The Cape Coral City Council is considering a proposal that would allow people to store their boats and boat trailers on the side of their homes.
Boats are currently only allowed in Cape Coral backyards. Those in favor of the proposal believe it will make things easier for homeowners with boats, but others have concerns.
Councilman Robert Welsh proposed the change.
“I wanted to bring this forward to maybe loosen some of the restrictions to where you’re not trying to navigate a boat along the side of your house to the rear of your house,” Welsh said.
Welsh says the inconvenience of homeowners only being allowed to park boats or boat trailers behind their homes has grown as more empty lots have welcomed new construction.
Despite this, Councilman Bill Steinke says the rule change could impact emergency safety.
“There’s, I believe, a 3-foot requirement that allows people to get in and out of a house, and it allows public safety officials, firefighters, police officers the ability to get into a home,” Steinke said.
Steinke says that safety requirements wouldn’t be met if a boat or boat trailer were to be parked next to a home.
“For the most part, that takes away from the safety of that home,” Steinke said. “You’re also putting combustible materials right next to the home.”
Mayor John Gunter says Fire Chief Ryan Lamb sent a letter sharing the dangers of storing fuel, even contained in a boat, mere inches from people’s homes. Every council member except Welsh seemed to agree it isn’t worth the risk.
Welsh says he will make some amendments based on Wednesday’s discussion to bring the proposed ordinance back at a later date.