In 1957, when Cape Coral was founded it was a developing rural community. The infrastructure was not in place to provide public utilities and municipal services to all areas of Cape Coral, which span an area of 120 square miles. At that time, property owners within service areas were given options to pay off assessments for services to their parcel. They could pay the amount in full, defer until they built, or make payments on a 20-year plan.
When the city continued to grow rapidly, property owners building in areas not serviced with utilities used septic tanks and well pumping systems. In 2010, the City invested in the infrastructure to service these areas by building a second water plant in the North Cape. The ability to offer city water and sewer was necessary for the development of the City for homeowners and businesses.
In order to finance the expansion of utilities and services, now and in the past, a special assessment fee was put into effect. Special Assessments are one-time charges to property owners when their property is serviced for drinking water, sewer or irrigation water. This includes vacant property. Once any of these services are available, hookup to water and sewer lines is mandated by the City for all developed properties. Irrigation line hookup is optional and existing wells may still be used, but for irrigation only.
The assessment that the property owner is responsible for is determined by the location and linear frontage the property will require. The pipes must run along the street line, and the more frontage your property spans determines the length of pipes, and labor to install the pipes needed in order to service your property. These costs along with impact fees and permit fees is what property owners are being “assessed” on.
Those properties that were vacant during the assessment installation and decided to defer until they “bettered” the property, ended up creating a lot of debt for the city. With so many vacant lots in this status the city decided to implement a “Betterment” fee. This fee is the total cost of the assessments and impact fees and is due in full upon applying for a building permit. If your property has betterment fees attached to it and you have questions you can call The City of Cape Coral, Billing Division at 239-242-3851.
Once a property is evaluated for real estate listings, those properties with assessments satisfied, often listed as “assessment in and paid” become attractive to buyers. Properties listed with special assessments in pending status, often becomes leverage for buyers to discuss price negotiations on the property.
Below you will find a map outlining the utilities extension zones defined until 2022, and a link for assessment payoff amounts, payment plans, as well as financial services offered by the City.