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Council nixes parasailing ordinance

April 3, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A request to operate a parasailing operation off Fort Myers Beach died at its first public hearing Monday.

The ordinance, which was up for a first reading, eventually failed after Town Councilmember Rexanne Hosafros withdrew her motion to second following discussion.

The lack of the motion effectively killed the proposal for parasailing activities that would have allowed from a movable booth at the Edison Beach House.

Parasailing at Edison House had already been denied in 2014, and owner Pat Rinaldi, owner of the company, said he had a license but no home for it.

He told council that parasailing would have no worse impact than beach chairs and umbrellas and personal watercraft rentals and that it would provide a place for that activity north of the pier.

Mayor Anita Cereceda said she was concerned about safety to those who were in the water, while Rinaldi argued that the reason there weren't many boats is because there are so many swimmers.

Hosafros said the previous council had spoken, saying the decision was no different than seeking a variance.

"I respect what previous council have done. I remember researching this and remember saying we would give them this in exchange for other activities not being done," said Hosafros said, who was on the 2014 council that disallowed parasailing.

Vice Mayor Ray Murphy said the original idea was to limit vendors in town, adding it was a good idea at the time, but maybe not anymore.

Still, despite Rinaldi's pleas that this decision could imperil his business, council voted not to move the request to a second hearing.

In other business, Town Council approved a variance for a family at 215 Primo Drive.

The board unanimously approved a variance to the rear, water and side setbacks for an improved elevated deck at the home.

The variance will allow the applicant, Mark Kuehn, to permit repairs and reconstruction of the deck and stairs.

Also, two council members had things to say regarding an odor coming from the beach as a result of a type of algae.

Murphy said that he has been getting numerous complaints regarding the red drift algae that has been washing up on the beach.

Town manager Roger Hernstadt said the town cannot remove it without a permit, but only manipulate it so that it washes out during high tide.

Getting a permit is only temporary.

The town got a permit to remove algae two weeks ago, but it had expired. The town asked if it could get a permit for during season, as it has adversely impacted residents, Murphy said.

The algae may be unsightly but is not considered to be dangerous. Shamp suggested that perhaps the algae could be used as fill for sand dunes in the Newton Beach area.

Bruce Butcher said there also has been an odor at Laguna Shores. He was told it was a different algae that may be decomposing.

The algae is much smaller and also is not considered toxic. It cannot be raked up like they do on Sanibel.



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