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Council vote to cancel trust parking agreement

October 5, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Fort Myers Beach Town Council narrowly voted to cancel a parking agreement via resolution, finding a public purpose for the four Chapel Street parking spaces adjacent to the beach access, as it is vital for the health safety and welfare of residents and tourists.

But while all council members agreed upon canceling the agreement at the board's meeting on Monday, the 3-2 split was caused by the verbiage used in the resolution, which some said made it seem there would be a double standard that would make some residents pay for parking and others not.

The parking agreement made by the town with the Tezak family trust allowed for four parking spaces adjacent to the Tezak property on Chapel Street.

However, while Councilmember Tracey Gore agreed with the resolution, she said it was unfair to change one person's right of way while everyone else gets a pass. The code is meant for commercial enterprises, not residential.

"It seems like we're still staying that it's a public necessity. I don't think it is. I agree with terminating the contract because I think they're allowed to park there. I don't think we should be charging for parking per our code," Gore said. "We don't charge anyone else like them."

"People have the right to access their house. How do we force one resident to pay and others not to?" said Joanna Shamp, who also voted against the measure.

This led to a suggestion by Anita Cereceda to have a discussion on what constitutes residential and commercial property. Is a rental a residential or commercial property? Would the town go after rentals? She said the questions put the town in a quandary.

In other business, the council also considered and approved a measure to move forward on putting an information booth in Times Square.

While council liked the design of the 75-square-foot structure, they were worried about the footprint, however small, since land for such an enterprise is already scarce.

The kiosk would have a small booth, while alongside would be a television which would show information on the town.

At night, advertising roll-down covers would be used to secure the kiosk, which would be 125 square-feet.

The kiosk could be movable in case of a weather event, but that would require a variance that isn't guaranteed.

"We have to meet five conditions. We can't say it's pretty so we'll allow it," Gore said.

Cereceda said putting it near, or even in the wavy wall was another possibility, but Gore rejected it.

The city also heard the first of an ordinance that would prohibit marijuana dispensaries on Fort Myers Beach. It was agreed that the Local Planning Agency would take it up for its Nov. 14 meeting and the council would hold a second hearing on the matter Dec. 4.

The council also approved committee appointments.

William Kubicek, Mike Ratliff and Greg Holmes were appointed to the Anchorage Advisory Committee; Daniel Hughes and Richard Cote were added to the Audit Committee, and Dan Hughes, Jane Plummer and Laurie Wolfe were named to the LPA, among others.

Council also approved by a 3-2 vote awarding the bid for Delmar Avenue Bayside improvements to V&H Construction for $27,400.



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