former City Council woman and Realtor Gloria Tate spent countless hours with her family at the country club; back when four of them were club champions, when the country club hosted four of the Tate children's weddings, when their own children eventually decided to tie the knot in the country club's facilities.

Tate compared the club to what Tarpon Pointe has become today, a sort of catch-all facility that hosts a lot of public and private functions.

"It was an integral part of this city's history. We gathered there for all types of family functions," Tate said. "Everything was centered around there. Families celebrated weddings, they celebrated life ... you could celebrate everything."

Both Tate and Sanborn would like to see the old country club resurrected in some form.

Maybe not a full 18-hole course, but they would both like to see some of the old components come back, whether it be the club house and banquet facility, or the hotel, or the pool.

Maybe all of the above.

Cape Councilman Marty McClain, whose district encompasses the golf course, thinks that for the property to return to its once illustrious days it will likely have to combine a number of amenities other than golf.

McClain said the golf course could become part of a very special "synergy" in the CRA, that includes using the Yacht Club and the new Four Freedoms sunning beach to attract people to stay, and play, in Cape Coral's downtown.

With the golf course again viable, the Yacht Club running boats to the county's islands and kayak rentals at the newly christened Four Freedoms Beach, McClain thinks downtown would be a good place to be.

"People like those kinds of destinations," McClain said, adding, "People really need to start envisioning how to utilize what we have, how to offer things for the whole family ... once a single positive thing happens, other positive things tend to follow."

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz could not be reached for comment.