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Get buffer built

February 4, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cape Coral City Council indicated this week that a majority will likely support a landscaped screening wall around the Everest Water Reclamation Plant.

It's about time - area property owners have been pleading for the buffer for a decade.

Residents say the plant is an eyesore, a "mess" in the midst of their neighborhood of well-kept homes.

The issue, of course, has been money.

Previous estimates put the cost of building a paneled wall and landscaping it as high as $1.6 million, a pretty hefty price that would have been passed on to ratepayers already unhappy with their city utility bills.

The real estate bust and resulting drop in labor and material costs for new construction, however, has brought that price down to $632,000 for the wall with another $129,000 for the plantings. Call it a quarter-million plus, still a sizeable chunk of change.

We do feel for the neighboring property owners, though, as well as for the Cape's various commercial developers who have been required to adhere to stringent buffering requirements, facade mandates, and landscaping edicts.

For the private sector, these city-mandated add-ons are deemed appropriate as a cost of doing business in and around the neighborhoods private enterprise hopes to service.

The city itself, meanwhile, dances around the same required enhancements to its public structures - actually, in the case of the Everest plant, operating on long-extended temporary certificates of operation as a permanent CO requires the very wall and landscaping requirements the city has put off.

We commend our municipal government for looking at expenses. We suggest, though, that its officials look more to the luxury gewgaws and fripperies that have drawn the bite of the Cape's fiscal watchdogs rather than required features.

There have been more than a few.

Build the buffer. It's long overdue.

- Breeze editorial



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