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Land use development regulations workshop set

By Staff | Jan 29, 2016

The city of Cape Coral is in the process of rewriting its laws regarding land use development regulations, and Thursday, at City Hall, the city will hold a second workshop to discuss the regulations and bring them up to today’s standards.

Many within the city see these regulations as outdated and inappropriate for a growing city. Connie Barron, Cape Coral’s information officer, said this is an opportunity to bring these regulations into the 21st century.

“The laws are very outdated and there are some conflicts. So we can clean it up and make it more consistent,” Barron said. “The LUDRs are very extensive. It’s not a change here or there. It’s a complete rewrite. This has been developed over time and some of the changes have been inconsistent and can create challenges when people are trying to develop.”

Many in the building community are expected to come to council chambers for the 9:30 a.m. meeting to watch and provide input on how the city can make their lives easier and if some of the standards are even relevant today. Members of City Council will not be part of the process directly, but may show up to ask questions.

Councilmember Jim Burch didn’t say if he will attend, but he had an idea of the issues that could be addressed.

“I’d like see, for example, why we turn a single-family R-1 usage close to a main street into a multi-family usage. I assume they will talk about these sort of things,” Burch said. “It’s these types of things where public input is very important.”

Vince Cautero, Community Development director, said this is the second meeting on the topic, and major zoning classifications will be among the main issues, with the goal being to simplify the process and get projects off the ground quicker.

“The purpose is to overhaul them and make them more up-to-date and user friendly. It’s an antiquated system so we want to make it easier to read and understand by people who use it every day,” Cautero said. “We want to give people more options and make more administrative approvals rather than go to public hearing for everything. We hope to see more positive results.”

The LUDR is very all-encompassing. Much of the discussion will be on the technical aspects of zoning, where much give-and-take will occur between the participants and the consultants, Calvin Jordano out of Fort Lauderdale.

They can also involve code compliance issues, such as the ability to put a boat in your yard or being able to park your pizza delivery car or commercial work truck in the driveway.

Cautero said it is very possible for someone to bring up code compliance at a meeting, and that the city is ready for them. At a technical workshop as Thursday’s is expected to be, that is not likely.

Cautero said there will be two more meetings after this one. In March, redevelopment processes will be addressed, and the final meeting, set for April or May, will deal with streetscape and urban design.

Moving forward from there, Cautero said the proposed changes will go before the Planning Commission for formal public hearings. The City Council would then consider it, with a target date of late this year or early 2017 for ratification.