Home owners might find it difficult to obtain permits for construction along canals or docks. The local city government of Cape Coral
may no longer be able to unilaterally review and issue permits for such structures.
The request to extend this type of permit was denied by the Army Corp of Engineers last week. This unexpected turn of events has left the city and construction companies puzzled. The issuance of these permits tends to protect sensitive areas where the smalltooth sawfish lives. The city government was given less than 72 hours’ notice when the decision was passed.
This process would cover issuance of permits for new or even the replacement of sea walls. Under the new process, requests for permits would have to be issued to the city government. This would then be passed on to the Army Corp of Engineers for federal review. From the current 2 to 3 days processing time for these permits it could take as long as 6 months now.
The Army Corp of Engineers (or ACE) was hoping that they would be able to extend the permit that was approved 5 years prior. However, the extension request was disapproved because it does not have any biological interest and permission from the National Marine Fisheries Services. In an email that was sent by ACE, this body would have to be solely responsible for reviewing the application for construction permits or until formal talks have been made that would protect the natural habitat of the smalltooth sawfish.
Previously, the city of Cape Coral was tasked to issue and accept application for permits for the construction of seawalls which needs to be built on sites of canal fronts. A spokesperson for the city had indicated that the move was unexpected but they are still working with all parties involved to resolve this issue.
The executive director for the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association has also expressed concern over the disapproval of this extension. This could negatively impact the home building industry in the city that is just starting to recover.
The smalltooth sawfish is an aquatic species that are found in the shallow tropical and subtropical waters. This would mostly be found in the costal parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. In Southwest Florida, this type of fish would be found swimming in shallow canals. In Southwest Florida, there are over 840,000 acres that serve as habitat for this shallow water fish species.