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Land use update provided

By Staff | Feb 5, 2016

A new streamlined zoning format, along with a short summary of the zoning, will make things easier for builders and residents to understand.

That’s what Richard Cannone, planning administrator with Calvin Giordano & Associates out of Fort Lauderdale told residents and contractors at the second community workshop on Land Use Development Regulations on Thursday in council chambers at City Hall.

The workshop, which lasted less than an hour and was attended by a few dozen people, focused on consolidating districts, specialized zoning districts and updating district regulations, with Cannone giving a general presentation on what he wanted to do for the city.

“The city has a number of zoning districts that are similar to each other. We’re looking to consolidate some of those districts and redefine the way the uses are prescribed,” Cannone said. “To simplify it and go to a table that’s easily understood by the average citizen.”

For residents, the single-family zoning will stay the same, but Cannone said he wants to open an exclusive townhouse district as well as two multi-family districts, medium and high, as to provide a buffer between single family and high-intensity areas.

Residential districts, as with all districts, will have certain characteristics that will be summarized in a single-page format to make things more understandable. Residential districts will be based on lot area, square footage, and height, for example.

Businesswise, Cannone said he wanted to look at a business park district. There’s currently just one such district, but they are looking to expand to an office park or commerce park for some of the larger parcels that may be able to handle warehouse or distribution facilities.

“We’re also going to look at, with all the water in some of the locations, whether a marina industry focus can be included,” Cannone said.

Other ideas include removing the village district and adding districts for planned development and for mixed-use floating zones, which would not be designated until a development application is approved.

There would also be a focus on business nodes such as Pine Island Road and areas that are easily walkable or near bus stops.

Cannone said this would be a simplification of current national regulations most cities use, kind of a hybrid approach to make it understandable.

Jeff Satfield, a resident and engineer, said the LUDR process seemed to be moving in the right direction.

“We have so many zoning categories. Simplifying the code is a positive for residents and developers,” Satfield said. “It will make the future growth pattern more clear and what will be allowed by the city.”

Joe Mazurkiewicz said the workshop was heavy on generalizations, but informative, which gave him hope for where the city wants to go.

“The devil is going to be in the details. Until they’re released, philosophically, less is better than more. These one-page descriptions should make things much easier to deal with,” Mazurkiewicz said.

He also objected to a proposal to allow single-family homes in the neighborhood commercial district. His feelings were allayed when Cannone said the homes can be retrofitted or attached.

“The last thing we need in Cape Coral are more single-family homes,” Mazurkiewicz said.

Vince Cautero, Cape Coral’s director of development, said he thought the workshop went quickly because there was more about formatting and less “dry information.”

“This will give us a flavor for what the zoning districts and how we set them up will be to make them more streamlined. We wanted to set the tone for that,” Cautero said. “We want to make the zones better understood, but also the amount of uses allowed in those districts. We’re changing the focus.”