Beach businesses could lose outdoor seating space

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.- Fort Myers Beach’s fire code could put some restaurant owners out of business. The town says there needs to be more space in Times Square for emergency crews to get through, but that means taking away tables for outdoor seating.

“I don’t want to go out of business, I am going to fight very hard for it,” said owner of La Ola, Thomas List.

Business owners in the Times Square area fear they may lose a huge chunk of their business.

“I’ve been running my business for five years, why should I give something away,” List told WINK News.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach says they need 20 feet, mainly for a fire truck to get through.

“If the fire department needs 20 feet, we need to get them 20 feet,” said council woman Rexann Hosafros.

“It’s almost impossible to run a business.”

The owner of La Ola says at his restaurant up to 10 tables could be wiped out.

“For me this is half of my business, I cannot accept this.”

His biggest fear is the amount of money he will lose, and the possible layoffs.

“I have a responsibility, I have 18 employees, they are not just kids, they are a father, a mother.”

Right now, most of the outdoor seating along this strip is in the public’s right away, meaning the businesses do not own that property, they rent it, for $4.50 per square foot, a price that could go up.

“It should be increased because the citizens of the town are letting businesses use their land, if someone private owned it, they would charge a lot more for it,” said Hosafros.

“I am going to fight for this, what do we get for our $4.50? We have to maintain everything, anyways.”

The fire code states trucks need a minimum 20 feet wide space for a fire truck to get through.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.