Wednesday, April 06, 2016
As many of you know there is activity on the old golf course. Here is an update.
What we know:
We understand that DR Horton has a signed offer to purchase to buy the golf course from the current owners. The offer is contingent on getting appropriate land use designation changes. Currently the land use is parks and recreation. There may be other contingencies as well. DR Horton met with me and several concerned neighbors and other opponents and indicated that they are proceeding through their due diligence process and plan to meet with city council members soon. They are doing design work and don’t have final plans but did indicate that there would be around 600 homes. There could be a mix of single family homes, connected town homes (shared wall duplex or bigger), and low rise condos (two story or lower). Lot sizes are likely 40’. They are talking about moving the ponds/lakes. They know there are storm water, utility and traffic issues and say those would be addressed in the approval process. There is nothing filed by them yet and they did not give us a timeline. They said they would meet with us again when they have more detail, but not necessarily before they file anything with the city for approvals and/or land use designation changes.
What you can do:
First, stay alert to future messages. Although there is nothing for us to address as an organized group yet at a city council meeting, that time may come and I will send out an email blast asking for you to show up when, and if, that time comes. Of course, if you feel you want to address council now at the public forum portion of the meeting feel free to do so.
Second, email or write the council and urge them to maintain the current parks and recreation land use designation. Let them know that you oppose the DR Horton development.
Third, spread the word. Let friends and neighbors know by forwarding this message and talking to them. It would be great to include people from outside the neighborhood.
Fourth, be respectful in your communications. We want to be heard, but we also want to be listened to.
What should we say:
First, you should say what you believe is appropriate. However, a group of concerned citizens have put together a short list of talking points (see below). Feel free to use these as a guide when communicating on this issue. The more consistent our message, hopefully the better it will be heard.
The current park and recreation land use should be maintained for the following reasons:
1. This piece of property is part of the history of Cape Coral and is the only large green space remaining in the Southeast Cape. There are no more opportunities in this part of the city to have a destination green space. The recent 2016 Cape Coral Parks and Recreation workshops/survey showed that there is considerable support to keep this land in the Parks and Recreation department’s future plans.
2. As city leaders we strongly encourage you to look at the big picture and long term benefits to the city. We are doing a great job making the Southeast Cape more of a destination for locals and visitors alike. A destination green space would be a much better long-term benefit than more single-family homes. Many of our residents have to go outside of Cape Coral for recreational pursuits.
3. There are serious issues that would have to be addressed if developed including a) utility infrastructure, b) impact on protected wildlife (for example, nesting bald eagles), c) storm water impacts as this property, including its lakes, are a key part of the storm water collection system for this area, and d) traffic impacts from a single access point at the old golf course clubhouse.
4. The city can and should purchase this property or work with private resources to do so. Creative solutions need to be found. Options could include CRA funding, 20/20 funds and public private partnerships (particularly in connection with the Bimini project).
If you are not on my email list and got this message from someone else, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get added to the list. Thanks for your support!