Condo Association residents showed up in force Monday. Appearing before the Fort Myers Beach town council, speakers representing hundreds of condo residents voiced their opposition to a revised town ordinance, approved last year, to protect the turtles on the beach.
The modification made to the ordinance (21-03) requires anyone who’s replacing windows, and all new construction, to install windows using glass with an inside to outside light transmittance value of 15% or less. The previous percentage was 45%, which is what the state requires. The change was made to provide more protection from light for nesting sea turtles on Fort Myers Beach and help prevent disorientations.
Using the public comment portion of the town council meeting residents from Island Winds, Sand Caper, Smugglers Cove, Carlos Pointe and others told council members there were unintended consequences as a result of the ordinance modification.
Island Winds Condo Association President Dave Nussbaum told the council that the 15% glass is not in high demand so it’s hard to even find it from the glass industry. And, with the product in such low demand it’s more expensive. Island Winds was in the middle of a 10-year project to replace their windows. They had to halt the project with 37 units to go due to the new rule.
Sue O’Brien from Sand Caper said her association would now have to keep the old windows in because of the high price of the new glass and the limited inventory.
Dave Wiser from Smuggler’s Cove said a few residents in his condo tried the new 15% glass and found it so dark inside that the lights have to be on during the day just to be able to move around safely.
Mariner’s Boat House and Beach Resort is a 22 unit time share built back in 1985. That facility had just embarked on a project to replace all of its sliding glass doors, not an inexpensive project to begin with. Bids had just come in for the project last year. The ordinance was then changed to 15%. That halted the project completely.
Later in the meeting, councilman Bill Veach said the change came from a problem, not a whim, but admitted it was worth re-evaluating.
Nussbaum said there were only 6 turtle disorientations in 2021.
Mayor Ray Murphy said, “We don’t always get it right. If we got this wrong, it should be corrected.”
The council will discuss the issue further at its Thursday M&P meeting to discuss whether the ordinance needs to be changed back.