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Election 2017 Question of the week: Housing options

September 15, 2017
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Each week through the primary, 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. As you review the races, please note that Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan, citywide elections. This means all registered voters can cast a ballot in each race, no matter party affiliation, no matter the district in which they live.

The ninth Question of the Week is: Housing in Cape Coral is predominately single-family residential with the standard three bedroom, two bath, two car garage home being the norm. Should the city look at diversifying housing options? Do "tiny houses," high rises, apartment complexes or other options have a place in the mix?

MAYOR'S RACE:

- Joe Coviello: Cape Coral was designed as a single-family residential community and that makes our city unique This should remain our primary source of housing. I am not in favor of tiny houses on residential lots. However, rising property values and rental housing costs are making it more difficult for citizens to pursue the American Dream here in Cape Coral. Affordability needs to be addressed through diversifying our housing options. Changing some of the land use development regulations can accommodate more affordable multifamily dwellings while maintaining a clean and desirable look in our city.

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- Derrick Donnell: I clearly understand the importance of the traditional single-family home owner to our City. I will continue to support policies that help residents preserve their homes and communities. I also have an open mind regarding the possibility of diversifying our housing options. I am open to housing option discussions that include apartment complexes, tiny houses and high rises. The most important part of these discussions will be to ensure that IF we do allow these options, they must be deployed in specific compatible areas. Regardless of the option, everyone must pay their fair share without negatively impacting other homeowners.

* * *

- Rana Erbrick: A diversified housing market is something that site selectors look for and with the changing life style choices something that is in limited supply in Cape Coral. A mixture of options that appeal to all is needed. The current Land Use Development Regulations is taking the shifting housing market into consideration and looking for trends and allowing for flexibility for the future.

* * *

- April Freeman: Yes, the city should look at diversifying housing options. I also believe high rises and apartment complexes in appropriate areas should be in the mix.

However, due to structural issues with "tiny houses" and in light of potential storms like the category 5 hurricane Irma that is threatening Cape Coral this weekend, we need to be extra careful about approving housing that could put our residents and first responders in unnecessary danger.

* * *

- Michael D. Hollow: Tiny homes are conceptually fine, practically they have no place in Cape Coral. Essentially Council wants to change the minimum square footage of a single family home. Here is one issue that needs to be examined.

If a tiny home is assessed at $75K (assuming the property is Homesteaded), and the Homestead Exemption is increased to $75K, that property is only responsible for FSA and PST taxes. We will have an influx on the systems. These homes will only be able to be built in places there is currently city water and sewer.

Our focus needs to be attracting careers that are higher paying, not compromising our future.

* * *

- Kevin Koch: As far as residential housing is concerned, Cape Coral should feature more upscale multifamily housing with access to retail stores and restaurants nearby. We are all sick of the run down duplexes and quadplexes lining our streets. We need less residential home after residential home and we need to start zoning like we are an actual city and not a retirement community from the 1970s.

* * *

- Daniel James Sheppard III: Yes. I believe all housing types have possibilities in certain locations if it adds value to our city. This will also depend on future housing market demands and if each one could be marketable with our existing taxes, assessments minimum utility bills and codes, and in no way blights existing housing. It must be a asset to our community.

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DISTRICT 1

- Jim Burch (Incumbent): Mr. Burch has withdrawn from the race; he is no longer running.

* * *

- James Frederick Foraker: We should always be looking at diversifying the housing structure with the exception of "tiny houses." Placed in the proper areas apartments and condos can serve the needs of different segments of our population. The key to this is zoning. Apartments and condos can fit into our city if they are placed in appropriate areas. I do not feel that "tiny houses" are a fit for Cape Coral. They are not a solution to affordable housing and do not fit in our city.

* * *

- John Gunter: During my 30 year business career, I have seen projects with "Mix Use" that were great projects. A project with smaller condo units, retail shops, restaurants, etc., at the same location could be a great project for varies locations within our city. A project similar to this could help our issue with affordable housing, and it will fit it nicely within our community. Like so many other issues, we must first define exactly what "tiny houses" are before we can address them. In designing of any project, if we can identify our needs, and find solutions, it will only help our city with smart growth.

* * *

- Graham Madison Morris: I'm not for anything residential that is on wheels or chassis-built being established in our code but could it be more flexible? Could demands in the market change and trends show up from time to time that are looked at for possibility in the Cape? The answer is likely a "yes" for both. I am most concerned with the overall future layout of the city. It isn't WHAT is developed so much as it is WHERE other things apart from the norm of single-family homes are zoned and permitted. The "where" things develop must be harmonious with the surrounding area, not disruptive, and not have a negative effect on others' property values.

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DISTRICT 4

- Jeffrey Alan Jones: Although single family homes are usually a standard home 3/2/2/ in Cape Coral, diversifying housing options (HUD) or its equivalent such a section 8 be more utilized?

I believe if an option was on the table, first time homebuyers (pre-purchase) workshops should be a requirement for potential homebuyers who need to learn about the down payment and closing costs. These are financial factors which must be included that sometimes buyers forget. The homebuyer must also learn the process of purchasing a home, as well as budgeting, savings and credit.

Tiny homes are a nice option but I do not believe they belong in Cape Coral. Minimum home size regulations must be adhered to.

* * *

- Richard Leon (Incumbent): Our community should always look at new opportunities to diversify the residential component of Cape Coral. The question then becomes if we implement the new styles or not. All communities across the country have stages of evolution. Keeping an open mind and community discussion will be the key if and when we move forward.

* * *

- Jennifer I. Nelson: Due to the city's changing demographics, we should review diversifying our housing options to reflect our average household income of $55,000-60,000. We should consider the recommended benchmark per most financial advisors for a 25-30 percent of rent/ mortgage expense to income and build housing that fits our mean household income. The trend of "Tiny Homes" does not fit our current demographic as the initial concept for this fad was to have these types of homes be mobile. We currently have our version of tiny homes with fish houses and hunting camps that support the outdoor activities most popular in our region.

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DISTRICT 5 (General Election ballot only)

- James Schneider: I view this option of diversity in housing from three sides, that of a Realtor of 35 years and 3 years as P & Z Commissioner here, and as a potential council member. I have always stated that 7 Islands needs to be a P3 mixed use development, mid-rises, waterside gazebo space for public use/events, and pull in a high quality restaurant or a Trader Joe's. NE/NW need condos, both reasonable and high end. Throughout this city, we have the opportunity to smartly modify zoning to enhance optional housing and get away from feeling like a Sears or Levittown community.

* * *

- Dave Stokes: Cape Coral is experiencing record growth and now has the most residents in our history. Cape Coral is now the fastest growing community in the United States. We currently have single family homes, townhouses, apartments and condominiums. I have been a resident of Cape Coral since 2002 and have seen the boom, the bust and now the resurgence of our housing market. Above all we need to make sure our infrastructure/roads are ready for the influx of new residents and businesses. We need to do careful planning and hear from current residents/businesses before making major changes.

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DISTRICT 6 (General Election ballot only)

- John Karcher: The answer to affordable housing: Bring in jobs that pay a livable wage, not building tiny houses. Sell all City "non-essential property" to businesses (surely they know what's needed after 5 years).

Fund the newest commercial corridor, Burnt Store Rd. Use a bond if needed to fund the project and begin running utilities up BSR now. By the time BSR is completed, the utilities will be there and can be activated. Stop making excuses and execute our new main road to I-75. It's time to bring career jobs to Cape Coral that will allow families to stay here.

* * *

- Rick Williams (Incumbent):

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Important dates

PRIMARY, Oct. 3, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. NEW DATE

* Voter Registration Book Closes - Closed Aug. 14

* Early Voting (primary election) -Sept 28-30; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. NEW DATES

- Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office, 1031 S.E. 9th Place Unit 3

- Cape Coral Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace

- GENERAL, Nov. 7, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

* Voter Registration Book Closes, Oct. 10

* Early Voting (general election), Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1-4

- Lee County Elections Cape Coral Branch Office, 1031 S.E. 9th Place Unit 3

- Cape Coral Library, 921 S.W. 39th Terrace

- 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 Unit 3 A full list is available at www.leeelections.com.

 
 
 

 

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