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Cape Coral City Council heard the first public hearing for moratoriums on self-storage facilities and car washes in the city.  

Each mortarium is proposed to last 12 months and be a pause on the acceptance of applications for and the issuance of permits for development of self-storage and car washes.  

Planning Manager Amy Yearsley said there has been an influx of both types of development projects in the city. The city currently has 1.5 million square feet of existing self-storage space, with an additional 1.6 million square feet in the permitting process or under construction. 

The moratorium was proposed because Cape Coral has a well-documented deficiency of nonresidential land to accommodate the city’s commercial deficiencies.  

“In Florida, the lack of basements and the large number of multifamily units create a demand for these types of uses,” Yearsley said of self-storage facilities. “We’re not alone in taking a moment to look at this particular issue. There have been a number of communities in Florida and in the U.S. that have looked at this.” 

While the city is proposing the moratorium to conduct a study and develop potential regulations, the ordinance also establishes exceptions and vested rights for property owners. 

Concerned with the rights of private property owners and the advancement of current projects, representatives of owners of the proposed storage facility on the corner of Burnt Store Road and Embers Parkway spoke in opposition of the moratorium. 

Council member Robert Welsh sought answers from City Attorney Aleksandr Boksner to determine if the moratorium would impede on any projects currently in the pipeline.  

“That is a fact-specific legal analysis,” he said. “They will have to avail themselves of the process that is set forth within the proposed legislation in order to see whether or not they are able to satisfy the requirements for determination of vested rights.”  

As for the moratorium on car washes, there are an estimated 16 standalone car-wash facilities in the city and nine accessory car-wash facilities ancillary to fueling stations, with an additional 12 standalone car-wash facilities in permitting or under construction. 

The ordinance states the city will study the issue to determine whether the limits to the number or locations for car washes are appropriate to prevent the proliferation of such facilities on essential commercial property. 

“We’re really looking at things such as regulating the use based on factors such as location and distance and potentially additional regulations to address impacts to other nearby properties,” Yearsley said. 

If moved forward, the city will need to adopt new regulations prior to April 2025 for car washes and self-storage facilities.  

Kevin Besserer, who identified himself as the director of public policy for the Royal Palm Realtor Association, spoke in opposition of the proposed moratorium, citing a violation of fundamental private property rights of property owners. 

No vote is taken at the first public hearing. The second and final public hearing will be held April 17. 

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