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Cape Coral council to settle battle over empty lot zoning

Posted at 8:52 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 23:20:38-04

CAPE CORAL, FLA — In the middle of the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Parkway and Skyline Boulevard in Cape Coral, sits an empty lot that's become a battlefield of sorts.

The fight is over what should be allowed to be built on the land.

Right now, it's zoned for commercial property or businesses, but the owners want to change it to a multifamily residential property.

"And they told us specifically that they'd like to put three-story apartment buildings on the site," said Bill Shields who lives in the neighborhood.

The landowners, Traf LLC, didn't return our request for an interview but told us that they've gotten mixed reviews from neighbors.

But after knocking on 20 doors on both sides of the property Tuesday, we got a different consensus.

"Well as a homeowner I'm concerned about the safety of the neighborhood that's the most important part to me. And then second of all decreasing home values and then third the traffic and other things," said Shields.

"Don't want it. I been through this before in Columbus, OH, we bought a house and there was an empty field behind it and then the next thing you know they're throwing in these apartments and I ain't saying all renters are bad, but the crime rate went way up," said Douglas Francisco who lives in the neighborhood.

The Cape Coral city council will discuss this issue at Wednesday's meeting and ultimately make the final call.

Many of the people that FOX 4 spoke to Tuesday say they'll be there to voice their concerns and ask a few follow-up questions.

"Why is it that multifamily is the only thing that will be considered? Why can't single-family homes be considered? What kinds of commercial properties do they think might be put here if it's left commercial and/or professional?" said Shields.

That said, the landowners and the city's community development department will also get a chance to speak on the issue.

According to the meeting agenda, the city's community development department is also not in favor of the move to rezone the land, because they think the city is running out of commercial space.

Wednesday's meeting starts at 4:30 p.m.