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New zoning ordinance comes to Cape Council
February 7, 2019

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Cape Coral City Council, which got an earful this week from residents concerned about land use changes, will on Monday consider a related rezoning plan.

The city will hold its first public hearing on an ordinance to rezone approximately 9,819 acres to be consistent with the changes in the Future Land Use Map (FLUM), the Comprehensive Plan, and the upcoming Land Development Code.

No vote will be taken until the second public hearing.

The ordinance is another element of a vast, city-wide change in land-use and zoning to, in the words of City Manager John Szerlag, help the city become "fast, fair and predictable" when it comes to new development.

"This is the companion case to what we had last week. We're proposing to delete a couple districts and you need to have one on a property or replace it," said Wyatt Daltry, planning team coordinator for the city. "We're trying to maintain the status quo. When people see 9,000 acres, they think it's a lot. But the impact will be less than you would expect."

The rezoning project and the code update has been years in the making, with numerous outreach opportunities for residents to submit their input.

According to the presentation to be made to council at its 4:30 p.m. meeting on City Hall, the city will eliminate several zoning designations, with another eight districts to be removed, as well as two unmapped districts.

One of the proposals is to drop the RD (Residential Development) that used to allow for single and multi-family.

"We had to choose between turning it into single-family or multi-family. Most of those corridors we changed to single-family," Daltry said. "The two new zoning districts (for multi-family light and medium density) will play a part."

More than 8,900 acres to rezoned are the result of changes caused by deletion of old zoning districts or by the zoning of annexed properties to a city zoning designation.

About two-thirds of the rezone area represents like-for-like changes (Non-residential to residential), while another 14 percent presently lacks city zoning.

Monday's hearing on changes to the FLUM brought a standing-room only crowd of residents from the Four Corners area (Beach Parkway and Agualinda Boulevard) to protest the potential of more than 500 multi-family homes to be built on those undeveloped parcels.

"Last week's meeting was enlightening. We saw what council was leaning toward in relation to multi-family," Daltry said. "These changes we're making are consistent with what we see in the market and with the new code, the land use being proposed, they're all moving together."

A hearing examiner on Jan. 8 recommended approval of the rezoning. The second public hearing and probable vote is set for March 18.

In other business, the city council will also fill a vacancy to the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, and Councilmember Jessica Cosden will discuss the possibility of the city hiring a council office assistant.

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