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No permit required: Developing Cape Coral in 1958

The development of Cape Coral began in 1958 in the southeastern portion of the Cape, at Redfish Point along Matlacha Pass. No building permits were required and the mud started flying.

As a result, 5 things happened.

1. Over the next 5 years, the mangroves fringing the land were removed, and more than 50 million cubic yards of salt marsh and salt flats were excavated, the fill used to attain the minimum elevation of 5.5 feet above sea level required for building.

2. The stripping and dredging operations continued for nearly 20 years before dreaded new water- and wetland-development regulations stopped them. But by then, Cape Coral had the most extensive canal system in the world!

3. Perhaps significantly, the replacement of natural wetlands with land fill removed a natural water source, as well as the shoreline stabilization and protection against storm surges provided by mangroves. The canals are possibly conduits for catastrophic storm-water surges; the canals have the potential, therefore, of turning this waterfrontwonderland into a waterworld wonderland.

4. Polluted storm-water runoff added to the stagnant water in the canals does occasionally breed algae blooms that, incidentally, deprive sea life in the canals and in the estuarine environments around them of oxygen.

5. The removal of the mangroves has eliminated their water-cleansing effect upon these estuaries, and as the mangroves were lush habitat for shellfish and finfish, their removal may, as commercial fishermen say, have severely depleted one of the most abundant fishing grounds in the world of both its recreational and commercial fish.

Nevertheless, as developer Leonard Rosen claimed, uninhabitable mangroves and wetlands are “absolutely useless,” whereas developing Cape Coral into a boaters’ paradise has made their dreams a reality for untold thousands of future homeowners.





Midtown: Fort Myers puts plan on hold for more input

The biggest growth plan in Fort Myers history will have more time – until August 7 –  to answer public questions, City Council members decided Monday night after hours of public input.  Click link to read more……..

10 Best Places to Camp in Florida

Experience Florida’s gorgeous beaches at a quieter pace-fall asleep to the sound of water kissing the shore, spot incredible wildlife, and explore some of the state’s most treasured protected lands-at these beautiful campsites on the coast.

Pending Home Sales Leap 5.5% in February

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2017) — Pending home sales rebounded sharply in February to their highest level in nearly a year and second-highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions saw a notable hike in contract activity last month.

The Pending Home Sales Index,*, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, jumped 5.5 percent to 112.3 in February from 106.4 in January. Last month’s index reading is 2.6 percent above a year ago, is the highest since last April (113.6) and the second highest since May 2006 (112.5).  

Renters Are Starting to Feel Richer, But…

Trying to convert renters to homeowners? Your job may be getting tougher. A new survey from Freddie Mac finds more renters are optimistic about their financial situations, but they’re less likely to move even if their rents increase.

“It would appear from our new survey that renters today feel better about their finances, like where they are living, and view renting favorably,” says David Brickman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily. “This is consistent with findings from earlier surveys that show a steadily growing number of renters have a positive view of renting.”

A declining number of renters say they are working toward homeownership, expect to buy a home, or plan to move within the next few years, the survey shows. Fifty-nine percent of the nearly 1,300 renters surveyed say they plan to rent their next home, an increase from 55 percent since Freddie Mac’s last renter survey in September 2016.

Need help talking up the benefits of owning? Why Homeownership Still Matters
Consumers’ favor for renting comes at a time when they’re getting a better handle on their finances. Forty-one percent of renters surveyed say they now have enough money to last beyond each payday, up from 34 percent in September. All age groups surveyed expressed an increase in financial confidence from the last survey, but it was most pronounced among baby boomers, growing from 38 percent in September to 48 percent now.

They don’t plan to switch apartments either. The number of renters who say they plan to move during the next two years dropped from 38 percent to 33 percent. Further, 55 percent of all respondents—and 60 percent of 35- to 49-year olds—say they like where they currently live and don’t plan to move, even if their rents increase.

Meanwhile, the percentage of renters who say they expect to own dropped to 41 percent from 45 percent in September.

Source: “Profile of Today’s Renter/Multifamily Renter Research,” Freddie Mac (March 2017)

The good ole days……. so they thought

Like any frontier town, Cape Coral’s first businesses included a grocery, a bank, a newspaper and, well, like any Florida frontier town, a realty—aptly named Wonderland Realty, as most early buyers were wondering what they had gotten themselves into. They seemed to be abandoned in the middle of a strip-mining operation. In one direction, nothing but miles of white sand and raw canal banks; in the other, glittering water. They were marooned in “Wonderland.”  more

The Top 3 Hottest Real Estate Markets

Trulia recently published its list of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017, and-no surprise-several coastal markets made the list. Trulia based its ranking of the 100 largest metro areas across the country on five criteria: a high search interest, a decreasing rate of vacancy, high affordability, a high rate of job growth, and a high population of people happy with the outcome of the presidential election.

The “hottest” markets vary depending on who you talk to-Zillow’s ranking of the hottest markets of the year looked very different. But if you’re looking for coastal real estate in an affordable city that has few people moving out of it, this list of the hottest coastal markets of 2017 might offer some suggestions. If you’re looking to capitalize on the recovering housing market and purchase your dream coastal escape, consider these hot markets:


Number one overall and number one on the coastal list, Jacksonville has a high rate of job growth and high interest from out-of-towners looking to move there. Best of all, it’s more affordable than other, similar markets in the state.


Coming in at number two both overall and for coastal metro areas, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area on Florida’s Gulf Coast has the fourth-highest rate of job growth in the country and a falling vacancy rate as people flock to its sunny shores.


Number three for coastal areas and number three overall on Trulia’s list, this area on Florida’s Atlantic side has a rate of job growth to match the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area and a great ratio of people looking to move there vs. people looking to move away-not to mention its long, sunny days and high temperatures year-round.


The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area is on the Tampa Bay, on Florida’s Gulf side. It came in at five overall but is number four for coastal areas, with great job growth and affordability.


Charleston has been in the spotlight as a tourist hotspot so much lately that it’s not surprising that it’s also a great place to move. Ranked number seven overall and number five for coastal areas, this Lowcountry port city has a huge number of people looking to move there (while few are looking to move away), good affordability, and decent job growth-and an amazing culinary scene.

The next five coastal cities share the previous five’s high interest, good affordability, and job growth. Read on for the next best coastal areas to live:






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Collier, Lee among Florida’s healthiest counties

Affluent St. Johns and Collier counties remain Florida’s healthiest communities, while the rural regions continue to suffer some of the highest rates of mental illness, substance abuse, and premature death, a new report finds.

Lee County ranks fairly high — now in 12th place in Florida — and is up from 20th place just two years ago, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The annual report assesses U.S. counties based on their economic health, crime, premature deaths, health insurance coverage, medical resources and a number of behavioral factors, such as smoking and drinking rates.

“We still have work to do in this community,” said Mary Andrews, who helps oversee community health initiatives for the Lee Health hospital system in Lee County. “But this type of information helps us design the types of plans that will be the most effective.”

Union County, home to about 16,000 residents and a maximum security prison, ranked last in Florida.

Some report highlights about Southwest Florida:

  • About 15 percent of Lee and Collier residents reported they were in “poor” or “fair” health. Florida’s overall rate is 17 percent.
  • Rates of obesity in Lee and Collier were 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Statewide, it’s 26 percent.
  • About 13 percent of Collier County adults smoke, and 16 percent do in Lee County. About 15 percent of all Florida adults still smoke.

The Healthy Lee initiative, a decade-old project to promote healthy living in Lee County, will produce its own report on the community’s health this summer.

While Lee County’s rankings have moved around year to year, Collier’s have consistently ranked high. It also earned the nation’s top spot in the Gallup-Healthways “well-being index.”

“It’s no surprise that Collier remains one of the healthiest counties to live in Florida,” said Stephanie Vick, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Collier County, in a written statement. “We enjoy great weather year-round, have access to beautiful beaches and parks, have a robust health care system, opportunities to participate in community-wide health initiatives, enjoy low crime rates, and our children attend a healthy school system.”

Affluence is generally a good predictor of a community’s health ranking.  St. Johns and Collier counties have the highest median incomes in the state: $71,896 and $62,385, respectively.

While Union County’s median household income rate of $41,078 isn’t the lowest in Florida, it is below the state average.

But such lists can also overshadow a community’s deficiencies. For instance, about 26 percent of Collier County residents under 65 were uninsured in 2014 — the sixth highest rate in Florida.

“Sometimes a high-ranking county can kind of mask what’s going on,” said Kate Konkle, an associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. “Not everyone in the county may be feeling like that’s an accurate picture of what they’re experiencing.”

This year, the report took a deeper look at deaths among people younger than 75. Drug overdoses, particularly among opioid abusers, are behind a “dramatic increase” in deaths among 15- to 44-year-olds in recent years, the report found.

Experts had assumed this was predominantly a problem in small, rural areas, Konkle said.

“And it certainly is, but what our researchers found was that, actually, the suburban counties went from the lowest rates of premature deaths due to overdoses to the highest within a decade,” she said. “I think many of us were surprised to see that.”

The highest rates of drug overdose deaths in Florida were in Dixie (31 per 100,000 residents) and Manatee (29 per 100,000 residents) counties. Lee and Collier’s rates were 13 and 12 per 100,000 residents, respectively.

Forty-six Florida counties saw overall improvements in premature death rates, including Lee and Collier. Two, Citrus and Gilchrist, saw worsening rates.

Daniel’s Land Project

Changes in county land use rules that could bring another 2,000 homes to sites near Daniels Parkway will go before county commissioners in the coming weeks.

Neighbors of one are battling against the change, while the other faces little opposition.

A county panel that makes recommendations to county commissioners on changes in the Lee Plan, the county’s basic land planning document, has endorsed the development of 1,315 new homes on a site at Daniels and State Road 82 that’s currently a part of the protected Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource area.

The Local Planning Agency gave a negative recommendation to a county proposal that would rezone an area at Palomino and Apaloosa lanes off Daniels to allow an additional 693 housing units.

Read More:
New Daniel’s Complex