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Density changes proposed in the South Cape

By Staff | May 9, 2019

The city of Cape Coral has not seen much in the way of participation of an incentive program to encourage development in the South Cape, so it will look to eliminate the program.

During Monday’s regular City Council meeting at City Hall, there will be a first public hearing on an ordinance that would eliminate the South Cape Redevelopment Incentive Program (SCRIP), among other things.

The ordinance is a city-initiated change to the Land Use and Development Regulations (LUDR) that would increase the maximum density to 75 units per acre, the maximum floor area ratio to 4.0, and the maximum height to 160 feet.

“We’re going to evaluate what’s been working and what hasn’t. If nobody has been using that program, there’s no reason for it to be there,” Councilmember John Gunter said.

The city believes this will allow more design flexibility downtown to encourage economic development. With these changes, the SCRIP regulations are no longer needed, and will permit architectural improvements such as colonnades and balconies to project into public easements and rights-of-way.

“We are hoping to entice more development to come forward because some of them aren’t interested in affordable housing. Once they start seeing the formulas, I guess the densities don’t work to make it a cost-effective project, so they move on to something else,” Gunter said. “By increasing the overall requirement for units per acre, it will entice more developers.”

A second and final public hearing will be set for June 3.

In the meantime, Council will hold a transmittal hearing on an ordinance to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan by removing affordable housing density doubling language and reducing Commercial Activity Center residential densities from 25 to 16 units per acre,

In addition, downtown mixed residential densities are proposed to be increased from 75 to 125 units per acre.

Also on the agenda is a tentative plan to approve and ratify the Collective Bargaining Agreement with Firefighters Local 2424, Supervisory and Rank and File Units, as well as the approval of six additional full-time firefighters, which Fire Chief Ryan Lamb told Council last month at a workshop meeting was necessary to avoid paying personnel overtime that was becoming more expensive than hiring new people.

Also, Councilmember Jessica Cosden has introduced a resolution to amend the city rules of procedure that will allow council members to attend meetings remotely, which is not currently provided for. Cosden is expecting a child around the time Council returns from its summer hiatus.

Council also will discuss a resolution to temporarily waive installation fees of banners required as part of the South Cape banner program.

It is part of a request made by Ralph Santillo, founder, CEO and president of the Invest in American Veterans Foundation, who would like to place banners on the downtown streetlights on Cape Coral Parkway to promote its annual Memorial and Veterans Day parades.