Question of the Week, Week 13: Zoning and land use regulations
Each week through the General Election, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response.
This week’s question is: The city of Cape Coral has done a broad overwrite of its zoning and land use regulations. How will this impact the city for the good and/or the bad?
I believe city staff and council members did a good job on the city-wide zoning changes. Resident concerns were addressed, and I was impressed by the size of the project and the increase in commercial property opportunities. I would suggest that the city implement the restrictions it placed on the Pine Island corridor be extended to all major streets in the city especially the Burnt Store corridor. I live in SW Cape Coral and we do not need multiple storage facilities located within a 1/4 mile of each other on major roads such as Chiquita where other commercial projects would create more jobs and add more value to the city.
The Good: To enhance development, road blocks were removed from the process with a more streamlined approach to encourage development.
The Bad: A negative example would be housing units per acre would go from 16 to 24. That would allow apartment and condo structures to be built in place of duplexes up to multiplexes. Which, in most cases, duplexes up to multiplexes do not have HOAs to care for their property. A positive in this situation with large structures is having an HOA where landscaping and upkeep are done on a routine basis.
Given the size of the overwrite the city did a nice job.
Residents spoke against multiple planned changes; Council listened and did not accept changes that would have allowed Multifamily use to be placed in the middle of established residential areas. We still see some minor tweaking taking place and being discussed at Council meetings. Commercial areas were created as well. More should be done and can be done in this area
Until the UEP comes up Burnt Store Road, lots of commercial property be will sitting empty. The Pine Island corridor use must be applied to Burnt Store Road now.
For the good, it makes land use and zoning regulations more consistent and eliminates deficiencies that existed on the future land use map. It also provides a better way for more multi-family housing to come into the area — something needed to create more attainable housing options. The new land use codes also create additional opportunities for more commercial development. With any land use changes of this size that same consistency resulting from this overhaul must be applied to the decisions made by staff and council for any new major residential or commercial development. Those developments must conform to the new codes and be right for the environment and character of the area.
Louis C. Navarra
Very difficult question. Looking at maps it is a drastic change from what the Cape founders the Rosens planned. This was supposed to be basically a residential community; it was call a “planned retirement community.” Bad/Good who knows? COVID-19 will play a role in development. The plans are nice but do we need 8- story condos, more shops, businesses, traffic? They seem to take away our residential property in zoning rewrite. I am not in favor of that.
I believe that the overwrite the city has done in land use and zoning will help attract commercial growth within the city, and that is a good thing. Although it is not perfect, the steps that were taken along the Pine Island Road and Burnt Store Road corridors are putting the city along the right path for the future.
Jessica Cosden, incumbent
I always ask myself three questions when considering a change to Land Use or Zoning regulations: Does it improve quality of life for residents? Is it sustainable and safe? Does it make it easier to run a business? I cast my “Yes” vote on the massive overhaul to the Land Use and Development Regulations because the answer was “Yes” to all 3 questions. It took some clarifications and tweaks, but the rewrite ultimately removed ancient terminology, updated important definitions, and created an environment for more commerce and multi-family housing in the appropriate places. It takes time to accurately measure the effects of large-scale changes like this, but I am confident that the rewrite will have an overall positive benefit for Cape Coral.
Dr. Derrick Donnell
During my second term in office, city council approved a development services and organizational review. Many citizens commonly refer to this as the “Zucker Report.” The Land Use and Development Regulations (LUDR) was one of the key priority areas that was evaluated. The “good” impact of the evaluation was that there were seven recommendations made to the city to ensure efficiency and consistency. The implementation of these recommendations clears up the language so that it is easier for both the customers to understand and for the staff to administer. I do not see a “bad” impact from the LUDR recommendations.