If a proposed gas station on the corner of Cape Coral Parkway and Skyline Boulevard is going to be built, it won't happen without a fight.
This week, more than 50 residents filed a Request for Appeal to the City Council over the approval made by Planning and Zoning for construction of a convenience store and gas station.
The petitioners claim a gas station, at 801-809 Cape Coral Pkwy. West, which will stand on a .63 acre site on the northeast corner of that intersection, is too intense for the area, that it violates the city's zoning standards, and its proximity to water that could spoil the recreational water atmosphere.
"That intersection is the gateway to a thousand homes. People have to use that intersection to get in and out of that neighborhood," said resident Tom Kotowski. "If the first impression someone sees of a neighborhood is a gas station, they'll say no."
The five-page petition sent to council gave myriad of reasons why the proposed business should not be built. Among them are:
- The lot size of .63 acres, a small fraction of what most stores sit on;
- More intensive land use than intended;
- An increase in traffic accidents and crime;
- Environmental risks and the spoilage of the Eight Lakes Residential and Water Recreational Area.
Kotowski added he doesn't see the need for another gas station in Cape Coral on an intersection he says is already dangerous.
"There are 55 gas stations in Cape Coral and a gas station within 1.5 miles in either direction," Kotowski. "There's one accident a month at that intersection and convenience stores are the cause of known bad behaviors and most accidents are caused by bad decisions."
The 2,940-square-foot convenience store would include a gas canopy with four pumps. The back of the store would also buttress some condominiums.
Councilmember John Carioscia is familiar with the arguments of those in opposition..
"Unlike most stations on a larger property, they want a lot the size of a postage stamp to stick a 7-Eleven. With all the exceptions required, doesn't that tell you this doesn't belong?" Carioscia said.
The city council approved the zoning change from professional to commercial in January 6-2, overturning Planning and Zoning Commission's denial. Some council members had reservations to putting a gas station there.
The P&Z approved the project, with conditions, 4-3 on Sept. 5.
Among the reasons for approval was the need for more available gas in the city during emergencies, the need for more commercial businesses and jobs, and the station itself would buffer the noise from the intersection.
It wasn't enough for P&Z chairperson Patti Martin.
"I respect the developer who got it approved. I felt it wasn't compatible," Martin said. "I respect the neighborhood. There are four bodies of water within the notification radius."
The group made its appeal Tuesday, well within the 30-day timeframe.
"We're waiting for a council date and hopefully, council will have a change of heart and won't allow a variance or special exception," Carioscia said.
The property is owned by Paul Kleeman, who lives in Clearwater, and will be developed by Dan Creighton of Creighton Commercial Development of Cape Coral.
Creighton did not return calls by press time.
Carioscia beleives the voices of the petitioners will be heard.
"Elected officials are impressed and intimidated by a show of unity," Carioscia said. "Four councilmen who will be up for reelection next year will see that."