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WE DID IT: Cape says flood discount potentially saved; mayor shares how FEMA can do better

Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter said of the 238 homes FEMA said were non-compliant, the city found only 27.
Posted at 5:09 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 11:11:22-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Thursday, as many homes in Southwest Cape Coral were continuing to rebuild after Hurricane Ian, the City of Cape Coral announced they have turned in all paperwork to retain FEMA's 25% national flood discount.

Waterside neighbors who carry flood insurance like Carl Napoletano told Fox 4's Cape Coral Community Correspondent Colton Chavez, that he feels relieved.

“It's obviously welcomed news we appreciate the city taking a leadership role and engaging with FEMA and I think everybody made the right decision,” said Napoletano.

The man whose job it has been to change FEMA's original decision to remove Cape Coral’s flood discount, Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter, said of the 238 homes FEMA said were non-compliant, the city found only 27.

Fox 4's Colton Chavez asked Mayor Gunter if FEMA needs to improve that.

Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter
On May 9, 2024, Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter said one of the things FEMA could improve is provide inspectors on the ground, when it comes to confirming whether governments are in compliance to retain a federal flood insurance discount.

“I feel that our investigation was extremely more thorough than FEMA's. Theirs was more of a broad over-look but when you really look at the details, we found that some properties were compliant," said Gunter.

Last week, the City of Cape Coral required families on FEMA's list to attend a hearing at city hall, to prove any changes they made to their homes were done to FEMA standards.

On Thursday, Mayor Gunter said he wants to remind people that just because certain work does not require a permit, he said that doesn't mean there is not a FEMA substantial damage report for families to turn in.

As for how FEMA can improve, Mayor Gunter said they must provide more resources to help the city monitor the community’s rebuilding process.

Cape Coral continues to rebuild along canals after Hurricane Ian
In May 2024, Cape Coral continued to rebuild along canals after Hurricane Ian.

“We had asked for help from inspectors out in the field, boots on the ground and unfortunately we never received those,” said Gunter.

On Thursday, Mayor Gunter said he can't give a timeline for when the city will get the final word from FEMA, but you can trust me to bring that to you once it's received.

What about the other communities at risk of losing access to the insurance discount?

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Lee County also provided this statement when asked about its progress to meet FEMA flood discount deadlines:

"Lee County’s team of subject matter experts is well along in the process of preparing and submitting data to ensure a thorough response for the FEMA June 10 deadline.

We are committed to working on behalf of unincorporated Lee County residents. This is currently the county’s highest priority."

Lee County Government
Continuing Coverage of FEMA Flood Insurance Controversy