Ed. Note: This story was updated for better coverage of the entire meeting, it was the last meeting of 2020 and had a full agenda.
Fort Myers Beach Town Council began their meeting with a discussion of a "Crash" in their email system, probably due to a power outage from hurricane Etta. Emails are now working again, if you sent one recently, it's probably a good idea to resend it again.
First public comment was from Len Lemmer from Nervous Nellie's who was representing a group of citizens and businesses that surround Bayside Park who seek to have some input on its design, to put their concerns on the public record, mentioning honoring our Veterans.
Next Peter Ennis, co owner of Snug Harbor Restaurant, who also addressed suggestions about stage and bleachers among other concern about the design of Bayside Park. Nick Ruland spoke next, co owner of Snug Harbor Restaurant, bringing up lighting issues in the area among other issues.
Laurie Russell manager of Marina Village also located by Bayside Park added suggestions for a Splash Pad she saw during a visit at Babcock Ranch and also spoke about a Veterans Memorial Walkway.
Jan Lee spoke about Leonardo Arms bringing concern to the council about beach erosion at her building. Another resident (Cheryl?) also spoke about the beach erosion at the Leonardo Arms.
Boyd Sanharvest( please forgive if the names are not correct, the zoom meetings dialog are sometimes unclear) spoke about the Clock in Times square, with some impressive math to back his argument of the value that Clock has brought to the beach. Closing with, "I just want to recognize that it is important"
Paul Winter resident since 2004, spoke about lack of communications/ responses to inquiries with Town Council, also spoke about the abuse of deputies being paid $50 an hour at the traffic lights, they are supposed to be at the concrete medium under the traffic light. He ran out of time and was asked to wrap it up and give balance of comments to the clerk.
Mr. Seborea spoke about bathroom in public right of way.
Chris Shaub? spoke about beach chair and umbrella permitting Gail Mason spoke about the Arches and the Clock at today's council meeting but it's not on the agenda. She suggested that 2 members of Council and 2 members of County commission and get together a meeting of all the parties concerned.
Earl Morgan spoke about restoring the Arches.
Ray Murphy was again selected by Council to serve as Mayor and Rexann Hosafros was selected as Vice Mayor. The full agenda included discussion about beach renourishment, grant applications to the Lee County Tourism Development Council (TDC) for 2021, and two committee reports, among other items.
Representatives from the Town’s Anchorage Advisory Committee (AAC) and Bay Oaks Recreational Campus Advisory Board (BORCAB) submitted update reports. The AAC wants Town Council to approve the purchase and renovation of private property in the vicinity of Harbor House for the Mooring Field upland services facility. If approved, upland services would be managed by the Town instead of an outside service provider.
Related to the redevelopment of Bay Oaks, BORCAB wants Town Council to reconsider the original, full-scale plan that exceeds the current budget by 300 percent. BORCAB believes that the community would support the millions of dollars above the budget that this larger plan would cost. A joint meeting between Town Council and BORCAB is scheduled for January 2021.
In other business, Town Council approved extra-duty detail contracts with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to control pedestrian crossings at the foot of the Matanzas Pass Bridge and the intersection of Old San Carlos and Estero Boulevard. Boat patrols were also approved with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Public restrooms came up again during discussion about the Town’s requests to Lee County’s Tourism Development Council (TDC) for funding for various projects. The list of requests was approved. The list includes beach and shoreline maintenance and beach renourishment as well as signs, landscaping, restrooms and shade structures at Mound House and Newton Beach Park, and portable restroom trailers at the Palm Avenue Beach Access.
First public hearings were held for the special events, water supply facilities work plan, and height and setback requirements ordinances. The special events and height and setback requirements ordinances second public hearings are scheduled for Town Council’s first meeting in 2021, on January 11. The second hearing on the water supply facilities work plan is scheduled for the meeting on March 1, 2021.
Lastly, Town Councilors decided to cancel the annual cupcakes and New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square and the Town’s 25th birthday party due to continuing concerns about the spread of COVID where groups of people gather.
The next regularly-scheduled Town Council meeting will be on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 2525 Estero Boulevard. In keeping with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about COVID-19, Council meetings are adhering to standards of social distancing and have reduced capacity for an audience. Masks or other face-coverings are mandatory.
Council meetings are broadcast live on the Town’s YouTube channel and Comcast Channel 98. Visit www.fmbgov.com, then click on the title Mayor and Council, then go to Meetings & Agendas. Agendas and minutes of meetings are also available at that link. To find out when Council meetings are scheduled, visit the Town’s website at www.fmbgov.com and scroll down the homepage to the calendar. Keep up on meeting schedules by signing up to receive emails through the website’s Notify Me feature. Find that feature under the Quick Links column on the homepage.