CAPE CORAL, Fla. -A change in permitting for marine construction could create major problems for the city of Cape Coral.
In an effort to protect an endangered fish, homeowners and potential buyers will have to wait months to get permits to start construction.
You used to be able to go through the city, which took a few days, but now it's up to the Army Corps of Engineers.
"I've actually had property owners call me last week saying 'if I cant get a permit now, I'm not going to buy that lot." HONC Marine president David Mulicka says he's already experiencing a loss of business.
"This permit not only impacts, new seawalls on vacant lots, sea wall repairs, replacements, new boat docks, repairs of boat docks, boat lift instalations, boat slip dredging," he explained.
The permit called SAJ- 91 is also known as the "master" or "blanket permit."
For the past five years, the city was allowed to issue the blanket permit.
But last week, the Army Corps of Engineers took over, while a study is done to make sure construction doesnt hurt the smalltooth sawfish.
Some say the move is prompting potential homebuyers to look elsewhere, and crippling the construction industry because people won't want to wait months before they can build a new home.
"We've seen just under a 15 percent increase in permit activity for single family homes. Obviously news like this will detrimentally affect that," said Exec. Dir. Heather Mazurkiewicz with the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.
Council Kevin McGrail wrote a letter to all officials at the federal level hoping an agreement can be made to save both the fish and the construction industry.
"I challenge our elected officials to please bring some semblance of common sense into this equation," said McGrail.