Work this week began on a controversial gas station on Del Prado Boulevard that nearby residents had protested and that the Planning & Zoning Commission almost rejected last November.
The new RaceTrac service station is located at 2607 Del Prado where Steve Westphal's Auto Showcase used to sit.
The service station will be a "prototype" 6,000-square-foot convenience store with 20 gas pumps and is expected to be completed in December.
"It's similar to the new RaceTracs that have gone up. It has a larger footprint," said Ted Gadoury, project manager for J.L. Wallace, the contractor for the project. "RaceTrac is taking a more all-around approach where before they were just gas sales."
Gadoury said the store will be similar to the one on Northeast 3rd Place on the other side of town, and should feature items such as gourmet coffee, frozen yogurt and beer caves, making for a more all-around convenience store.
But the project almost didn't see the light of day. In November, the Planning & Zoning Commission barely passed by a 4-3 vote a request to build the service station, limited use in a pedestrian commercial zone.
Residents and nearby business owners had protested the move, according to the minutes of that meeting.
Phil Parsons of the Everest Homeowners Association said at the meeting that a gas station on the access to 900 homes was inappropriate for the neighborhood, stating traffic concerns on Everest Parkway.
Fellow association member Bonnie Stickney sites concerns that included spot zoning, land use, site review information and its proximity to nursing homes, where patients would have to endure the noise and smell.
Arive Met, owner of a nearby BP station, worried that a station close to his proximity would hurt his business and create unemployment.
One resident, Mohammed Rofiq, approved the plan, saying it would bring in new business.
During deliberations, P&Z Vice Chairman Frank Triscari asked to hold off on a decision, citing concern about the transportation issue.
However, Commissioner Steve Cristaldi said the Everest Parkway/ Del Prado intersection needed work anyway and that Cape Coral had a shortage of gas stations.
Gadoury, whose company has only been involved with the project for about a month, said he is only concerned now with getting the store built.
"I know there were some people questioning it. But that part isn't our part," Gadoury said.