Fort Myers Beach Council Deliberates on Mobile Vendor Ordinance

The Fort Myers Beach Town Council meeting focused on several matters of local interest, including the regulation of mobile vendors, land use variances, and the approval of a settlement agreement. The most notable issue discussed was the impact of Senate Bill 250 on the ordinance allowing mobile vendors to operate on the island. This bill sets a compliance deadline of September 28, 2025, and the council grappled with how to handle the presence of trailers and mobile businesses post-Hurricane Ian. The debate was intense, as it involved balancing the need for temporary solutions for property owners to generate income with concerns about the impact on existing businesses and the community’s aesthetic.

The conversation around mobile vendors highlighted the inadequacy of the current ordinance in addressing the issue and the need to clarify the language to reflect the council’s original intent. The town attorney noted the challenge of adopting anything more restrictive or burdensome on development issues due to Senate Bill 250. The Local Planning Agency (LPA) emphasized the importance of understanding the implications of the bill and its potential impact on the town’s decisions. The council expressed a willingness to consider the concerns raised by the LPA and to have further discussions on the matter.

In conjunction with this, the Public Safety Committee sought direction from the council on addressing various issues, such as vehicular and pedestrian traffic, stop lights, crosswalks, and unsafe properties following Hurricane Ian. They requested a joint meeting to discuss and prioritize these issues, to which the council agreed. The LPA also brought up concerns about temporary permits and their impact on redevelopment on the island, highlighting the need for clarity and conversation with the council regarding the end game and the impact of mobile vendors on the community.

Further to these discussions, the council deliberated on a specific land use request involving the construction of an elevated pool and screen enclosure. The applicant, Todd Place, requested variances from the required side yard setback and water body setback for the proposed pool location. The debate centered on the technical aspects of the variance request and the interpretation of the Land Development Code requirements, with council members seeking to understand the details of the request and the basis for the staff’s recommendation. The discussion also included the definition of “de minimis” and what constitutes “exceptional or extraordinary conditions.”

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Public comments on the variance request for the elevated pool were varied, with some expressing concerns about the impact on properties, market value, and the environment. Others questioned the accuracy of the property survey and compliance with flood regulations. The applicant addressed these concerns, detailing the challenges and delays faced in pursuing the pool project, including changes in setbacks and the impact of Hurricane Ian. They also highlighted efforts to compromise with neighbors.

Additionally, the council considered other variance requests, such as one from property owner Blair Harris for at-grade pool equipment to encroach into a required side yard setback. The variance was unanimously approved, taking into account the unanimous approval of the variance request by the LPA and the absence of any opposition from neighbors.

The council also approved a settlement agreement stemming from disputed billing and work performed by a contracting company after Hurricane Ian. The settlement amount of $225,000 was deliberated, with the town attorney expressing concerns about the risks associated with the attorney fee provision in the contract language.

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Updates on town infrastructure included the opening of Crescent Park and the new public building. The council expressed gratitude to Lee County for their assistance in getting Crescent Park open and discussed the remaining tasks for the new building’s development. There was also an update on ongoing legal matters, including the Kyero Enforcement issue, which was in the foreclosure process.

The council covered the appointment of representatives to various advisory boards, with members expressing interest in serving on specific boards. Notably, the council voted to keep Chad Jutes as the designated person for the Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership Policy Committee and various other committees.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Dan Allers
City Council Officials:
Jim Atterholt, John R. King, Scott Safford, Karen Woodson

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