Fort Myers Beach LPA Debates Special Exception for Rude Shrimp Bar

In a recent meeting, the Fort Myers Beach Local Planning Agency grappled with a special exception request from Rude Shrimp, a local business seeking permission to operate a bar with visible outdoor music.

The Rude Shrimp business became a focal point as multiple public comments addressed its operations at Moss Marina. Supporters of Rude Shrimp emphasized the establishment’s role in community events and its ability to attract visitors. They described the ambiance created by the business as a positive contribution to the town’s rebuilding efforts and commended the owners for their involvement in charitable activities. One speaker mentioned the business provides a sense of normality, while a professional yacht captain spoke of the good vibe Rude Shrimp creates.

Contrarily, others raised issues and objections, particularly the noise and disturbance caused by music and patron behavior. Residents spoke of disruptions from partygoers and questioned the appropriateness of approving the special exception. Trust in the enforcement of regulations was a recurring theme, with skepticism about the business’s response to complaints. Some residents feared that the tranquility of their neighborhood was at stake due to the Rude Shrimp’s activities.

The LPA members themselves were engaged in a nuanced discussion about the special exception for Rude Shrimp’s bar. While some members supported the business and proposed conditions like noise mitigation measures and a review period, others voiced concerns about neighborhood impacts. Conditions such as an evacuation plan and restrictions on entertainment speaker direction were debated. Ultimately, the members voted to recommend approval of the special exception with additional conditions, including a six-month review process to ensure compliance with commitments.

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Aside from the Rude Shrimp case, the meeting also touched on other topics. The LPA discussed a variance request for 718 Estero Boulevard, where an error in the Coastal Construction Control Line location had led to a need for a reduced setback. The variance was recommended for approval by staff and proceeded without questions from the LPA members.

Another variance request for a property on Tropical Shores Way sought to construct a home wider than the 65-foot limit allowed. This request, too, was met with staff’s recommendation for approval and was eventually passed unanimously. A second variance request on the same street was for a reduced street setback, which staff initially recommended denying. However, after a detailed argument from the applicant, highlighting exceptional circumstances due to Hurricane Ian’s damage, the variance was granted.

The LPA also discussed temporary business structures and their impact on the island’s family-friendly image. A debate over the sale of CBD products and its effects on local pharmacies ensued. The conversation shifted to code enforcement, focusing on properties not maintained after 18 months since the hurricane. The building official would red tag unsafe structures, and those posing safety risks would be taken down.

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Furthermore, praise was given to London Bay and a small business owner for their cleanup efforts post-hurricane. The meeting also delved into the development agreement with deviations, with the LPA attorney outlining the application process, negotiation steps, and the recording of development agreements in the public record.

The potential implementation of development agreements as a tool for property development was a topic of debate, with a need for further clarification on its impact on different property types. Questions were raised about whether the proposed language provided enough flexibility for different projects, like small hotels seeking additional density, and the potential discriminatory nature of zoning.

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
Planning Board Officials:
Douglas Eckmann, Jane Plummer, Don Sudduth, Anita Cereceda, Patrick Vanasse, James Boan

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