Cape resident pushes local city government to change public notification process

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 07:15:33-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Changes to how local governments notify residents about potential rezoning measures may soon change. At least that's what one Cape Coral resident is pushing for.

Jeff Maddy believes the current process is archaic and outdated and residents as well as local government would benefit from using current technology.  "I realize that maybe the legal qualification right now is to publish something in the newspaper, put a small sign in the area that the zoning request is going to go," said Maddy. 

However, Maddy said he believes fewer people are reading newspapers or making an effort to pull over to read a small sign in the ground. 

"How is somebody at 40 mph able to see this, all this writing on this little bitty sign,” said Maddy. 

Yet, Maddy did just that after recently noticing a sign put on a piece of property on the corner of Country Club Boulevard and SE 26th Street. After reading it was about a city council vote to rezone the property for a Circle K, he went door to door in his neighborhood curious if others knew about this potential change. 

"And they were all completely caught by surprise and didn’t have a chance as a community or as a neighborhood  to get together and say 'woah wait a minute,'" said Maddy. 

Maddy said this situation had him wondering if cities could do a better job notifying residents about changes just like this one. So I reached out to a few local governments to find out. 

The City of Fort Myers said residents can sign up for email newsletters through their website. A quick search on the City of Cape Coral website shows residents can opt in for Ping4Alerts!, a text message system that notifies residents about emergencies. 

However, other than online agendas and minutes posted to city websites, there's nothing in place for pushing information about ordinances or other city changes directly to residents through email or text message. 

“Certainly on a push notification system in addition to this, in addition to the newspaper we expand the possibility of those who can be informed citizens and be able to attend meetings and voice their concerns,” said Maddy. 

Maddy said he doesn't think it would cost a city too much money to add this type of service and also believes this would encourage more residents to actively participate in local government. 

“So they could rally behind a good idea or rally behind an idea they feel would be detrimental to their living conditions," said Maddy. 

You can read more on the FL Statute: HERE

For more information about City of Cape Coral: CLICK HERE

For more information about City of Fort Myers: CLICK HERE