Clean Up or The Town Will Do it For You

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The Fort Myers Beach Town Council is about to get serious with property owners who refuse to clean up. Whether its lawns not being mowed, weeds not being pulled or structures not being demolished, this Town Council believes property owners have had plenty of time to clean up. Here’s what they plan to do…

The town began reaching out to property owners, back in October. They wanted to know why they had not begun the process of cleaning up their property, repairing their homes or demolishing structures that could not be repaired. Town Manager Andy Hyatt said some people responded to those initial wave of letters while others didn’t. The Town Council is now in agreement that enough time has been given to everyone and further action needs to be taken.

Property owners that are refusing to start the process to get their homes or commercial buildings back into code compliance will be sent another letter over the next 30 days. The property owner will have 30 days to respond to those letters. In the meantime, the town will be preparing an RFP to find a contractor to knock down structures, both home and commercial buildings. If the town must knock down an unsafe or abandoned structure a lien will then be put on the property to attempt to recoup the money it cost town taxpayers to knock the structure down. An additional step could be for the town to foreclose on the property.

Mayor Dan Allers said, “We’ve given people enough time. We’ve been fair, We need to start the process.” Allers used the old Pierside Grill property in Times Square as an example of a location that has been fenced by the property owner but not cleaned up.

Fencing a structure, whether its a home or a commercial building is no longer enough. Town Attorney Becky Voss said properties have to be brought back to code. “Securing property is not enough. It’s been more than a year. If they are not coming down, they need to be fixed.” She told the council they had tools in their toolbox to get property owners into compliance and she referenced the International Property Maintenance Code.

The situation has many residents frustrated. They are starting to become more vocal about the abandoned buildings and homes, especially if they’ve gone through the painful process of demolishing their homes and started to rebuild. They want to see their streets and neighborhoods cleaned up.

53 COMMENTS

  1. you don’t need a permit to clean a home. You don’t need a permit to replace sheetrock. You don’t need a permit to replace electrical outlets. You can repair and replace without a permit the stuff you need to get back in if you don’t replace outside windows.

    • Framing inspection, wiring inspection, plumbing inspection, insulation inspection, drywall inspection… all requiring permitting.

  2. I wonder if the town will claim Eminent Domain. Then auction off the residential sites to the highest bidder with a planned course of action with city approval by March 1st, 2024

  3. I am sure a lot of the insurance issues is that people had hazard and windstorm and not Flood. Most of the damage was done from flood. I feel bad for all of them but I know Hazard and windstorm does not want to pay for damage from storm surge. Very sad.

  4. I’m staying in CO until I can return to my home on the beach. I’m waiting for a permit from FMB to move on with rebuild! 1 1/2 yrs is a long time to wait for a permit!!

    • Incomplete submissions always result in delays. Using competent, experienced professionals and contractors makes permitting a breeze.

      • The town of FMB keeps sending my licensed professional contractor back to get additional items that they never mentioned upon the first submittal. They wait until the contractor brings the permit app in and then say, “oh, now you need to have all the subcontractors’ permits too”. It’s very frustrating and delays the process. It took over 6 months to get a permit to bring our house up to code. As a result, our house isn’t nearly finished and won’t be until April or June!

      • Holly O, You don’t live on the beach, you don’t live in Lee County, you don’t live in Florida and you are not a home owner here. It’s offensive for you to come on here and lecture home owners that are dealing with this disaster, fighting our insurance companies and trying to find reputable contractors and tell come here and us we are filling out out paperwork wrong. Go away Holly O. No one cares what you have to say. You are not one of us. Quit trying to act like you are.

        • Holly O has a long and deep history with FMB and cares deeply about what happens here and the success of the Island’s recovery. She knows its history, stays informed and is knowledgeable of what she comments on. Don’t be a hater.

          • You can read about it’s history in a book. Knowing the history of FMD doesn’t make her a resident and she’s not. She’s a fake account, and she full of shit, but no surprise you support a fake full of shit person.

        • You are so right about Holly O. Hey Holly, where do you live and why do you have a smart ass remark for EVERYTHING. You’re so annoying and you DON’T love on the beach, Lee County or even Florida. Mind your own towns business and get lost.

          • Wow. People seem very fussy and have their panties in a bunch. I haven’t read a single post from Holly that annoyed me.

          • This comment is for Steve D and Steve Duello, who I assume are one in the same. Since you enjoy Holly O’s annoying and rude comments, get her number and you two can exchange emails and chat. No one on this forum apprecite her rude, obnoxious comments. She wants to be thought of as a know it all and enjoys posting rude, unwelcomed comments to home owners. Since she has nothing to do with the beach and just is an annoying troll, no one wants to tolerate her or her posts. In the beginning we all ignored her but she won’t stop. At this point she is just a stalker that lurks around waiting to post another rude attack on a home owner. We all have enough to deal with and we don’t need her to just make it worse.

        • Holly sure seems to get the women fired up. Take a breath, eat a pill if you need to and calm yourselves! Yikes.

          What if I told you that Holly has been a beach vacationer for decades, was a longtime resident in the immediate area and her parents were FMB residents and property owners? As if she required those credentials to opine on BTR’s Facebook page or Newsletter.

          • Steve D, I assume you are Holly O’s care taker now coming to defend her while she eats her oatmeal. She doesn’t just bother women but also men. You really know her history. There’s a saying that my daddy used to tell me that “used to’s doesn’t count” she used to live in the “immediate area”. Proving everyone’s point, she’s not a FMB resident, hasn’t been a resident and won’t be a resident nor a homeowner. She has no business with her rude condescending remarks not having a clue with what the real residents and homeowners have gone through with Ian and the recovery process. She certainly loves to defend the town council and towns decisions on everything. She hasn’t experienced what we all are going through and she feels opined to chime in with her dumb comments. Clearly she’s ran out her welcome around here.

          • Steve, what is your obscession with this woman? You clearly must be close to her to know her entire history and to feel like you have to defend her against people she has been harrassing for months. The problem is Steve, we don’t care what her past is. We don’t care who she knew or that she used to live in the area. LOL We just care that she comes on here and writes rude comments, tells home owners what we are doing wrong, blames us for delayed permits,etc. Her opinions are not welcome.
            You asked Joe to “copy and paste” one of her rude comments. You really should go look yourself and not ask others to dig for you to protect your “friend”….but if you just scrolled up, you would find a few:

            1.) Holly O. January 9, 2024 At 7:07 pm
            LOL

            “You know nothing of my FMB history, but hopefully your ranting makes you feel better.”
            ****The fact is, no on cares what her “history” is.

            2.) Holly O. January 9, 2024 At 1:24 pm
            Incomplete submissions always result in delays. Using competent, experienced professionals and contractors makes permitting a breeze.
            ****So she is insinuating that home owners do not know how to fill out the applications and it’s all our fault.

            Steve we are going to hell and no one wants to hear the constant harrassment and rudeness from Holly O.

            I’m done with this riduclous conversation. But BTW, my name is Chris and I am a man. So your comment that Holly O is getting to the women is riduclous. Stop making your sexist comments that Holly O is only bothering women. Comments like that could get you hauled into HR if you were still working. Choose a more worthy battle. Holly O is not worth it. Have a good night Steve.

          • I actually use to enjoy talking to Holly until she started snapping and posting peoples tax rolls. One was a good friend on Hibiscus… for what, what was the point? know, I know, they are public accessible, but we dont need anyone looking them up, snapping a pic with addresses, names and what our homes are worth and sporting them on Facebook. That is what is annoying. If she wants to be a know it all, that’s fine… perhaps she is bored and has nothing else to do, but if you post my name/personal info, I’m not going to be super happy about it.

  5. I have a jury trial for insurance not paying on the docket for September 2024. My insurer is sending yet more forensic inspectors next month. As a single woman with a back injury, I’ve cleared, cleaned, and applied for an owner/builder permit. Meanwhile, I am fighting off rats from the property across the street that hasn’t been cleared out, belongings strewn downstairs and in the driveway, a gaping hole in the roof, plumbing, insulation hanging, etc. We have a responsibility as homeowners, especially over one year later.

    • Totally agree. The empty damaged buildings that are in the heart of the down town district, need to be renovated and readied for businesses to rent and open new places to eat and shop. It is NOT fair to the businesses that did thier work to open and are contributing to the revitalization of the business district… that thier patrons have to look at delapidated boarded up buildings. It is not in the best interest of the community in whole, to have to put up with the blight. If you can’t afford to fix it up, then you need to sell it off. I’m sorry, but it’s time.

  6. I believe all permits should be displayed on property if getting worked on! Finally, some dilapidated rental homes are getting cosmetic upgrades on our street. I think they don’t make the 50% rule.
    If they have their permits displayed, then the public knows it went thru all the proper channels and passed all hurdles for a safe structure.

  7. Town Should have been issuing letters and taking action six months ago, the conditions on the island are deplorable, many properties haven’t been touched by human hands, it’s unacceptable!

  8. I would not remove my non conforming foundation until after a new building permit is issued.
    a temporary fence is all that is required

    • That is a great point! But the other thing I think people are not realizing is if they take that foundation out where the beach pier side stood would create a real problem during storm surge events. Did anyone notice the amount of sand in Times Square after the storms that came through at Christmas time? As much as I like to see things being cleaned up, if they take that wall on the beach side out and that concrete slab/foundation whatever you want to call it, can you imagine the water and sand that would come up into Times Square? There was a lot after the Christmas storms and removing that slab would only add to that problem. I’m sure the town employees don’t need any more sand to shovel out after a storm event never mind the sand going into businesses like yo taco to say nothing of the drains. It may not be pretty to look at that slab but in my opinion it is serving a purpose during surges. But your point about the non conforming lot is spot on.

  9. But it’s not just taking down abandoned buildings!!!! It’s the little things like long grasses that have become weeds; garbage piling up, bricks, wires; little stuff that would take a couple of hours to clean up!!!

  10. Only 14% of all Florida Hurricane Ian insurance claims remain open. That means only 14% of all the derelict, trash filled, weed filled properties on FMB have somewhat of an excuse. Unfortunately, this does not mean those 14% get a “get out of jail free” card to do nothing with the properties that they own. They were required to maintain their properties prior to the hurricane and they need to do so now.

    • Don’t know where you get you info re insurance companies…I’ve been fighting the Fl Peninsula insurance crooks for over a year tried everything ,PA Lawyer insurance commissioner still no check..ivehad ins wirh them for years and always pay premium..but they don’t pay claims

      • My comment is regarding OPEN claims, not closed but being disputed. I’m sorry you’re fighting with the insurance company and I hope the best for you and everyone else fighting. But, in the meantime, you’re still a property owner and you still have a responsibility to maintain your property. I don’t think anyone expects anyone to rebuild the their structure prior to insurance settlements, but at least clean the trash and cut the weeds until the insurance is figured out. Thank you.

  11. The town should also follow up with all claims that have not been paid by insurance companies. Many people don’t have the kind of money to start bringing their property up to code . I agree that things should be clean up by now , but it’s really frustrating that after a year of a natural disaster insurances have not paid.

    • If insurance claims are outstanding and not getting paid, the city’s attorney should be assisting the property owners by filing suit against the insurance companies. I did this for a claim I had after Irma, won the case and all legal fees were paid by the insurance company without one cent out of my pocket. Why can’t the city do this?

      • It is not the towns (taxpayers) job to file anything for a private property owner. Take responsibility for your own private property and either clean it up, fix it up, knock it down, or sell it if you can’t afford to remedy your situation.

    • My daughter took her insurance company to court. Before the judgement but After all the inspections were done, it was not necessary for her to keep her dilapidated pile of blocks and she had the remnants removed. Not all structures have to stay to very end. I think some homeowners just use it as an excuse not to clean up.

  12. I wonder what this means for the Catholic Church property. We’ve heard they won’t be rebuilding for a few years. The lizards around that property are large!

  13. You know, there are many owners suffering from the almost gangster like conduct of their insurance companies just not honoring obligations. That’s serious money! Wish the council could kick those criminals in the you know what, and get the crooks to write the checks….would certainly help accelerate our return to being that special place

  14. So they will send the letters in 30 days and then they have 30 days to respond. That gives them an additional 60 days to even have to talk about it. That means the town will have given the people 18 months after the storm to begin to even talk about it. Great Job.

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