Each week through the general election, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. This week's question is: What is your view on residential parking restrictions in the Cape pertaining to commercial vehicles and trailers? To boats and RVs? How would you address what some perceive as unequal enforcement of current regulations - i.e. primarily on a complaint basis? How does your position fit into your views on private property rights in general?
MARNI LIN SAWICKI
No solution will satisfy all parties. I understand and agree with the ordinance in order to maintain the quality of life our city is accustomed to; however, with the changing demographics of the city, establishing a task force of city staff, residents, and business owners to address concerns regarding commercial vehicles might make sense. Use of permits may be one way to assure uniformity. Those recommendations should be brought to Council for discussion. Code enforcement must be fair and equitable; however, we must have sufficient personnel to accomplish this. I will work with the City Manager to determine an equitable solution that does not lead to the impression that enforcement is biased-based.
JOHN J. SULLIVAN (incumbent)
The issue of parking commercial vehicles and trailers on residential properties has been a long-standing controversy in Cape Coral. I respect the rights of residential property owners to live in a quiet, uncluttered environment. At the same time I understand the needs of commercial vehicle and trailer owners to store and access their vehicles. Perhaps part of the solution can be for the City to designate and utilize parcels of City owned surplus land for parking and storage of commercial vehicles and trailers outside of residential areas. This is certainly an issue I will continue to work to achieve an amicable solution for as Mayor.
JAMES (JIM) BURCH
The Founding Fathers of Cape Coral chose to build a City that was very pristine and based upon the restrictions set forth, also, very upscale. That vision has served us to the point that we are a community of cleanliness and desirability. Times do change; however, and some of the original restrictions are burdensome to our demographics and many have been changed as a result. I, for one, do not want a boat or RV parked in my neighbor's yard or driveway on a permanent basis, that's what waterfront property and RV lots are for. I would be insensitive to a neighbor that has a pick up truck with a company logo; however, as that is the lifeline of many of our residents. As to enforcement of code violations, I'm not sure there is any better way than a complaint based investigation. At the end of the day, this City Moves Forward when all residents respect each others right to live a decent life without interfering with their neighbors rights to do the same.
DAVID R. HEADD
This is a question that has no right answer. A number of years ago I championed the right to have a pickup parked in your driveway and a number of my colleagues thought the town was going to be unfit to live in. Needless to say their dire predictions did not come true.
In my course of work, I travel to areas outside of Cape Coral that to neighborhoods that have no restrictions and the results are not appealing to the eye. I am not opposed to minor tweaking of the ordinance but I do feel some regulation is necessary.
CHRIS N. CHULAKES-LEETZ (incumbent)
I believe we can sit down and discuss the issue at length and determine if we as a city can work on some of the restrictions pertaining to the smaller "work" vehicles. I believe there is room for improvement that would relax some restrictions pertaining to some work vehicles.
Our code enforcement has done a wonderful job in keeping our community as beautiful as it is. While it is important to follow up with complaints from residents, it too is also just as equally important that code enforcement keep a look out for violations while respecting homeowners property rights.
KEVIN M. McGRAIL (incumbent)
"It's MY home and I can do anything I want on MY property!" This is at the heart of this week's question. No one would argue about health and safety issues (can't dump motor oil down the storm drain) but how about aesthetics? This is at the core of what it means to live in a community. You "trade" certain freedoms to have some measure of certainty that this is how your neighborhood will look, now and into the future. Cape Coral's Code of Ordinances is our collective desire to control what our City will look like. We have seen the eventual decline of surrounding communities without a strong code compliance division. My 4 years in office have proven to me, it is the desire of the majority of our residents NOT to "junk down" Cape Coral to satisfy the wishes of the residents who want to save money by storing their "stuff" in their yards and driveways. You and I chose to live in Cape Coral because it is a clean and safe city that has the codes in place to keep it that way.
The city needs to revisit many old ordinances, including those pertaining to boats, trailers and commercial vehicles parking. Patchwork regulations and spotty enforcement don't work well and are unfair.
Cape Coral has over 400 miles of waterways. We want to promote business growth and construction. We need to find better ways to accommodate pleasure boats and RVs, as well as business and commercial vehicle signage in neighborhoods.
Code enforcement is stricter on main thoroughfares than on side roads. I favor more equal and equitable enforcement that is uniform across the city. While complaints should be investigated and violations uniformly enforced, I'd prefer a more proactive approach to identifying noncompliance. I strongly support private property rights and feel property owners should be able to do as they please on their property, so long as they are not adversely affecting their neighbors' property rights or values.
Voter registration, early voting
* Voter registration:
Applications are available
online at www.leeelections.com,
at all Lee County libraries, and other locations including Cape Coral City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce at 2051 Cape Coral Parkway, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, and all Lee County Supervisor of Elections offices including the one in the Cape at 1031 S.E. 9th Place,
Suite 3. A full list is available at www.leeelections.com.
* Early voting locations:
- Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office 1031 S.E. 9th Place, Suite 3 (behind the Lee County Government Center).
- Lee County Elections Main Office at the Constitutional Complex in Fort Myers at 2480 Thompson St., third floor.
* City of Cape Coral
General Election: Nov. 5
Voter Registration Book
closed: Oct. 7
Early voting Oct. 28-31, Nov. 1-2.
Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan,citywide elections meaning registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.