On June 27, 2016, Lee County staff presented a series of proposed Land Development Code (LDC) amendments to the Local Planning Agency (LPA). Of significant importance, were staff’s proposed amendments to LDC Sections 2-45 through 2-46 and Sections 66-76, which specifically impact the County’s current provisions governing its “Proportionate Fair-Share” and Concurrency programs. In addition, as a companion amendment, staff has proposed a complete revision to the Administrative Code (AC) 13-16.

The Purposes for the Proposed LDC and AC Amendments

According to staff, the purposes behind the proposed changes are:
Continue Reading Lee County Local Planning Agency to Consider Proposed Amendments to its Proportionate Fair-Share Program

clock via George Vnoucek Flickr Creative CommonsIn 2011, Florida enacted section 252.363, Florida Statutes, a law which grants certain permits and authorizations an extension for the amount of time a declared state of emergency was in effect, plus an additional 6 months.

Important Executive Orders

Following Governor Scott’s recent declarations of emergency, many throughout Southwest Florida now have an opportunity to extend the expiration dates of their permits. On August 28, 2015, following the threat of Tropical Storm Erika, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in Executive Order 15-173 which applied to the entire state of Florida and will last until October 27, 2015. Previously, on August 6, 2015, Governor Scott had also declared a state of emergency for Dixie, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Taylor Counties that will last until October 5, 2015.

What does this mean for you?


Continue Reading The clock is ticking if you want a permit extension under this Florida law

tax burdenThose owning real property in Lee County have likely received their annual TRIM (Truth in Millage) Notice. We have found that some questions continue to repeat every year once taxpayers receive their TRIM Notices.

To help taxpayers understand what the TRIM means for them, we thought it would be helpful to go through a few quick tips for what to look for when reviewing this important document:
Continue Reading Helpful Tips for Reviewing your TRIM Notice

The homestead application filing deadline of March 1 is approaching quickly. Below is a snapshot of eligibility and documentation requirements for real property owned in Lee County, Florida.

What is the Homestead Exemption?

The homestead exemption is a constitutional benefit of up to a $50,000 exemption deducted from the assessed value of the property.

Who Is Eligible to File for an Exemption?

Individuals whose names appear on the deed, who reside on the property as of January 1, and who are bona fide Florida residents as of January 1 are eligible to file. To be eligible for the exemption this tax year, an owner must file an Application for Homestead and related documents with the County Property Appraiser no later than March 1, 2015. Only new applicants or those who had a change of residence are required to apply. For individuals who have previously filed for and been approved for the homestead exemption, notices of automatic renewals should be received from the Lee County Property Appraiser in January of each year.

Lee County’s Application Requirements


Continue Reading Homestead Deadline Approaching for Lee County Landowners

road construction.jpg.jpgReady or not, here comes the Florida Department of Transportation! In case you haven’t noticed, the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) plans to widen State Road 82 from two lanes to four lanes (and six lanes in some areas) on a 23-mile long portion of State Road 82 running through parts of Lee, Hendry, and

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

The Real Estate Investment Society and Urban Land Institute conducted a workshop, “Challenges and Strategies for Property Development Today,” last Thursday morning in Fort Myers. Mary Gibbs, Lee County‘s Director of Community Development, got right to the point:

All properties today are challenging. Nothing’s easy anymore,” noting that property location, infrastructure availability, and objections from surrounding residents seem to be the most common constraints. 

Local governments are reacting to these economic and site-specific development difficulties by implementing changes and adopting more business friendly approaches to complex development issues that may delay or kill potential new projects.
 
Bonita Springs City Manager Carl Schwing joined Ms. Gibbs in a panel discussion regarding tactics and strategies local governments can utilize to help facilitate private development in a difficult economy. Both indicated that engaging in discussions with local government development staff 


Continue Reading Southwest Florida Officials Provide Insight on Development Incentives and Local Pro-Growth Policies

In recent years, procedures for hearings before Lee County Hearing Examiners have evolved formally and informally, sometimes resulting in confusion and frustration for the parties, the public, and the hearing examiners themselves. A recent amendment to Lee County Administrative Code Section 2-6, aims to eliminate uncertainty in special exceptions, variances, zoning cases, and other matters like administrative appeals. Some are simple changes (for example, the “24-hour pre-hearing memo” is now the “48-hour pre-hearing memo”), while others are more complex and require a greater understanding of legal procedure than ever before.

The following is an attempt to highlight some of the more significant changes found in Lee County Administrative Code Section 2-6, however it is not intended to provide a comprehensive summary or analysis of all changes. 


Continue Reading New Lee County Code Re-Writes Hearing Examiner Rules