Sunday, October 08, 2017

Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife Candidate Forum // Tuesday Night at 7:00

Dear Friends,

I am so thrilled to tell you that we have heard from several potential primary-winning candidates (at that point, of course, the Primaries will be over and the actual final running mates will be known) indicating that they will be attending our Candidates Forum. This may be one of the only events where you will hear exactly what the hopefuls are thinking regarding Cape Coral's environment and other timely issues such as the widespread and extremely concerning seawall damage and street flooding.

Mayoral Candidate Joe Coviello actually asked the sponsor of another event on the same evening to alter his conflicting debate start time. The other person agreed! He; along with hopefuls John Gunther, Richard Leon, Jennifer Nelson and James Foraker have confirmed that they will attend.

If you only ever attend one meeting of the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, this would be the one. Pressing issues such as conservation of green space and parks and recreational land, discharges from Okeechobee and all water management concerns, contractors/homeowners and the Burrowing Owl, etc. Please come with questions about any topics that you care about. 

In the meantime, I urge you to consult past and current issues of local papers such as The Breeze or News Press
to gain some background knowledge of the candidates and their views. 

The Candidates Forum will be held on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at the Rotary Park Environmental Center at 7:00 p.m. Address:  5505 Rose Garden Drive, Cape Coral

Please come early, we are anticipating a large audience.

Sincerely,

Lori Haus-Bulcock
Corresponding Secretary
Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife

Golf course property positions. District 6 Rick Williams and John Karcher

Rick Williams
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I'm sorry for the late response.  I needed to get information from our legal department. Although your request of the candidates is OK and will be helpful to your followers, as a sitting Council Member, my rules are a little different.  Soliciting my intended vote and then openly posting it can be an issue with the Sunshine laws. This could be construed as Daisy Chaining.  Although I am pretty secure in my position on this issue, my final decision will be made during our vote at the hearing.  Regards, Rick Williams

 (Update...... At a Monday night council meeting in August, Councilmember Rick Williams voted 'NOT' to transmit to the state for a land use change along with councilmembers Jim Burch, John Carioscia and Mayor Marni Sawicki. 

Those voting in favor of a land use change for residential development were,  Councilmembers Richard Leon, Rana Erbrick, Marilyn Stout and Jessica Cosden). 

John Karcher

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I would vote NO.   Keep it Residential / Parks as it is today.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
The home owners were made a promise when they bought on the golf course and paid a higher price for the lots. I would like to see public / private partnerships to look into ideas that can be a win/ win for the city and all residents.  The Council needs to do a better job listening to the residents.

Thoughts on what may work there:

Let’s keep it so all of Cape Coral can enjoy it.
1. How about a nature park, and look for a private / public partnership to put in the nature park.  It could start small and house all animals found in Florida. They could also  rehabilitate injured animals. Use some of the lakes to teach children about canoeing and kayaking and basis water safety. These uses would hold down traffic and would be quite at night. Surround the area with bike and walk lanes in a well landscaped manor. Parking for the Nature Park could be inside and buffered from the view from the homes.
What if every property owned facing the property was to buy a lot across the street from their home. That would further buffer the area as lots are 120 ft. deep and would push back whatever goes there further from the homes? Rather than have to come up with the cash maybe it could be spread out in the tax bill.
2. Let’s build a park with bike & walk lanes with the exterior well buffered from the homes. Inside could be parking with a band shell like Centennial Park, in Ft Myers Include picnic. tables, a wooded walking trail. Add a food vendor to handle events at the park.
3. Form a committee to approach Horton to again consider a land swap in the NW or NE. Include residents from all 3 areas, along with the city so stake holders are involved with the discussions.  The NW wants smart growth. Let’s make these homes more mid to high price point vs express homes. A gated community likes Sandoval with 2 exits and entrances from the soon to be widened Burnt Store Rd.  Get the UEP started on Burnt Store rd. , draw some new business to the new commercial corridor now.
4. Form a committee and brain storm to discuss what we don’t have in Cape Coral and what would draw people from all areas of the city. The money would come from a public / private partnership.

Golf Course property positions. District 5 David Stokes and James Scneider

David Stokes
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Both the Tetra Tech assessment summary and the response from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reference very high levels of arsenic at the old golf course property. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection report states “In addition, the GTCL for arsenic is the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Arsenic concentrations in exceedance of the MCL require action to protect human health and the environment. Therefore, the arsenic plume at CCGC requires delineation and implementation of a protective control to restrict the use of contaminated groundwater. The arsenic GCTL is based on total metals.”
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection goes on to state “The tables and figures indicate composite sampling was conducted. The accepted method for collecting composite samples is the Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM). ISM requires compositing of 30 samples, within the decision unit and at the same depth interval, to make one representative soil sample. By rule, this must be performed 2 more times resulting in three composite sample results to use in the 95% Upper Confidence Limit (95 UCL) calculation. If ISM will be used for future sampling, please refer to Incremental Sampling Methodology guidance published by the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) for a detailed description of the method and its requirements.”
From the FDEP report they require “All technical documents, including site assessments, submitted to the FDEP for review and evaluation must be signed by a professional geologist or qualified professional engineer, licensed to practice in the State of Florida”.

The FDEP concluded “Based on our review of the Assessment Summary, sufficient evidence has not been provided to demonstrate contaminant concentrations were not the result of historical operations at the CCGC. Consequently, the Site Summary Conclusions cannot be supported”
In July 2016, soil and groundwater sampling was conducted as part of a Limited Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) according to the Tetra Tech report. The data indicated the presence of elevated arsenic in the soil, groundwater and on-site surface water and sediment. The data also indicated sporadic elevated detections of dieldrin in the soil and groundwater.
I would Vote No on the transmittal due to potential public health reasons. The testing performed has shown high levels of arsenic in the soil and water. If this soil is disturbed it could potentially distribute the arsenic and dieldrin contained in the soil and water potentially jeopardizing the health of the citizens in that area. In my opinion protecting the health and safety of our residents is the first job of government. I would also be concerned that future lawsuits could be filed against Cape Coral if Cape Coral Council votes for the transmittal, the DR Horton project goes forward and residents become ill from the chemicals in the future.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
From the information contained in both reports on chemical contamination, we need to make sure our residents are safe from these chemicals. It would seem this would give another chance to look at making this area or at least a portion of this area a park, greenspace or other recreation facility if it could be safely done. Lee County could take a second look at using 20/20 funds possibly to purchase these lands as not much of the 20/20 money has gone to Cape Coral. Cape Coral could also apply for Federal and State Grants to buy part or all of this land.

James Schneider
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Fortunately, unlike other candidates, my vote is documented as a firm NO, from the June Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.  As a P & Z Commissioner, I was present for all of the testimony, had a complete copy of the city planner's recommendation, letters from the public and D.R. Horton's support and was the first to announce from the dais that I cannot ever support this amendment to our LUDRs. I can't imagine any reason which will ever sway my decision.  In fact, this specific concern is part of the reason I chose to run for District 5.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
For the legal and appropriate actions to get to where I hope this land can be revitalized, I need to research further.  BUT, in my hopes and desire, we should be creating park space, to combat the deficit. It is an ideal location.  I loved the suggestions of a "Central Park" made by many community members.  Ultimately we could have a beautiful and peaceful space, perhaps a walking/exercise/bicycle trail, picnic areas, floral gardens for community garden clubs to maintain/compete for awards, and to earn some money for the local business and the city; I would encourage an amphitheater which could draw national talent, with an open air space similar to Wolf Trap in Virginia or Hollywood Bowl in California, on a smaller scale. Removing only the invasive trees and inappropriate growth, and keeping it GREEN space. 



Golf course property positions. District 4 Jennifer Nelson and Richard Leon

Jennifer Nelson

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I support the planning and zoning commission's decision from June 7, 2017. However, my hope is we can reach a compromise realizing we would be removing the property off the tax roll. 
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
I like the idea of an opportunity for the city to support some type of revenue generation from that land in the form of green space that offers potential  mixed use options down the road and helps offset the loss of ad valorem. Plus, the space would blend nicely with the long term vision of Bimini Basin.

Richard Leon
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
While there is still much to discuss and information to hear, at this time, I will be supporting the land use submittal. 

Golf course property positions. District 1 John Gunter and Graham Morris

John Gunter
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss my opinion on this matter. I would definitely vote "no" for this change, and I feel the golf course property should be utilized as a park. I did attend the Planning & Zoning hearing and you could see the passion that the surrounding neighbors, and the community at large, wanted to keep this as an open space, or a park area. Unfortunately, the city has ignored our citizens on this matter, like many others, and made their decision solely on what would benefit the city economically.

Question two: If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
My vision for this park area would be to ensure we have something to offer to all age groups of our community. I want to have a space where our community can go and everyone can enjoy. I personally would like to see an advisory board established for a small amount of time, and get community input on exactly what they would like to have there. We need to also ensure that this park would be a good neighbor for the surrounding community, and listen to their concerns.  Also we need to see if their are any state, or federal grants available to assist our city in making this park possible. Here is a list of what I see would be great for this area.
1. Walking/Running/Biking paths throughout the entire area (Promote exercising for all of our citizens).
2. Tennis Courts (re-locate and add additional  tennis courts from the Yacht Club area, which would free up space in a very congested area).
3. Activities such as basketball, volleyball, shuffle board, an open field area just to kick or throw a ball. (Establish a safe place for our youths, so they have a area to productively occupy their time). Not an area for organized sport clubs, just       an area for our kids to go and play.
4. Playground for the smaller children. (a place where a family can go to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment, and promote socialization with all the citizens of our community).
5. Varies senior activities, like pickle ball, and other sports and games for our seniors.
6. Sanctuary for our wildlife that we could utilize to relocate animals there that are disturbed as a result of the growing development in our city.
7. Clubhouse- a location that could be utilize for games for all citizens ( such as card games, chess club, etc.). Also this facility could be rented out to varies organization for meetings, town hall meeting, community meetings, that would help offset the operating expense of this building.
As a candidate for City Council I feel we have a morally, and ethical, responsible to listen to our citizens , and make sure their voice is heard and "strongly" considered, before making a determination on this, or any other matter. As a councilman, I would always have an open door policy and welcome any citizen who wanted to sit down and discuss an issue, and ensure the views and concerns of our citizens are always heard, and considered. Hopefully, the current City Council will hear our citizens loud and clear, and do the right thing on this matter. We need a councilman, or councilwoman, that is  "For the People", and that is why I am running for office.

GRAHAM MORRIS

 ~ DID NOT RESPOND ~  

Golf course property positions. Mayoral candidates, Joe Coviello and Michael Hollow

Joe Coviello
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?

No, I do not want the future land use to be changed and sent off to the state. 
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
Our recent evaluation of our Strategic Parks & Recreation Plan tells us as a city we currently do not have enough land for recreational use.  This property needs to be acquired by the city from the current owners Florida Gulf Venture. The current value of this property is somewhere between 10 and 12 million. We need to either trade other city owned properties, purchase the land or a combination of the two in getting this property back under city control.  The property can then be developed through a public private partnership with many amenities that are favorable for the city.  Potential uses could be hotel resort, banquet hall, golf course or short pitch and put course, tennis courts, restaurants, shopping, park land and other revenue producing amenities to help sustain the development going forward.  My preference is steady sustainable residential growth throughout the city. 

Michael Hollow
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
The issue of the old golf course has been one of much debate and frustration for people, for years.  You asked me two questions, if I may, I’m going to answer both within one answer/opinion.  

The old golf course has been vacated since 2006, there have been several attempts to improve the land via a sale.  These range from the school board, to mixed use housing to the pending purchase by D.R. Horton.  As we saw, the city staff recommended the approval of the D.R. Horton plan and well over the 500 homes that was originally requested.  Currently, the area of the old golf course is zoned R1B (single family residential), with a future land use of PK (parks and recreation).  

There is the possibility of pending law suits from all parties, including the residents, against the City of Cape Coral.  The hard one for me to get past is at what point does the government not have the right to impose against private land sales.  Let’s look at the purchase and sales contract between these two parties (full disclosure I have not seen the P&S, only making my basis from the information obtained at council meetings).  The seller (Florida Gulf Venture) and the purchaser (D.R. Horton) submitted terms that were mutually agreeable amongst themselves.  Within that contract there was a contingency to the sale that required the City of Cape Coral to approve the site plans.  Otherwise the contract, as written, would allow either or both parties to walk away.  

The one question that always must be asked, what is the highest and best use for that land?

In a perfect world, we could come up with a resolution and negotiate with D.R. Horton to modify their plans and development.  In this plan, we collaborate on a true P3 (Private, Public, Partnership), we allow a reduced amount of homes to be built and have them build the city a park on the grounds, about 60-70% of the land (not including water).  In exchange, we give them land, either in the NE or NW allow them to build a community there and build a smaller city park.  

There is a point when government cannot and should not infringe on the private land rights of owners.  But nor should the city allow the area to become overpopulated with the amount of homes that are requested to be built.  

From a financial standpoint, the city would benefit more from allowing a complex to be built, and then area wouldn’t be blighted and desolate.  The current land owner is only required four times a year to mow/maintain the property.  

Furthermore, if we look back to when the discussion came up regarding the 7 Islands, the neighboring landowners wanted a park to be developed.  The city owns that land and determined the highest and best use for the land would be to develop it with commercial and residential.  Why is this transaction any different?  Why are we not considering the highest and best use of the land for this one?

I agree with not allowing up to the 700 homes as indicated at the hearing, but I do not agree with the city denying the project altogether.  We need to bring all sides together, sit down and have an open discussion as to what we want as viable outcomes.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Time to Remove your Yard Sign ~ City Council Denies Land Use Transmittal to State

We did it!  Thanks to all of you who supported us in our effort to preserve the Park and Recreation land use designation for the old golf course. By a vote of 4-4 the city council rejected the proposed change to single family.

We showed how a community can come together on an issue and make a difference.  We'll send out more info later, but for now we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Mary & Barth

NBC 2 News ~ Fate of Old Cape Coral Golf Club could be decided Monday


http://www.nbc-2.com/story/36176730/fate-of-old-cape-coral-golf-club-could-be-decided-monday

Thursday, August 10, 2017

URGENT!!!! CALL TO ACTION

CLEAR YOUR CALENDARS!!  The time is now.  The Cape Coral City Council meeting where they will vote on transmitting the proposed land use change to the state is Monday August 21 at 4:30 pm in council chambers. We need as many as possible to attend!  Save Our Recreation will have a full presentation from our experts and attorney.  We also welcome constructive and supportive comments from you at the public comment session of the meeting or via emails to our council members and city manager.  Their emails are shown below.

Remember to be constructive and succinct with your comments and at all times be respectful and polite.  We are on the right side of this issue and don’t want to lose that in our messaging.  So far the support from various organizations has been incredible.  The Planning and Zoning Commission, Youth Council, Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, Florida Wildlife Federation, 1000 Friends of Florida and Sierra Club have expressed their opposition to this proposed land use change.  The News Press also supports denying the proposed land use change.

Please pass this on and talk to your friends and neighbors.  This is a big issue for Cape Coral as we need to decide if quality of life and planning for the future is important or not.  The City decided in 1989 that this property was best suited for Parks and Recreation.  Nothing has changed.  Almost 11,000 people signed our petition saying they want this green space preserved.  Adding up to 700 homes here will not make this city a better place to live 20 or 40 years from now.  Keeping it as Park and Recreation will!

So please make arrangements to come to the hearing on August 21.  If you can, come as a group.  Carpool with others.  We just want to be sure we have a good turnout.  Wear your green Save Our Recreation shirt if you have one.  If not, try to wear any green shirt.  Your support does make a difference.

msawicki@capecoral.net,jburch@capecoral.net,mstout@capecoral.net,rerbrick@capecoral.net,jcarioscia@capecoral.net,rleon@capecoral.net,jcosden@capecoral.net,rwilliams@capecoral.net,jszerlag@capecoral.net

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Candidate Hobnob & Straw Poll ~ this Wednesday July 26 from 6-9

Since the golf course is one of the biggest issues facing the City, it will likely be a topic at these events.  Please try to attend some of these.  Not only will you get to learn more about their positions on the golf course, but you can learn more about their positions on other issues.

Be an informed voter who goes to the polls and votes is one of the best things we can do to make our City a great place to live.  *If you have a green SOR shirt please wear it.*  It shows we are concerned and involved.

Tonight Wednesday, July 26  5:30PM-8PM 
Hobnob  (Public Welcome)
Gulf Coast Village
1333 Santa Barbara Blvd

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Cape Coral Mayoral Candidate Survey

Survey Summary
JOE COVIELLO ~ NO
RANA ERBRICK ~ YES
KEVIN KOCH ~ NO
MICHAEL HOLLOW ~ YES
APRIL FREEMAN ~ DID NOT RESPOND
DERRICK DONNELL ~ DID NOT RESPOND
DANIEL SHEPPARD III ~ LATE ENTRY

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
NO VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes AGAINST transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida.
(This is Save Our Recreation's position) 
YES VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes FOR transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida allowing for D. R. Horton to proceed with the development of up to 770 homes on former golf club property
Joe Coviello
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
No, I do not want the future land use to be changed and sent off to the state. 
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
Our recent evaluation of our Strategic Parks & Recreation Plan tells us as a city we currently do not have enough land for recreational use.  This property needs to be acquired by the city from the current owners Florida Gulf Venture. The current value of this property is somewhere between 10 and 12 million. We need to either trade other city owned properties, purchase the land or a combination of the two in getting this property back under city control.  The property can then be developed through a public private partnership with many amenities that are favorable for the city.  Potential uses could be hotel resort, banquet hall, golf course or short pitch and put course, tennis courts, restaurants, shopping, park land and other revenue producing amenities to help sustain the development going forward.  My preference is steady sustainable residential growth throughout the city. 
Rana Erbrick
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Should I still be on Council when this comes to a vote I will be in favor of the request made by the applicant to transmit to the land use change to the state.
Kevin Koch
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I will vote "no" on the amendment to change the future land use from parks & recreation to single family homes.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
I believe that in order for this nightmare to finally be resolved, there needs to be compromise on both sides. Having DR Horton build 400 homes on one of the last green spaces left in south Cape Coral is not the answer. Leaving the property as it is, abandoned and neglected, is also not the answer. We need to come up with a solution to this problem. If neither side will budge, nothing will ever get done and we will still be talking about this issue 10 years from now. DR Horton clearly wants this property because it is prime real estate. They are not interested in a land swap and have made that very clear. My intention is to negotiate with DR Horton with the goal being to change about 25-35% of the area to single family homes while keeping the remaining 65-75% parks and recreation. The future property tax revenue will go towards construction of an actual park in the remaining green space, thus preserving it for future generations to come. I truly believe that without some form of compromise, this situation will not be resolved.
Michael Hollow
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
The issue of the old golf course has been one of much debate and frustration for people, for years.  You asked me two questions, if I may, I’m going to answer both within one answer/opinion.  

The old golf course has been vacated since 2006, there have been several attempts to improve the land via a sale.  These range from the school board, to mixed use housing to the pending purchase by D.R. Horton.  As we saw, the city staff recommended the approval of the D.R. Horton plan and well over the 500 homes that was originally requested.  Currently, the area of the old golf course is zoned R1B (single family residential), with a future land use of PK (parks and recreation).  

There is the possibility of pending law suits from all parties, including the residents, against the City of Cape Coral.  The hard one for me to get past is at what point does the government not have the right to impose against private land sales.  Let’s look at the purchase and sales contract between these two parties (full disclosure I have not seen the P&S, only making my basis from the information obtained at council meetings).  The seller (Florida Gulf Venture) and the purchaser (D.R. Horton) submitted terms that were mutually agreeable amongst themselves.  Within that contract there was a contingency to the sale that required the City of Cape Coral to approve the site plans.  Otherwise the contract, as written, would allow either or both parties to walk away.  

The one question that always must be asked, what is the highest and best use for that land?

In a perfect world, we could come up with a resolution and negotiate with D.R. Horton to modify their plans and development.  In this plan, we collaborate on a true P3 (Private, Public, Partnership), we allow a reduced amount of homes to be built and have them build the city a park on the grounds, about 60-70% of the land (not including water).  In exchange, we give them land, either in the NE or NW allow them to build a community there and build a smaller city park.  

There is a point when government cannot and should not infringe on the private land rights of owners.  But nor should the city allow the area to become overpopulated with the amount of homes that are requested to be built.  

From a financial standpoint, the city would benefit more from allowing a complex to be built, and then area wouldn’t be blighted and desolate.  The current land owner is only required four times a year to mow/maintain the property.  

Furthermore, if we look back to when the discussion came up regarding the 7 Islands, the neighboring landowners wanted a park to be developed.  The city owns that land and determined the highest and best use for the land would be to develop it with commercial and residential.  Why is this transaction any different?  Why are we not considering the highest and best use of the land for this one?

I agree with not allowing up to the 700 homes as indicated at the hearing, but I do not agree with the city denying the project altogether.  We need to bring all sides together, sit down and have an open discussion as to what we want as viable outcomes.  

Added: Aug 10, 2017 
Daniel Sheppard
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?

It should stay green space no homes I would vote no homes
I have been saying it at counsel for over a year .
I was the only one standing with the people that live there . I never saw other candidates ,o there supportive now for your vote .the difference is I really care . I voiced my concerns so many times I can't believe you have to ask .


Cape Coral Candidate Survey - District 1

Survey Summary
JIM BURCH ~ NO (see note)
JAMES FORAKER ~ NO
JOHN GUNTER ~ NO
GRAHAM MORRIS ~ DID NOT RESPOND

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
NO VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes AGAINST transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida.
(This is Save Our Recreation's position)

YES VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes FOR transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida allowing for D. R. Horton to proceed with the development of up to 770 homes on former golf club property
Jim Burch
Note: Jim Burch did not respond upon the advice of the city attorney however, he has consistently voiced in public his opposition to the land use change and public support to restore the property as some type of public park or recreation space.

James Foraker
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I would definitely vote no.  The people do not want a development of that size and description.  One is elected to serve the people.  In this case the people have spoken.

Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
A compromise can be worked out.  Options include but are not limited to, a smaller scale development. a purchase by the surrounding property owners, the city purchasing all or portions.  The third being only if the respective numbers are economically feasable.  The property can and should be developed.  Whatever its eventual outcome is I want whats best for the city and it's residents.

John Gunter
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss my opinion on this matter. I would definitely vote "no" for this change, and I feel the golf course property should be utilized as a park. I did attend the Planning & Zoning hearing and you could see the passion that the surrounding neighbors, and the community at large, wanted to keep this as an open space, or a park area. Unfortunately, the city has ignored our citizens on this matter, like many others, and made their decision solely on what would benefit the city economically.

Question two: If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
My vision for this park area would be to ensure we have something to offer to all age groups of our community. I want to have a space where our community can go and everyone can enjoy. I personally would like to see an advisory board established for a small amount of time, and get community input on exactly what they would like to have there. We need to also ensure that this park would be a good neighbor for the surrounding community, and listen to their concerns.  Also we need to see if their are any state, or federal grants available to assist our city in making this park possible. Here is a list of what I see would be great for this area.
1. Walking/Running/Biking paths throughout the entire area (Promote exercising for all of our citizens).
2. Tennis Courts (re-locate and add additional  tennis courts from the Yacht Club area, which would free up space in a very congested area).
3. Activities such as basketball, volleyball, shuffle board, an open field area just to kick or throw a ball. (Establish a safe place for our youths, so they have a area to productively occupy their time). Not an area for organized sport clubs, just       an area for our kids to go and play.
4. Playground for the smaller children. (a place where a family can go to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment, and promote socialization with all the citizens of our community).
5. Varies senior activities, like pickle ball, and other sports and games for our seniors.
6. Sanctuary for our wildlife that we could utilize to relocate animals there that are disturbed as a result of the growing development in our city.
7. Clubhouse- a location that could be utilize for games for all citizens ( such as card games, chess club, etc.). Also this facility could be rented out to varies organization for meetings, town hall meeting, community meetings, that would help offset the operating expense of this building.
As a candidate for City Council I feel we have a morally, and ethical, responsible to listen to our citizens , and make sure their voice is heard and "strongly" considered, before making a determination on this, or any other matter. As a councilman, I would always have an open door policy and welcome any citizen who wanted to sit down and discuss an issue, and ensure the views and concerns of our citizens are always heard, and considered. Hopefully, the current City Council will hear our citizens loud and clear, and do the right thing on this matter. We need a councilman, or councilwoman, that is  "For the People", and that is why I am running for office.

GRAHAM MORRIS
 ~ DID NOT RESPOND ~ 

Cape Coral Candidate Survey - District 4

Survey Summary
JENNIFER NELSON ~ NO
RICHARD LEON ~ YES
JEFFREY JONES ~ NO

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
NO VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes AGAINST transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida.
(This is Save Our Recreation's position)

YES VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes FOR transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida allowing for D. R. Horton to proceed with the development of up to 770 homes on former golf club property
Jennifer Nelson
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I support the planning and zoning commission's decision from June 7, 2017. However, my hope is we can reach a compromise realizing we would be removing the property off the tax roll. 
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
I like the idea of an opportunity for the city to support some type of revenue generation from that land in the form of green space that offers potential  mixed use options down the road and helps offset the loss of ad valorem. Plus, the space would blend nicely with the long term vision of Bimini Basin.
Richard Leon
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
While there is still much to discuss and information to hear, at this time, I will be supporting the land use submittal. 
Jeffrey Jones
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
My vote will be, No
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
In answering the question #2, and after some research, I found that when it comes to the golf course that failed on Palm Tree Blvd. in Cape Coral, a park would represent a repurposing opportunity as stated by Andres Duany and Jeff Speck inThe Smart Growth Manual, “Access to nature is a basic right, especially for those without the means to drive (Duany, Speck and Lydon, 2012).” Additionally, the Trust for Public Land, (TPL, 2006) as many as two-thirds of the residents of America’s largest cities do not have access to a nearby park, playground, or open space (TPL, 2006) Furthermore, I believe it is important to preserve those spaces and maintain the pleasures of nature. Therefore, many of the golf courses that are projected to close or have already closed do become ideal repurposed parkland.

According to the Trust for Public Land, parks provide access to nature, promote physical and mental health, control storm water, help control air pollution, help decrease air temperature, are linked to reducing crime, and help create stable neighborhoods with strong communities (TPL, 2006). However, one of the biggest benefits of parkland is the potential economic impact (Duany, Speck and Lydon, 2012). Trust for Public Land (TPL, 2006) has been conducting research since 2003 and found that the economic value cities and residents receive from parks and recreation facilities are numerous. Through their research, there were eight ways cities derive economic benefits from parks or recreational facilities which include: property values increase, tourism, direct use, attracting and retaining businesses, health, community cohesion, clean water, and clean air. Example: Lakes Park in Fort Myers.

Parks are versatile in size, shape, and location and can therefore be retrofitted on nearly every type of golf course. Although Cape Coral has several parks; green space is needed in the southern portions. Additionally, the need for more parks aligns with National Golf Foundation’s projections that the majority of course closings in the next decade will be urban and suburban par 3 or 9-hole executive courses (Beditz, 2008). Therefore, bankrupt or financially unstable courses have become prime candidates for repurposing as parks. The existing green space, the potential for retrofitting cart paths (if they exist) as trail networks, and the use of an existing clubhouse (if it exists) as a recreation center may decrease the initial investment needed to repurpose the old golf course as a park.

Therefore, in theory, the residential community would remain, but rather than golf as the core amenity, the recreational space, walking trails, fenced dog park, and the several lakes on the property could become the core amenity for example: Lakes Park in Fort Myers. Other amenities could supplement the lake, such as trails, tennis, or a smaller sized golf course for example a par 3 course (lighted for night play).
Beditz, J, Kass, J. The Future of Private Golf Clubs in America.Jupiter, FL: National    Golf Foundation, 2008.
Duany, A, Speck, J, and Lydon, M. The Smart Growth Manual / Andres
Duany, Jeff Speck with Mike Lydon. New York : McGraw-Hill, 2012.
Economic and Health Benefits of Parks". 2013. (March 2013): The Trust for Public Land. March 28, 2013 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2017 from, www.tpl.org/research/parks/economic-health-benefits.html
TPL. The Benefits of Parks: Why America Needs More City Parks and Open
Space. San Francisco, CA: The Trust for Public Land 2006
 

Cape Coral Candidate Survey - District 5

Survey Summary
DAVID STOKES ~ NO
JAMES SCHNEIDER ~ NO

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
NO VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes AGAINST transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida.
(This is Save Our Recreation's position)

YES VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes FOR transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida allowing for D. R. Horton to proceed with the development of up to 770 homes on former golf club property
David Stokes
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Both the Tetra Tech assessment summary and the response from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reference very high levels of arsenic at the old golf course property. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection report states “In addition, the GTCL for arsenic is the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Arsenic concentrations in exceedance of the MCL require action to protect human health and the environment. Therefore, the arsenic plume at CCGC requires delineation and implementation of a protective control to restrict the use of contaminated groundwater. The arsenic GCTL is based on total metals.”
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection goes on to state “The tables and figures indicate composite sampling was conducted. The accepted method for collecting composite samples is the Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM). ISM requires compositing of 30 samples, within the decision unit and at the same depth interval, to make one representative soil sample. By rule, this must be performed 2 more times resulting in three composite sample results to use in the 95% Upper Confidence Limit (95 UCL) calculation. If ISM will be used for future sampling, please refer to Incremental Sampling Methodology guidance published by the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) for a detailed description of the method and its requirements.”
From the FDEP report they require “All technical documents, including site assessments, submitted to the FDEP for review and evaluation must be signed by a professional geologist or qualified professional engineer, licensed to practice in the State of Florida”.

The FDEP concluded “Based on our review of the Assessment Summary, sufficient evidence has not been provided to demonstrate contaminant concentrations were not the result of historical operations at the CCGC. Consequently, the Site Summary Conclusions cannot be supported”
In July 2016, soil and groundwater sampling was conducted as part of a Limited Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) according to the Tetra Tech report. The data indicated the presence of elevated arsenic in the soil, groundwater and on-site surface water and sediment. The data also indicated sporadic elevated detections of dieldrin in the soil and groundwater.
I would Vote No on the transmittal due to potential public health reasons. The testing performed has shown high levels of arsenic in the soil and water. If this soil is disturbed it could potentially distribute the arsenic and dieldrin contained in the soil and water potentially jeopardizing the health of the citizens in that area. In my opinion protecting the health and safety of our residents is the first job of government. I would also be concerned that future lawsuits could be filed against Cape Coral if Cape Coral Council votes for the transmittal, the DR Horton project goes forward and residents become ill from the chemicals in the future.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
From the information contained in both reports on chemical contamination, we need to make sure our residents are safe from these chemicals. It would seem this would give another chance to look at making this area or at least a portion of this area a park, greenspace or other recreation facility if it could be safely done. Lee County could take a second look at using 20/20 funds possibly to purchase these lands as not much of the 20/20 money has gone to Cape Coral. Cape Coral could also apply for Federal and State Grants to buy part or all of this land.
James Schneider
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
Fortunately, unlike other candidates, my vote is documented as a firm NO, from the June Planning and Zoning Commission hearing.  As a P & Z Commissioner, I was present for all of the testimony, had a complete copy of the city planner's recommendation, letters from the public and D.R. Horton's support and was the first to announce from the dais that I cannot ever support this amendment to our LUDRs. I can't imagine any reason which will ever sway my decision.  In fact, this specific concern is part of the reason I chose to run for District 5.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
For the legal and appropriate actions to get to where I hope this land can be revitalized, I need to research further.  BUT, in my hopes and desire, we should be creating park space, to combat the deficit. It is an ideal location.  I loved the suggestions of a "Central Park" made by many community members.  Ultimately we could have a beautiful and peaceful space, perhaps a walking/exercise/bicycle trail, picnic areas, floral gardens for community garden clubs to maintain/compete for awards, and to earn some money for the local business and the city; I would encourage an amphitheater which could draw national talent, with an open air space similar to Wolf Trap in Virginia or Hollywood Bowl in California, on a smaller scale. Removing only the invasive trees and inappropriate growth, and keeping it GREEN space. 

Cape Coral Candidate Survey - District 6

Survey Summary
RICK WILLIAMS ~ See below
JOHN KARCHER ~ NO

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
NO VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes AGAINST transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida.
(This is Save Our Recreation's position)

YES VOTE - City Mayor or Council Member votes FOR transmitting a Land Use change to the State of Florida allowing for D. R. Horton to proceed with the development of up to 770 homes on former golf club property
Rick Williams
I'm sorry for the late response.  I needed to get information from our legal department. Although your request of the candidates is OK and will be helpful to your followers, as a sitting Council Member, my rules are a little different.  Soliciting my intended vote and then openly posting it can be an issue with the Sunshine laws. This could be construed as Daisy Chaining.  Although I am pretty secure in my position on this issue, my final decision will be made during our vote at the hearing.  Regards, Rick Williams
John Karcher
Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?
I would vote NO.   Keep it Residential / Parks as it is today.
Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?
The home owners were made a promise when they bought on the golf course and paid a higher price for the lots. I would like to see public / private partnerships to look into ideas that can be a win/ win for the city and all residents.  The Council needs to do a better job listening to the residents.

Thoughts on what may work there:
Let’s keep it so all of Cape Coral can enjoy it.
1. How about a nature park, and look for a private / public partnership to put in the nature park.  It could start small and house all animals found in Florida. They could also  rehabilitate injured animals. Use some of the lakes to teach children about canoeing and kayaking and basis water safety. These uses would hold down traffic and would be quite at night. Surround the area with bike and walk lanes in a well landscaped manor. Parking for the Nature Park could be inside and buffered from the view from the homes.
What if every property owned facing the property was to buy a lot across the street from their home. That would further buffer the area as lots are 120 ft. deep and would push back whatever goes there further from the homes? Rather than have to come up with the cash maybe it could be spread out in the tax bill.
2. Let’s build a park with bike & walk lanes with the exterior well buffered from the homes. Inside could be parking with a band shell like Centennial Park, in Ft Myers Include picnic. tables, a wooded walking trail. Add a food vendor to handle events at the park.
3. Form a committee to approach Horton to again consider a land swap in the NW or NE. Include residents from all 3 areas, along with the city so stake holders are involved with the discussions.  The NW wants smart growth. Let’s make these homes more mid to high price point vs express homes. A gated community likes Sandoval with 2 exits and entrances from the soon to be widened Burnt Store Rd.  Get the UEP started on Burnt Store rd. , draw some new business to the new commercial corridor now.
4. Form a committee and brain storm to discuss what we don’t have in Cape Coral and what would draw people from all areas of the city. The money would come from a public / private partnership.

Arsenic found at Cape Coral golf course ~ WINK News Reporter, Brooke Shafer

Click link below

http://www.winknews.com/2017/07/07/arsenic-found-at-cape-coral-golf-course/

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Unlikely Conservationists GULF SHORE LIFE

How residents in Fort Myers Beach banded together to preserve a tract of land as a wild, natural space


http://www.gulfshorelife.com/April-2017/The-Unlikely-Conservationists/


Larry Siebert (left) and Tom Taege have led the efforts to turn a former golf course into green space.
VANESSA ROGERS


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Latest filing puts Cape Coral mayoral candidates at six FRANK BUMB , FBUMB@NEWS-PRESS.COM

"As to whether there's any item he would not continue in Cape Coral's near future, Coviello pointed to the proposed private development of Cape Coral's old golf course by D.R. Horton.  Coviello said he would move to keep that area as green space for present and future residents."

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/cape-coral/2017/06/27/latest-filing-puts-cape-coral-mayor-candidates-six/431578001/




Friday, June 23, 2017

All Candidate Answers Will be Posted JULY 8



Dear Candidates,

Please find below two questions relative to the former golf course property.  Please email your answers back to me by Wednesday June 21st.  Your answers will be posted on our SOR website, www.SaveOurRecreation.us and sent to our Save Our Recreation group by email blast.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Mary Neilson
Treasurer
Save Our Recreation, Inc.

Question one:  Will you vote "No" on the transmittal to the state of the future land-use map amendment for the golf course property that would change it from Parks and Recreation to Single-family Residential that would allow for the DR Horton development called The Palm's?

Question two:  If you do not support the transmittal to the state of the future land-use change, what are your thoughts on what should happen with the golf course property?

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Yard Signs available TODAY!

YARD SIGNS available - NO Donation required.
'but would be accepted'

Please call Mary at 239-243-5989 or email mary@maryneilson.com




Friday, June 16, 2017

Councilmember Cosden to host Town Hall meeting on Monday

Town Hall Meeting  This Monday June 19 at 4:30 at City Council Chambers.  The meeting is open to the public to discuss any city issues or concerns.


Councilmember Jessica Cosden District 7

Time Sensitive Poll THE CAPE CORAL BREEZE


Important Request!  The Cape Coral Breeze has a one question opinion poll on the golf course.  We want to make sure all of you are aware of it and are responding to make sure our voices are heard.  It is important that we let everyone know how important it is to support keeping this as Park and Recreation.  Please go to this link: http://www.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com/page/polls.detail/id/464/ 

Once you have taken the poll, please forward this message on to your family, friends and neighbors who are interested in the golf course.

Also, our questions on the golf course have been submitted to all of the council and mayoral candidates.  Responses are due by June 21 after which we will post the responses here.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

P & Z meeting Pics

Passionate Cape Coral residents 



Save Our Recreation Attorney Ralf Brookes

Save Our Recreation Consultant Max Forgey ~ Zoning Technologies, Inc.
Save Our Recreation Speaker ~ Cape Coral Yacht Club area resident Gary Eidson
Carolyn Conant-Adair Bike/Ped Speaker ~ SW Cape Coral area resident 
Original Sale Map Brochure

Original Sales Map Brochure


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

WINK NEWS

http://www.winknews.com/2017/06/07/cape-board-rejects-plan-to-convert-golf-course-into-homes/

Planning & Zoning Commission voted to DENY applicant today

Today was a great day for Save Our Recreation and all of its supporters.  We want to thank you for all your efforts as the Planning and Zoning commission today voted 5 to 2 to deny the future land-use change.  Although the journey is not over as the City Council will likely vote on this on August 7, the fact that we prevailed today is certainly a great step in the right direction.

None of this would've been possible without all of the wonderful support from all of you who value this great space and wish to preserve it for the use of generations to come.  You made this a community wide issue and our leaders are hearing your voice.

We will continue to keep you informed as we move forward and seek your assistance where needed.
 
Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts.

Barth and Mary

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

P & Z Meeting. Working tomorrow morning? You can still help!

If you cannot attend, please email a VERY short and to the point message to the Planning and Zoning commission that you urge them to recommend a NO vote on the proposed Future Land Use Map Amendment.  

Their email address is   cboyko@capecoral.net

Staff will enter the email 'count' recommending a 'NO' vote into the record.  

Monday, June 05, 2017

P & Z Meeting Reminder & How Out of Towners Can Help


REMINDER!!!!

The Planning and Zoning Commission meeting is this Wednesday, June 7, at 9:00 AM in council chambers.  Please come with your sign and wear your green shirt.  If you don't have a sign we will have some for you there.  If you can come at 8:30 and wait outside and display your signs that would be great.

Bring a friend or two with and get the word out to as many others as well.  We want a great turnout.

If you cannot attend, email a VERY short and to the point message to the Planning and Zoning commission that you urge them to recommend a NO vote on the proposed Future Land Use Map Amendment.  Their email address is   cboyko@capecoral.net