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

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Save Our Recreation SHIRTS available for August 21 council meeting.

Make sure you have your green Save Our Recreation shirt (any green shirt will do) ready and wear it to the council meeting on August 21st.

At this meeting, the Mayor and Council will vote on whether to transmit the land use change to the State of Florida.  Save Our Recreation wants a NO vote....

Call or Text 239-243-5989 or email me at mary@maryneilson.


Monday, July 31, 2017

REGISTER TO VOTE BY AUGUST 14 ~ TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS

Make sure that you are registered to vote and that you actually vote in the September primary election in September.  Register by 5:00 pm August 14.

For your convenience there is a printable Voter Registration form at the right unter 2017 Documents.  It is in pdf.  Just open and print.  Mail to the Lee Co address on page 2.

EARLY VOTING FOR THE PRIMARY STARTS... Tuesday Sept 5 - Saturday Sept 9 from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM.  Make sure your friends and neighbors are registered.  Offer someone a ride to the polling place.  THIS ELECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT!

 Save Our Recreation has sent to each of the candidates two questions related to the old golf course property. The responses are posted on this website.





Voter Registration On-Line
http://www.lee.vote/voters/online-voter-registration/

Voter Registration Sites
http://www.lee.vote/voters/voter-registration-sites/

The Cape Coral office information is:
Cape Coral Branch Office
At Lee County Government Center
1039 SE 9th Ave
Cape Coral
239 LEE-VOTE (239-533-8683)
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

It is truly the duty of all citizens to vote in elections and participate in the great democratic process we have in this country. Particularly when you have items that you care deeply about it is that much more important to vote.  So please follow the information we provide and also look at other sources to make your best informed decision on the candidates and VOTE on September 12.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Save Our Recreation site ~ 10,000+ Views in July

I am happy to report, Cape Coral residents are engaged.  We hit a record 10,000 plus views this month with 6 days left in July.

On behalf of Save Our Recreation, thank you for your continued support over the years to preserve this 175+ acres of green space.

Mary



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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

URGENT CALL TO ACTION Attend P & Z meeting Wednesday June 7 at 9:00 AM

Call to action!!  We need you at the June 7 Planning and Zoning Commission hearing where the Future Land Use Map Amendment that requests to change the old golf course from Parks and Recreation to Single Family Residential is on the agenda. The meeting is at 9:00 am in City Council Chambers. They will likely make a recommendation to the City Council at this meeting and we want them to know how strong the opposition is to this change.

We urge you to arrive by 8:30 and bring your yard signs, signs from our rally this summer, or make your own. Signs are for outside only, so when you go in leave your signs in your car.  We will try to have some extra signs available. For signs please contact Alan Jones at 860-670-4862.   Wear your green Save Our Recreation t-shirts. If you don't have one wear any green shirt. For T Shirts contact Mary Neilson at 239-243-5989. The public can speak at the meeting. SOR representatives (including our attorney and land use expert) will be speaking and you can as well. Please, be respectful, factual and constructive with any signs you bring or comments you may make. We always want to be a positive and constructive voice in the process. Also, please tell your family, friends and neighbors about this and encourage them to attend. Try to bring two people with you.  Let’s have a great show of support!

We particularly encourage supporters from others parts of the Cape to attend and let the Commission know this is more than just a neighborhood issue. This is a chance to save a special property than can be enjoyed by the community for generations if the current land use is preserved. If you plan to speak, please let either Mary (mary@maryneilson.com or 239-243-5989) or Barth (bwolf3@new.rr.com or 920-621-6097) know as we are trying to coordinate as best we can so we cover different points and we want to be sure we have at least several speakers from outside the immediate neighborhood.

The notice letter the City sent out  to neighbors can be found on our website. This is the first step in the process. The most critical will be the City Council meeting where they vote on whether to transmit the proposed land use map amendment to the state. The current plan is for this hearing to be held at the August 7 City Council meeting. Please mark your calendar for that date!!  We need a huge turnout then. We will update you as we get closer to that hearing or if this timing changes.


Lastly, City Planning Department staff has recommended approval of the land use map change. This is very disappointing. We plan to refute some of their points at the June 7 hearing.


Planning Division Case Report Future Land Use Map Amendment

PDF Attached: LU16-0013_Staff_Report_Final.pdf

Notice to Surrounding Property Owners


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Update & News Press survey

THE FIRST IS IMPORTANT AND REQUIRES YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION.  The News Press has a survey about the golf course. Click either of the following links to take the survey.  The first link will take you directly to the survey.  The second will require you navigate through The News Press a bit.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdOhdl3AKg-5ufdkdWUG7DQmooQItKE6ZbLYs6CLNp7qb-0tw/viewform

http://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/readers/2017/05/03/101260920/

Second, it sounds like DR Horton is not interested in the land swap. We are not sure if that is just their negotiating stance, but if true it's a shame as it is a great way forward that provides something of benefit to all parties. Taking the future land use change request to a vote will guarantee there are some winners and some losers. That's a good point for you to raise when people ask about the land swap. 

Last, elections are coming up later this year for the mayor and three council positions. Richard Leon who represents the golf course district has not been positive in his pubic comments about whether to preserve the Parks and Rec status. There are two candidates running against him. We will be sure to try to get their opinions on the golf course before the election and will hopefully be meeting with each of them to explain our position. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

T Shirts & Yard Signs are in!

Call or text Mary at 239-243-5989 or email mary@maryneilson.com





Councilman Richard Leon Town Hall TOMORROW at 4

District 4 councilmember Richard Leon is hosting a Town Hall type meeting at City Hall in Council Chambers, tomorrow (Monday) at 4:00.  Please join your neighbors and ask questions.  Elections are just around the corner.






Friday, March 24, 2017

Proposed land swap and $13.2 million land purchase, Cape Coral Breeze Letter to the Editor

To the editor:
The proposed land swap would go a long way to substantiate the city's claim that it spent $13.2 million dollars on land, in 2012, to trade and use for future city projects.
The City of Cape Coral owns 1500+ parcels of land. Of those parcels, over 1100 are vacant. The city of Cape Coral cannot legally hold or purchase property for investment purposes. That fact is not subjective; it is part of our Constitution. The city is beginning to appear as though they are real estate speculators.
We need to be reminded that we are not collecting property taxes, fire assessments, storm water, mowing or utility fees on those 1100+ properties. That equates to a tremendous amount of lost revenue annually for the city. In fact, millions of dollars, in potential revenue, has been lost on the 491 parcels that the city acquired in 2012 alone.
Mr. Szerlag has an opportunity to substantiate the city's claims regarding the $13.2 million land purchase, by trading some of the city's property for green space. No one disputes that the city needs green space and that the Old Golf Course would make a great addition to the city's resources. It is a rare occurrence when the city staff, city manager, city council and mayor all agree on a topic. It would be refreshing to see all parties involved move in unison to do something positive for the future of Cape Coral, while honoring the city's past. Please remember that Cape Coral "wasn't born yesterday."
I understand the historic relevance of the Old Country Club and Golf Course property because I was here when the city was being formed. My family moved to Cape Coral in 1970 when I was a young child. To put that into perspective, there were no traffic lights in Cape Coral when my family arrived 47 years ago. It wasn't necessarily "better" back then, it was just "different." Cape Coral is my home town and I am proud of her progress and willingness to welcome new residents from all over the country. It was what the founders, of this city, intended from the very beginning. Every new resident that finds their way to Cape Coral comes from their own "home town." Most of those people have sentimental attachments to their roots. Towns and cities all across America have places of significance or sacred landmarks that define their existence. That is what the old Country Club and Golf Course Property means to Cape Coral. It's where the city founders played, prayed and plotted. It's where they breathed life into this city. In many respects, Cape Coral was born on that property. It deserves our respect and preservation. It's not about walking trails, traffic or zoning. It's about remembering where we came from and acknowledging that some things can't be factored into an "appraisal."
I implore D.R. Horton to take the high road and to demonstrate that Cape Coral is more than just a modern day "Pottersville." I beg of both new and old residents to encourage our leaders to respect the foundation of our beautiful city and to honor her past.
Wendy Blake