4 year(s) ago | Beach News Today
Booze on the Beaches had the The Fort Myers Beach Town Council confused and staggering this week. In the end, the five council members couldn't make a decision. The hottest issue on the island in years drew dozens of protesters to Town Hall to rail against the plan to spread alcohol across our bathing beaches. Among them were five former mayors of the town who said the plan flies in the face of everything islanders wnated their new town to.
The proposed law would allow bars, restaurants and resort hotels to sell and pour booze far out onto their sandy beaches. in places where most of them can't now do so. The town has been piecing toogether the plan for almost two years but the council was obviously confused over just how far out on the beaches the booze could be consumed and appeared unable to understand what their staff have been telling them. Finally, after moer than three hours of public input and a dizzying council discusssion with staff that created more questions than answers, Mayor Larry Kiker called a halt to the discussion, tabled it and vowed to create a task force to look further into details of the plan.
Civic Association board member and former Mayor Dennis Boback will be one of those on the task force. The Civic Association board has consistenlty opposed the plan, as have all six of the island's living mayors.
The Council will address the plan again in a May 21s
A determined group of beach residents won the day at the Feb. 21st. council meeting by beating back an attempt to waive the noise ordinance for a restaurant's all day, outdoor St. Patty's Day party. Nervous Nellie's owner and manager wanted the council to waive the towns maximum decibel levels for the bands he's bringing for the party. The party goes on for 11 hours on St. Patty's Day, right under the windows of dozens of residents along the Third Street and Crescent Street neighborhoods. One after another the residents addressed council, asking it to reject a request that would have snuffed out their right to call police when the loud music comes blasting throught their walls all day and late into the night. After hearing both sides, the council said no. The issue is going to come back again in April when the restaruant is planning another outdoor party with a number of bands. The residents vowed to come back then if necessarry if the restaurant again seeks a waiver to the noise levels.
Fort Myers Beach Mayor Larry Kiker wants Ray Judah's Lee County Commission seat. Kiker says he's runnning for the commission. The Rebublican primary is in August. Also iin the race is retired reporter Charlie Whitehead, who lives on San Carlos Island. Judah has yet to announce if he's running for another term. Kiker said he will remain on the beach council while he runs for the county seat.
Beach voters shouted a resounding no to borrowing up to $7 million for a new town hall. More than 86 percent of those who turned out to vote said no to the town's request. Only 13 percent favored it. It isn't known yet if the council will keep leasing its present location or file eminent domain on the building and property and let a judge decide the final amount. One this is clear, it will be much less than the millions that would have been needed to buy land and build a new town hall.
The town council will hold at least one workshop to discuss plans for how to expand alcohol sales onto the bahting beaches, something that most bars, restaurants and resorts can't do now. Town Community Deveopment Director Walter Fluegel has laid out a plan that would required drinkers to sit behind ropes and bollards near the business and not be able to mingle with beachgoers laying on blankets out on the bathing beaches. The drinks would have to remain in that confined area. The Lee County Sheriff's Department has enorsed that restriction to make it easier for their deputies to know where the boundaries are. But councilman Joe Kosinski is opposed to the confinement and wants to let drinkers go out onto the bathing beaches. Under Fluegel's plan the sales of alchohol outiside on the beaches would have to end one hour after sunset. Two public hrearings will be held on whatever plan the council finally goes forward with. We'll let you know the dates of those hearings.
September's Tidelines reveals how broken promises at the island's community pool are soaking beach taxpayers. The story also reveals that costs there are four times higher than the public was told they would be when the pool was built. Be sure and pick up a copy of Tidelines at business along the island now. You can find them at Publix, the Post Office, Topps, both banks, The Munch Box, the Library, The Mermaid Lounge, Town Hall, Sun Hardware and the Yucatan Grill. You can also have them mailed to your home or business. Just call 470-3407 for mailing requests. You can also read it online at fmbcivic.org.