- February 26, 2009
Landowners on Pine Island in Lee County may be sitting on some easy money.
The island, connected to Cape Coral by a two-lane road, may benefit from a new county program that allows landowners to sell development rights to builders off the island. “The idea is to reduce density on Pine Island,” says Michael Jacob, Lee County's managing assistant county attorney.
Landowners who sell development rights get to retain ownership of their property and maintain the rural character of Pine Island, Jacob told a gathering of the Real Estate Investment Society in Fort Myers recently.
Developers who buy the development credits can add density to their residential or commercial projects in urban and suburban areas of Lee County deemed more appropriate for more intense development. “Take density and put it off island where they have the infrastructure to support it,” Jacob says.
The track record of such transfer of development rights programs is mixed. For example, a similar program in eastern Lee County has shown little success. “We were able to learn from these programs,” says Mikki Rozdolski, manager of planning for Lee County's community development department.
The key to making such programs work is to keep it simple, Rozdolski says. The county will be a clearinghouse for information and will coordinate buyers and sellers. “We've heard [they] make great gifts,” Rozdolski jokes.