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Code oversight could have city on hook for millions

By Staff | Mar 20, 2009

Since 2003, Cape Coral has required builders along Pine Island Road to pay for sidewalks, curbs and gutters as part of the development.
There is only one problem — language requiring developers to pay for sidewalks, curbs and gutters was not, and is not, in the city’s regulations governing the designated land use along the road.
The majority of land that lines Pine Island Road is zoned as “corridor,” with some areas designated as “village.”
Section 3.17.1 of the city’s Land Use and Development Regulations, which calls on builders to pay for the installation of sidewalks, curbs and gutters, only pertains to land uses designated as “commercial,” “professional,” “downtown” and “marketplace-residential.”
Joe Mazurkiewicz, former mayor of Cape Coral and president of BJM Consulting, which represents several clients along the road, said the costs incurred by builders is staggering.
“It’s definitely in the millions of dollars,” he said.
Mazurkiewicz first became aware of the situation in January 2008, when he petitioned the city council to pay Manclar Builders more than $16,000 for additional road improvements related to the installation of sidewalks, curbs and gutters.
“In February 2008 I wrote an e-mail to council telling them I went in and looked at the law. Nobody responded back,” he said.
Mazurkiewicz is currently speaking with his clients, lawyers and other builders in the area to see if there is a legal recourse for compensation from the city.
He declined to say which builders are interested in the situation, as Mazurkiewicz is in the early, information gathering stage.
Four attorneys he spoke to said affected builders have a legitimate case against the city for expenses that were required, but were not part of the regulations.
The city attorney’s office did not return calls for comment Thursday.