Commission approves $50K for land development code in NFM
Lee County commissioners have pledged $50,000,000 in hopes of preparing a land development code for North Fort Myers.
Fort Myers-based LaRue Planning and Management Services has 360 days to complete its task, which would help to reshape the permit uses and future growth of the area.
North Fort Myers Community Planning Panel Chair Scott Brenner said the move has been a long time coming. The panel has worked for the better part of three years to implement a vision statement. Without the vision statement, rewriting the code would have proved impossible.
“You have to take this vision statement and adapt it into what the county is using for their future code,” he said.
Changing the code will hopefully change the culture of North Fort Myers, according to Brenner.
He wants to focus on increasing land value by pushing mixed use developments throughout North Fort Myers, and hopefully changing Pondella Road between the “two 41s,” an area Brenner described as blighted.
Lee County community planner Jim Mudd said once the code has been written, getting it into Lee County records should happen fairly quickly.
Mudd would not speculate on how the new code would affect the so-called blighted areas, but said it would have a direct impact on new development and redevelopment.
“I wouldn’t have used that term,” he said to describe areas as blighted. “But it is to develop land regulations, create an overlay for the road network and to encourage mixed use development, realizing that some of those areas are going to develop in the future.”
Brenner hopes combining the new land development code with the Hancock Bridge Parkway connector will create the future of North Fort Myers.
He also realizes that with three years of work behind him and the panel, there is still plenty of work ahead.
“It’s like you’ve landed on the moon, but this is Neil Armstrong taking a step off the ladder,” Brenner said. “Our mission doesn’t stop until we get the actual words inside the county code. We’re still not there.”