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Seawall measure passes, but builders displeased

February 13, 2018
By CHUCK?BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Cape Coral City will allow the construction of alternative forms of seawall construction, such as vinyl but some say the municipality did not go far enough.

Cape Coral City Council balked at the use of a specific proposal the board felt did not conform with the traditional way seawalls have been built, resulting in a 6-2 vote that left those in the industry protesting the decision.

Council heard from Paul Clinghan, Public Works director, and Vince Cautero, Department of Community Development director, about how the city has used concrete panels and caps on seawalls about as long as the city has been in existence.

However, Hurricane Irma caused the failure of numerous seawalls, the result being a huge repair expense for homeowners.

The decision to allow alternative seawall construction came down to precast concrete panels, where vinyl serves as the mold as concrete is poured into them; cast-in-place concrete in vinyl forms, which are installed in front of existing seawalls or new construction; and cast-in-place with corrugated vinyl sheeting.

Other seawalls, such as wood, steel, stone and rip-rap, were not considered.

During discussion, Councilmember John Gunter said he didn't like the corrugated vinyl, saying it looked unlike the traditional walls.

"We need to have a second option for homeowners, but we have to look at aesthetics. I agree with vinyl seawalls, but not corrugated. We need to make them look similar to what they have been for 50 years," Gunter said.

Councilmember Jessica Cosden said there needed to be more options, which included corrugated. She and Rick Williams voted against the measure when the final resolution omitted the corrugated vinyl.

"I was for the resolution as stated, but when they eliminated the corrugated I hoped it would fail and they could vote on the resolution as stated," Williams said. "They did a lot of work to put this together. The contractors were here and this is what they wanted, the three options. When they took one out, I was against that."

That decision left supporters of the ordinance, who had been sure they would get unanimous approval, unhappy.

"The city council for aesthetic reasons didn't like the corrugated vinyl. They want just the flat. There are places where the corrugated allows additional structural enhancements and is less expensive," said Joe Mazurkiewicz. "The Council made a decision not knowing it is significantly higher for many of their constituents."

"They gave us a different answer from what they said two hours ago," said Bill Johnson Jr., executive director of the CCCIA. "We had people here stating both applications are more than adequate and meet structural engineering designs, and they're basing it on aesthetics."

Gunter said he wanted to address a problem the citizens were having in regards of getting equipment back there to do the work.

"This was a solution to that to keep the expense down while keeping the aesthetics of the city similar," Gunter said.



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