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Will backed-up building permits continue to be a problem in Cape Coral?

Posted at 5:43 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 05:41:27-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Wednesday, Cape Coral City council members were questioning the city’s permitting process after having to shut down their online application for the week, due to a massive backlog of permit requests.

According to City Manager, Rob Hernandez, what was once over 4,500 unprocessed permits, have been chiseled away to around 1,600.

While those numbers seem to be traveling in the right direction, questions from Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter circled around if this problem will happen again.

“Are we going to continue down that path moving forward so we don’t find ourselves in that situation again?” said Gunter.

That path, Mayor Gunter hopes will streamline building permits and swerve any chance of having to once again deny new permits while the city plays catch up.

Vince Cautero, the city's Development Services Director fielded many of the questions during Wednesday's Committee of the Whole.

“I think what caused that was the inability to process permits the way we normally would have due to some of the stops and starts we had,” said Cautero.

Cautero said that inability was coming from the online program Energovnot being able to complete certain permits due to technical issues.

Problems, he said on Wednesday, they continue to work on.

“The new system is up and running it was on Feb. 22 we are making fixes to it every day that is needed,” said Cautero.

In the meantime, Cape Coral City Manager Rob Hernandez said the city’s task force is continuing to work overtime on the backlog of permits.

“They plan to work on Easter Sunday if necessary,” he said.

While other issues with the online program brought up by councilwoman Gloria Tate were being addressed.

“I keep hearing about speed issues. Has the speed issue been resolved on the Energov?” asked Tate.

Cape Coral’s IT Director Michelle Hoffmann told Tate the city has looked for outside help to fix the speed.

"So are we testing it before Monday?” asked Tate.

“Ya we are going to put it into place tomorrow and the system is still up,” answered Hoffmann.

During Wednesday's meeting, City Manager Rob Hernandez told the city council members they are aiming high and hope to have the backlog down to zero by Monday.

A goal that others say will help one of the city’s newest systems perform at its highest.

“We are positioning ourselves without this backlog to be able to then, meet our statutory requirements,” said Cautero.