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Cape Coral approves mooring field ordinance

June 19, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral now has the ability to regular moorings in the Bimini Basin.

City Council voted 7-0 to establish a mooring field in the South Cape waterbody, an area the city hopes will attract private investment to make it one of the crown jewels of the community.

For development to happen, the water needs to be clean, proponents of the ordinance said, adding poor water quality would be an impediment to future growth.

The ordinance establishes rules, identifies the responsibility of tenants, amenities and services, leasing requirements, speed limits, evacuation plans, expansion plans and provides direction for the area.

Noteworthy regulations include the "515" rule, which is 5 days in, one out, then five more days in within a given month; commercial activities are prohibited (with the exception of pump-out vessels and water taxis); vessels will be removed in advance of special events, and unattended vessels will be removed after 72 hours unless the harbormaster is otherwise advised.

The public had two opportunities in April and May to provide input on the mooring field proposal.

Many were concerned about how many boats would be allowed to anchor there, the impact the then-proposed ordinance would have on the water, noise levels, long-term users and what amenities the field would have.

Representatives of the Cape Coral Sailing Club stated that although they approved of a mooring field ordinance, it was not ready for passage. They said the time limits were too restrictive and appeared to be a hodgepodge of other ordinances.

Councilmember Marilyn Stout's concern was that there was no cost analysis for implementation presented.

"It is hard to support an ordinance when you don't have the cost and when you have stakeholders who have not been included," said Stout, who did eventually vote for the measure. "We can't control Bimini Basin without an ordinance, but there must be some minimum cost to make us more comfortable we can afford this."

The ordinance is a first step. Planning, design and permitting from state and federal agencies are next, followed by construction, the cost of which is not yet known.

In other business:

* The city council also started the process in regards to Seven Islands. Council created a Seven Islands sub-district in the city's Comprehensive Plan, which will be a mixed-use overlay and provide parameters for the site.

* Unanimously approved an impact fee deferral pilot program to help provide more affordable housing for the city.

The parameters would be single-family homes, with a household income less than 120 percent of the area's median income. The buyer's first mortgage can not exceed 30 percent of the projected annual income for the household unless approved by the primary lender.

The program is limited to non-profit housing development programs, Habitat for Humanity and Cape Coral Housing Development Corporation.

Kitty Green of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties said they plan to build more homes in Cape Coral in the coming year.



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