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.