An Illegal Parking Lot No More?

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For years the Fort Myers Beach government has claimed Key Estero Shops owner Carmine Naccarato was operating an illegal parking lot. Naccarato has ignored his code violation fines to the point the town is foreclosing on his property. However, it appears the town has made him an offer he’d be silly to refuse.

Spaces in the Key Estero parking lot are supposed to be for shoppers who come to the businesses in that plaza. In 2020 the town issued Naccarato a notice of violation and ordered he correct the violation by getting a special use permit. If Naccarato would have corrected the violation back then he would have paid a $75.00 administrative fee.

Naccarato did not correct the violation, fines began to accumulate and the town put a lien on his property. By the time the violation went before the town’s Special Magistrate in September 2020, Naccarato was facing $34,000 in fines. Naccarato continues to rent parking spaces, so to date, he’s racked up nearly $220,000 in fines that will keep accumulating at $200 per day.

This week Town Attorney Becky Voss told the Town Council that Naccarato came into town hall and said he wanted to pay off his fines because he was tired of paying attorneys. However, she added, he still has not written the check.

Voss also said that if Naccarato pays the fines he can then apply for a permit to operate his parking lot. There are about 130 spaces in the lot. While the Key Estero retail plaza remains empty of tenants, Voss says, Naccarato can sell every space in the lot. Naccarato owns two of the three retail plazas on Fort Myers Beach. The other is Sea Grape Plaza. At Thursday’s M&P meeting, Vice Mayor Jim Atterholt asked if there was anything the town could do “to get him (Naccarato) off his tail to renovate his property.”

If Naccarato pays his fine (and that’s a big if based on his history), and receives a permit, he can continue operating as he has been for years. Here’s what makes this even more interesting. If he’s getting, on average $25 per day per parking spot, 365 days per year (some days will be higher, some lower, and some spots will turnover more money every day), that’s $1.2 million per year in revenue. $1.2 million of low-maintenance revenue. Some of it most likely in cash.

According to Voss, as Naccarato’s building starts to fill up with tenants, the number of spaces he can sell to beachgoers is reduced.

Let’s look at the flip side of this. If Naccarato rents out all 22 units in the Key Estero plaza and they pay him $4,000 per month in rent, that’s $1.05 million in revenue. That doesn’t include any cost to renovate the building post-ian or any other landlord related expenses and taxes that come along with owning and operating that building.

What would you do?

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause. The town can levy fines but once they are in excess the federal courts have determined they are illegal. Town if taken to federal court by anyone would lose. Better to work out a settlement or agreement without the courts involvement. Would save thousands to both parties. Cite the case in Indiana on February 2019 by the Supreme Court of the United States.

  2. The town is dickering around with this guy! He doesn’t care., nor will he comply! He is laughing to heaven because he is going to do as he pleases. By the time the Govt takes it away, he will have banked more cash than he knows what to do with

  3. the town is missing the real issue on the island Instead of going after business owners
    We needs to figure out a parking garage for the island maybe the old city hall area , that way we won’t have buildings being removed to make parking lots
    we lost a gas station convenience store and yo taco and rude shrimp had to move to make about 10 parking spots would rather have 2 business than 10 parking spots
    We would rather have all of the commercial retail spaces filled with vendors not to park cars during season.
    figure that issue out please.

  4. Or I’m sure he could sell his properties to a developer, make about $10 million, pay off his “pocket-change” fine and then live happily ever after, lol

  5. Same reason people will keep food trucks as long as they can.
    Way more profitable than a new building on Beach . No question unless one is wealthy .

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