developer hard hat.jpgThe News-Press recently reported that the City of Cape Coral and Lee County are proposing changes to their land use and development regulations in order to be more flexible in how property is developed and redeveloped.

In the City of Cape Coral, new land use and development regulations concerning South Cape Coral were unanimously passed by the City’s planning and zoning committee in June. The new regulations are part of the 2030 Vision Plan and will remove obstacles, such as committee hearings and unpredictable requirements, to developers obtaining approval of their projects in hopes of saving months from the development and permitting timeline.

John Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Cape Coral Community Redevelopment Agency, stated there have been times when owners/developers have spent hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on design and related fees, which could prove worthless if a committee rejects a developer at the last stage in the review process. The new regulations should eliminate unpredictable requirements and therefore, save developers time and money.

The Cape Coral City Council held a public hearing on the new regulations on August 20, 2012. A final public hearing is scheduled for September 10, 2012, when the Council will vote on the new regulations.

In Lee County, the Lee County Department of Community Development has been working on revisions to parking requirements for new developments in order to provide more flexibility to developers. The News-Press reported that Lisa Sands, advisor for Fort Myers-based VIP Realty-Commercial, stated “I’m pleased with the county working with the commercial real estate community and recognizing the need to change with the times.” The proposed changes will not only save developers money and provide them with more flexibility, but will also benefit the environment by decreasing the amount of impervious pavement required and therefore allow more water to seep into the ground.

A public hearing to approve the changes will be held on September 11 by the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

In our representation of developers and owners with development applications and due diligence matters, we have encountered situations where parking and development regulations have prevented the developer from pursuing the desired use of the property. I am hopeful the changes will facilitate more development in Cape Coral and Lee County, as development is needed for this area to continue to recover from the real estate downturn.

Our firm is available to assist property owners and developers with development and  due diligence matters, including development applications and permitting approvals.