Melanie Anne Ryan is a disabled, 15-year veteran of the United States Army. Last May, she had her right hip replaced. After recovering from surgery, she returned to work at South Sea Traders on Old San Carlos Boulevard.
Melanie was issued a disabled parking permit issued to her by the Florida DMV. Parking on Old San Carlos Boulevard while working had never before been a problem for Melanie. She parks in a regular parking spot on Old San Carlos. The town has a 2-hour time limit in the regular parking spots on Old San Carlos.
She tells Beach Talk radio News that the Fort Myers Beach parking enforcers have told her that, handicapped permit or not, disabled or not, she still has to move her vehicle every two hours. Melanie says she received a nasty note from the parking enforcers on Saturday and a ticket on Sunday.
Melanie told us she spoke with one of the parking enforcers to find out what was going on. “He alleges that the town council voted for this and that “all” the business owners on Old San Carlos and Times Square asked for this. That was news to my employer. Does the Fort Myers Beach town council really expect disabled veterans and other disabled folks aren’t very mobile to hobble back to their vehicles every two hours hoping that they can find another parking spot?”
Melanie says there are times she’s the only employee at the store. “Unless the owner is here, I’m the only person who works the register. The town would have me close the store every two hours while I try to find another spot close enough to the store that I don’t aggravate my artificial hip. How much business does the town expect us to forfeit while I play musical chairs with my truck? This isn’t just wrong-headed, but it’s anti-business, anti-veteran and anti-disabled.
Melanie says what ought to be done is for Fort Myers Beach not to require handicapped people to have to play musical cars every 2 hours. “If someone is disabled, then the town should leave them be.”