Disabled Vet Says Town Rule is Wrong

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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.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not sure what training the parking enforcement people receive. I received two parking tickets about 8 months apart while parked under the bridge. My valid FMB resident parking pass was clearly displayed in the proper area on my windshield. I had to call the city and after verifying the facts, the tickets were voided with the explanation both times of “We don’t know how that happened”.
    I would like to know the facts about disabled parking on FMB. I was unaware that it was available. I’m a Viet Nam Veteran with a recently issued legitimate disabled placard.

  2. I’m a disabled, full-time wheelchair user. We’ve called the parking enforcement & been told if no handicapped parking is available, park in a city controled spot & display the placard. No time limit has been mentioned. Same when i called Sanibel police. Everyone needs to get on the same page.

  3. I understand both sides. The town could consider work or employee tags which could serve both sides. A windshield tag limited and numbered for the number of employees. Getting workers is tough right now and I see this as a win win. If the store has two employee’s then two tags.

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