Friday, February 07, 2014

February 5th City of Cape Coral Committee of the Whole

Among the items discussed by Council at the COW (Committee of the Whole) on Feb. 5 was the Golf Course Parcel as requested by Councilmember Burch.  As might be expected, there was a wide variety of opinions and attitudes with Councilmember Burch firmly in support of the City acquiring the property from the present owner and maintaining the future land use of Parks and Recreation.  The sense of the Committee was that the best plan was to leave all negotiation with the owner's representative to the City Manager.  The fact does remain that any policy action will be by Council and the individual members need to have done due diligence with regard to the following items.

1.   As the City Manager has pointed out, this matter is a series of crossing bridges one at a time.  The first bridge is a clear expression of interest in acquiring the property.  This ties into the needs of the City to be in accord with the Future Land Use Element and the Recreation and Open Space Element of the Comprehensive Plan.

2.   In considering the various possibilities of financing the members of Council need to be fully informed as to the possibility of utilizing the services of The Trust for Public Lands.  In the discussion the possibility was even mentioned that the owner might be able to donate the land to the City for a tax advantage.  Such "out of the box" thinking is how some creative deals originate and should not be ignored.

3.   Before the City Council assumed the duties of the Board of Commissioners of the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency), the previous CRA Staff investigated the possibilities of out-sourcing the operation of a golf course coupled with a business venture for this property.  Those records should now be available through the office of the current Executive Director/City Manager.

4.   As long as the property remains for sale, the City should maintain active in trying to acquire it.