April 22, 2024

4 Min Read

Update 4/22/24 – The Cape Coral, Florida, City Council voted to approve its pending development moratorium, despite considerable opposition. Now in effect, it’ll end on April 17, 2025, for self-storage facilities, and Jan. 17 for car washes. Pending applications won’t be impacted, a source reported.

In the meantime, staff will conduct studies to determine what regulations are needed to prevent overdevelopment in the area. While many council members said they support property rights, they determined the pause on these business types is needed to protect the city’s planned growth, a source reported.

Update 4/18/24 – The proposed moratorium on self-storage facilities and car washes in Cape Coral, Florida, has come under fire by several community members, including former Cape Coral Mayor Eric P. Feichthaler and the local chamber of commerce. The city council was expected to vote on the measure this week, according to sources.

Feichthaler, an attorney, spoke to the council on behalf of Hal Arkins, who’s planning to sell a 3-acre parcel he owns off Burnt Store Road and Embers Parkway to a self-storage developer. The project has been in the permitting process for more than a year while Arkins battles the city in court after it voted to not vacate an alley on the property. A pause on self-storage development would cause further delay or completely endanger the real estate transaction.

“Not only has [Arkins] basically not been able to retire while this thing works itself out, but it's caused him an enormous amount of stress,” Feichthaler said.

City officials declined to say if the self-storage project would be affected by the moratorium, noting the vested rights portion of the ordinance. A property owner can file a “claim of vested rights” within 90 days of the pause and request a public hearing. The council has the authority to grant it if the property owner can demonstrate the city acted on various applications including permits and site-plan approval on or after March 20 and before April 17, a source reported.

In addition, the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral sent council members a position paper on the issue, writing that it would “create a negative impact on private-property rights and the business community and its right to a free market.”

The paper also cited Senate Bill 250, which passed last year and addresses land that was damaged by Hurricanes Ian or Nicole. The bill prohibits counties and cities within 100 miles of the hurricanes’ landfall from adopting restrictions that would impede construction or development.

Kevin Besserer, director of public policy for the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association, also opposes the ordinance. “We find it to be a violation of fundamental private-property rights,” he said. “We do also believe an ordinance like this opens up the city to potential legal liability.”

3/27/24 – The Cape Coral, Florida, City Council unanimously voted to advance its proposed moratorium on the development of car washes and self-storage facilities. The next public hearing will be held on April 3.

Council members didn’t discuss the issue before voting. One resident spoke at the hearing in opposition of the moratorium. If approved, the ban will be in effect for 12 months to allow city staff time to determine if new codes are necessary for land development.

3/22/24 – Officials in Cape Coral, Florida, are considering a moratorium on the development of self-storage facilities and car washes. Ordinance 15-24 was presented at a city council meeting earlier this week, according to the source.

The proposed legislation aims to “prevent the proliferation of self-storage facilities consuming essential commercial property, too fast, in close proximity to one another.” Officials said it’s necessary to determine the number and locations of each business type that would be appropriate for the city, the source reported.

Cape Coral has 1.5 million square feet of existing self-storage and 1.6 million in permitting or under construction.

If the moratorium is advanced to a second public hearing, the city will no longer accept applications or approve permits for self-storage or car-wash development within any zone.

Sources:
Cape Coral Breeze, Cape Coral Considers Moratorium on New Car Washes, Self-Storage Facilities
Cape Coral Breeze, Car Wash, Self-Storage Moratorium Ordinances Advance
News-Press, Cape Coral's Proposed Halt of New Car Washes, Storage Units May Have Legal Ramifications
WINK, Cape Council Reaches Decision on Car Wash and Self-Storage Moratorium
Cape Coral Breeze, Chamber Comes Out Against Proposed Moratoriums

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