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Town Council talks zoning, trash

November 6, 2018
By JESSE MEADOWS ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Zoning issues and Times Square trash collection dominated discussion at the first council meeting of November on Monday.

Fort Myers Beach Town Council approved a motion 4-0 to rezone existing office space at the Gullwing Resort, which would allow the space to become six additional guest units.

Dave Nesbaum, president of adjacent Island Winds, raised concerns about further development affecting his business, but was assured that the move would not result in more traffic or development.

The Lighthouse Resort also requested a rezoning for two parcels of land they are currently using under an easement from the town. A lengthy debate on density transfer ensued. Council set a second hearing for their case on Nov. 19.

Two residents on Donora Boulevard came before the council with issues regarding public property in their backyards. Both were facing difficulties renovating their pools, as some of the land behind their property is technically owned by the town.

Scott Safford from the LPA pointed out that the Donora subdivision was platted before the canal was built. This left a gap of public land between the seawall and property lines.

Safford stated that this was a larger issue that requires a joint session between the council and LPA in order to find a more comprehensive solution.

Pete Oiderma of 300 Donora Blvd. was granted a variance that would allow him to construct a pool deck and pool enclosure adjacent to the public right-of-way near the canal.

Thomas Renard of 450 Donora Blvd. came before the council to request a hearing on vacation of property on which he had partially constructed a pool, believing he was in compliance.

Council voted to grant a use permit to him that would allow construction to continue, and postpone vacation indefinitely.

The sole dissenting vote on postponing vacation was Councilmember Anita Cereceda, as she felt it would be precedent-setting and did not address the larger problem at hand.

"This is something we need to sit down and look at," Councilmember Boback said to Renard, "but we want to get your pool done as well."

The issue of trash collection in Times Square came up for review this year, with the method of collection and fees still being discussed.

John Gucciardo of the Times Square Merchant Association requested that the status quo be maintained for now.

Trash collection in Times Square currently costs $80,000 per year, 65 percent of which the town subsidizes.

Cereceda noted that the decision to close off Times Square to traffic and install a pedestrian walkway affected businesses' abilities to dispose of trash and accept deliveries.

"It impacted the restaurants tremendously. These decisions were made contrary to the requests of those businesses," she said.

Gucciardo said there is a good argument to be made for the town to continue subsidizing costs due to the fact that the pedestrian walkway impedes trash collection.

A $38,500 trash compactor is one option for Times Square, though where it would be located and how disposal costs would be calculated remain to be decided.

"Your discussion here bears out the point we were trying to make," Gucciardo told the council after much deliberation.

"Some areas of discussion have been relatively simple... the trash hauling and associated issues dealing with trash hauling, recycling, and labor costs are a little more complex."

The issue is set to be discussed in further detail at the planning meeting on Nov. 8, to see a final vote at the next council meeting on Nov. 19.

In Other Business:

- A motion allowing a state of emergency to be declared for longer than the current seven-day default was passed unanimously

- The town will spend $47,956 to purchase mobile radio systems from Motorola to be used in the event that cell and landlines go down during an emergency

- A motion was passed 4-0 to address the lack of closed captioning on town meeting broadcasts, following legal action against the town on Monday morning

- Five current members of the Historic Advisory Committee were officially appointed: Lorrie Wolf and Scott Safford for two-year terms, and Susan Dzyacky, Patrick McKeown, and Betty Simpson for three-year terms. Two additional seats are still available for two-year terms.



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