Despite protests from some neighbors, a site at 2441 Surfside Blvd. was unanimously approved for rezoning by Cape Coral City Council during Monday's regular meeting at City Hall.
The property, located near the intersection at Veterans Parkway on the southeast side, will be designated as P-1, Professional Office Building, instead of single-family housing on four lots in the 5900 Block, and from residential development to P-1 on Tract A, Block 5900 and all of Block 5910.
City staff said during its presentation to council that a potential 36,000-square-foot office building could be built there, cattycorner from the Surfside Shopping Center.
As it would be P-1, there would be limited use for the building, with perhaps the most commercial development being a coffee shop.
Neighbors had complained that a new building would put more pressure on already congested roads at the intersection, leading to more dangerous driving.
In the end, council said with the need for more commercial development in the city and the fact the land was now sellable, it had to approve.
"We're taking a property and bringing it into compliance, which makes it easier to sell," Councilmember Marty McClain said of matching the zoning to the area's land use designation. "We need commercial properties.
"You won't see a large intersection without huge commercial development," Councilmember Kevin McGrail said.
During public comment during the quasi-judicial hearing Bill Indelli, an opponent of the rezoning, complained he did not receive proper notification, just a postcard.
"Nobody was aware of what was happening. I bought the property thinking it would stay residential," Indelli said, who closed on his property in October 2011.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said the property has been an issue for years and that it hadn't been rezoned because because it was in foreclosure and now owned by the bank.
"You hit a donut-hole. If you did research, you would have seen this," Chulakes-Leetz said. "I suggest you settle with the bank because in order for the land to be developed, they need your help."
McGrail, also warned that you need to be aware of land-use changes and suggested forming a neighborhood association so when something is finally ready to be built, it's something they can live with.
The council approved the ordinance 8-0.
In other business, there was another quasi-judicial hearing amending Phase III of the Sandoval development, which would add 5.1 acres within the area, grant deviations for minimum lot area and for minimum front, rear and side setback requirements.
This hearing was much shorter and council unanimously approved the related ordinance.
Council also heard a resolution authorizing Mayor John Sullivan to execute an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation for installation of sidewalks on Academy Boulevard from Nicholas Parkway to Veterans Parkway.
That will come up for a final vote on March 18.