Land use codes not only source for requirements, city officials say
Despite the absence of language in the City of Cape Coral’s land use regulations requiring developers along Pine Island Road to install sidewalks, curbs, and gutters as part of their projects, the city could have made approval of the projects contingent on the installation of such amenities.
That is the assessment of city spokesperson Connie Barron, responding to claims the city could be liable to pay back the builders along Pine Island Road since 2003 for the installation of sidewalks, curbs, and gutters when the city’s regulations did not require it.
Joe Mazurkiewicz, former mayor of Cape Coral and president of BJM Consulting, which represents several clients along Pine Island Road, said the costs to the city could be “in the millions of dollars.”
The city’s Land Use and Development Regulations call for developers to pay for sidewalks, curbs, and gutters, but that currently only applies to areas zoned as “Commercial,” “Professional,” “Downtown,” and “Marketplace-Residential.” Most of land on either side of Pine Island Road is zoned as “Corridor,” with some areas designated as “Village.”
Barron, however, said that often during the process of getting a development approved a council member, Planning & Zoning Board members, or city staffers will hinge approval of the project on the installation of sidewalks, curbs, and gutters.
“Just because something is not in the zoning that doesn’t mean council or staff cannot request that they add it,” Barron said.
Without information about a certain development, she added, more information could not be given.
Mazurkiewicz is currently gauging the interest of developers along Pine Island Road in the situation and has spoken with attorneys who back his claim. He declined to say which specific developments he is engaging with on the issue, saying it would be premature to do so.