Deciding the future look of Fort Myers Beach

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

The future look of one island that Hurricane Ian hit the hardest is at stake on Monday. After months of waiting, a discussion on Fort Myers Beach is finally being had about potentially changing the rules and regulations for rebuilding people’s homes.

It’s a topic that has some residents on the island concerned. Since Ian made it to the island, there have been multiple setbacks for people simply trying to rebuild their homes and lives.

The discussion is in a joint meeting between the Fort Myers Beach Town Council and the town’s local planning agency.

To be clear, the town council is still discussing some of the issues and there’s a lot of work still to be done.

But, a major decision was made on Monday. It was decided that Fort Myers Beach will stick to its “floor area ratio” that it had before Hurricane Ian hit.

That means the lower your home is to the ground, the denser and wider the building can be. And the taller your home is, the narrower and less dense it can be.

It’s important because many people lost their homes during the storm, and a large number of them were one-story homes on the ground. Many of the people in this circumstance want to rebuild bigger, better, and higher than before.

And the town has rejected those plans because they exceed the floor area ratio rule. If Fort Myers Beach were to allow for flexibility, that would be the “inch” developers would use to build almost anything they want. And that doesn’t necessarily align with what the people want.

“To the council, I really would hope that you guys have a backbone and keep our comprehensive plans in place. There is a reason we became a town. There’s a reason why all these people moved here. They didn’t move to Clearwater. They didn’t move to Miami. They moved to Fort Myers Beach, it is a small community that interacts with one another. Please don’t take the money from the big boys, and take care of the community that put you guys there in the first place,” a resident said at the meeting.

Traffic was another big issue discussed at the meeting.

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