An ordinance granting the Sandoval development certain amendments that would get its next phase, Phase III, off the ground was postponed Monday after modifications were presented by the developer's attorney.
Council voted to continue the ordinance so the developer can go through the process of getting the changes through Planning & Zoning.
The point of contention was a connector that would lead to Pine Island Road. The original ordinance had the connector being built either when Phase IV was set to begin or by Feb. 25, 2016, whichever came first.
The ordinance originally called for an extension of two years, to 2016, a special exception use for model homes, deviations for minimum lot area, granting subdivision and development plan approval.
Staff recommended approval of the ordinance sponsored by Councilmember Lenny Nesta.
But when Charles Basinait, attorney for Cape Coral Development Associates, which owns the property where Phase IV will be built, took to the microphone, he approached the dais and presented the council with a new proposal, which would change the date for the connector.
The change didn't specify the exact date, but it was pinned to the completion of Phase IV, sometime in 2022. Council expressed concern.
"I planned to support it, but I can't support these changes tonight. I have concerns," said Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz. "It's a false statement to say 'I'm sorry' I'm doing this, because you did at the 11th hour."
Councilmember Marty McClain was especially annoyed that the trigger date was moved to "no certain date," especially when the city is ready to expand Pine Island Road.
"We went to great lengths to have a discussion. I was willing to support what we had committed to take time for," Councilmember Derrick Donnell said. "I will not support adding things on a piece of paper."
Sandoval homeowner Jeff Torno was most outspoken about the need for a new connector.
"We need a third entrance on Pine Island. It's a safety issue," Torno said. "The market will drive what happens to Phase IV. Phase IV may never happen in our lifetime. We may never get an entrance without Phase IV."
Basinait asked for a 10-minute recess to confer with his client, after which it was agreed the ordinance would be continued to the June 11 council meeting so the add-ons could go through the proper channels.
The motion was made to continue and passed unanimously.
"We made changes to the Planned Development Project to attach construction of the connector to Phase IV development and they were concerned at the last-minute change," Basinait said. "They need to look at it again because they hadn't seen the changes before."
"There was a reluctance of council to negotiate from the dais. We did it once before and we were here till 5 a.m.," Councilmember Kevin McGrail said. "Residents said they want the connector and they won't wait for sales to improve."