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Council to again discuss citywide land use changes

July 18, 2019
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Cape Coral City Council on Monday will once again consider sweeping land use changes the city hopes will spur responsible development, both residential and commercial.

City council will hold the first of two public hearings on two separate land use and zoning ordinances for individual properties constituting a total of about 1,700 acres, an issue that has draw resident comment, both good and bad, all year.

Councilmember John Gunter said he believes this time will be the charm, especially with so many projects on the horizon for this fast-growing city.

"We've resolved many of the issues concerning multi-family units. I was pushing for not making it so dense and that if you want to go for higher density you would have to through a hearing process," Gunter said. "I won't say we won't have to go back and fine tune it after the fact because this is a massive overhaul, but it's a move in the right direction."

Councilmember John Carioscia said these types of things are difficult to understand, and he will rely on the expertise of city staff to help him make his decision.

"We've set the rules for areas that buttress residential communities. We're no dropping 30 units in single-family areas," Carioscia said. "We're going to be careful where we put multi-family units. Who wants to live somewhere where 32 units are on the corner?"

In January, residents in the "Four Corners" section of the city at the intersection of Agualinda Boulevard and Beach Parkway, expressed concern over the potential for high-density multi-family housing on all four corners of the road.

City Council eventually decided that all zoning and land use decisions would be made in separate ordinances.

In the northwest Cape, neighbors worried about what would become of Old Burnt Store Road and whether a land use change would result in dollar stores and pharmacies at major intersections.

And in the southeast Cape, though its highly developed, there are areas along Del Prado Boulevard that had been designated for commercial but are residential that the city needs to consider for consistency's sake.

City staff has been working to update its zoning regulations by eliminating some, adding others, and making it so development doesn't occur where it doesn't belong.

It also wants to allow the city to be "fast, fair and predictable" with its development so contractors don't have to go through a mile of red tape.

Mayor Joe Coviello said the development community is very excited about the changes.

"There are quite a few projects on the shelf waiting for the streamlining processes to take place so they can complete them in a timely manner," Coviello said. "The net result will be a streamlined process by the city to be more friendly to commercial and multi-family housing."

The second and final public hearing date will be Monday, Aug. 5.

 
 

 

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