On November 20, 2023, the Fort Myers City Council took a significant step toward amending the city’s Land Development Code. The proposed changes, presented during the council’s meeting, cover a wide range of issues—from new zoning categories to food truck regulations.
Below are a few key highlights and potential implications of these proposed revisions.
- New zoning categories. One of the major topics involved the creation of new zoning categories; focusing on both residential and commercial developments. For residential areas, the Council contemplated the introduction of a high-density multifamily zoning district allowing 25 units per acre. This district is expected to apply to Traditional Community and Corridor Commercial Future Land Use classifications.
- New commercial zoning district. On the commercial front, a new zoning district—“Commercial Intensive Non-Residential”—is being considered. This district would exclude residential uses and some commercial activities from the list of permitted and conditional uses. The goal here is to streamline commercial development by providing a clear distinction between projects with and without residential components.
- Food truck regulations. Another noteworthy proposal addresses food truck regulations. Here, the proposal seeks to modify the spatial environment adjacent to each truck by requiring new food trucks to maintain a distance of 300 feet from other food vending vehicles. This doubles the existing requirement. Existing food trucks are exempt and may remain at a distance of 150 feet from other vehicles, but new ones must adhere to the 300-foot rule after the ordinance becomes effective. It is important to note that this change does not apply to food truck parks—only individual operators.
- Site screening. In an effort to enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the city, a proposal for citywide construction site screening requirements was offered. This would require the installation of a 6-foot, screened-in fence. The intention is to create a more visually appealing cityscape while minimizing any potential disturbances associated with construction sites. Site screening requirements are not intended to be retroactive.
- Fence height requirements. To ensure clarity and consistency, the proposed amendments also include a clarification of maximum fence heights. For residential uses, the maximum fence height is 6 feet; while commercial and industrial uses may have a maximum fence height of 10 feet. This small change provides clear guidelines for property owners and developers.
As proposed amendments to the Development Code move forward, it is essential for residents, developers, and stakeholders to stay informed. The second public hearing, scheduled for December 4, 2023, will play a critical role in shaping the future development landscape of Fort Myers.