Clean up Your Mess…Or Else

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It’s been more than 14 months since Hurricane Ian made landfall on Fort Myers Beach. As we get further and further away from September 28, 2022, we see more homes being repaired and rebuilt and pockets of green grass and new landscaping blanketing the island.

However there are still too many property owners, both residential and commercial, who have not done anything to clean up the mess Hurricane Ian left behind on their properties. Soon, the town will become more aggressive addressing those property owners who have done nothing.

On Monday, Town Manager Andy Hyatt said the town would be sending out request for proposals for contractors who will be hired by the town to knock down structures, remove ignored debris, and clean overgrown yards. Residents who live on the island and have made the effort to clean up their property are starting to get frustrated with those property owners who are doing nothing.

The town has a list of properties they will start with. That list includes property owners who were sent a letter by the town several months ago which simply asked the property owner the status of cleaning up their property. Any property owners that chose to ignore the town letter gets the honor of going to the top of the list. On Mondays With the Mayor, Mayor Dan Allers said, “Now it’s time for the town to get a little more aggressive. We’ve been more than fair.”

If a property has to be cleaned or demolished by the town, it will be at the expense of the taxpayers. The town will then try to recoup that money for the taxpayers by placing a lien on the property in which the work was done. All the legalities of that scenario are now being worked out by the town attorney.

A good example of a property owner that has ignored the town is in Times Square where the property in which the former Pierside Grill once stood has gone untouched and unfenced for the entire 14 months since the storm. Town Council members know that is a highly trafficked area and the property, with chunks of broken concrete and rebar, can easily be accessed from the steps on the beach.

23 COMMENTS

  1. One thing comes to mind that should be considered is for the Town to (absolutely) have primacy on liens. We wouldn’t want past lenders to be able to muck up the process. Also, a bond could be floated with Federal back-up to take the onus off the taxpayers; funds to draw on while waiting for liens to be perfected and collected.

  2. Our neighbor has done nothing at the beach shell hotel we’ve been working hard for 14 months and spending a lot of money to improve our property on Gulf Beach road. It’s frustrating to see an unfenced commercial building where sketchy people sleep and animals lurk next to my property. Sure like to get that property on the list how do we do that? Just look at this it’s a disgrace right across from town hall gate 25. The scumwater in their pool is caused insect infestation where we’ve never had a mosquito bite previously pre-Ian. Just saying this is a real island problem that we need to escalate an importance.

  3. We have a few properties at the beginning of Fairweather that are the pits. In fact an older man from further down the street has been seen stopping on his bike and trying to clean up the properties because the owner won’t do it. Now that’s a great neighbor. No 80 year old should bare that kind of work load but we know it’s out of pride for his street and neighborhood.

  4. They need to also tell people to cut down their dead trees. There are dead trees all over. Broken, uprooted and just dead. If they have not “come back” by now, they are dead and this is just another risk for our properties.Sanibel made people take down dead trees months ago. The town of Sanibel took down trees along roads and walkways. But naturally on FMB it is being ignored. We are worried on turtle lights.

  5. Well, I’ve written numerous complaints to the town regarding the empty lot next to our house. A septic tank was opened by Ian and now is filled with mosquitos and nostrums and who knows what else. My husband has been mowing their grass because when it is overgrown we get snakes coming over to our property. Also the people on the other side to them have to endure the smell and bugs while they are still living in a RV. One of the young owners of the property came by and told my husband that he works for the town and they are too busy to come by. Well, it’s not the town that needs to fix this. It’s the owners of the property is what my husband told him. So because he works for the town, he is exempt from fines and all? Please tell them they need to fix this ASAP and start taking care of their own lawn. Haven’t seen anyone around since almost a year ago. It’s the empty lot on Palmetto Street, in the 5300’s between a house and an RV. I’ve posted the exact address on the website but no one has done anything. Why should my husband continue to mow their lawn for our safety? Come on, Town. These people have left us to deal with their property even before Ian, but leaving an open septic tank now for over a year is not feasible.

  6. Taxpayers should not foot the bill..get $ from Fed funds put lies on property immediately is that legal,,? Taxpayers paying for others mess..

  7. Funding should not be an issue. Most of these properties are worth millions. As long as the city places a lien, the town will get their money back.

    • Time & materials plus 25% compounded daily ! Then when sold … if done right it will be the best investment FMB ever made !

  8. After a reasonable time to decide, or gather the money to get the clean up or rebuild started, it should have been done for the benefit or consideration of your neighbors & those that want the island to come back with tourists money.
    SO GLAD THE TOWN IS TAKING THIS STEP AND PUT A LIEN ON THE PROPERTY WITH INTEREST TO GET THE TAX PAYERS MONEY BACK.👍🏽

  9. Until you start the lien process and several are cited and cleaned will the rest of the property owners get the message. Liens should cover not only the clean up but the carrying charges for the town and others tax payers in interest.

  10. That is exactly what has to happen. It is sad that the tax payers have to fork the bill but that happens everywhere. It happens on vacant lots that are overgrown. City cuts the grass and charges the owner with a bill or a lien. If not, nothing will get done. The tax payers in return get a clean area where people want to buy or live. It also affects house values. So yes it is about time.

  11. Get the funds from DeSantis or increase taxes for said untouched properties only. The expense should NOT be put on the taxpayers who have cleaned their properties.

  12. We have experienced a contractor with no permit dumping job site Debris cement on our property from a neighboring home. We already spent thousands to clean up the property . Need to crack down on these contractors

    • I agree 100%! They should only be hiring LOCAL, LICENSED and INSURED! After the storm the island was swarming with people from out of state, uninsured gouging home owner and stealing whatever the storm had not destroyed. We had photographs of the man cleaning off our things and loading them on his trailer. We called the Sheriff and 2 of them came to my house when we reported the thousands of dollars of things they stole and and the deputies informed us that pictures don’t matter. The deputies have to see it crime with their own eyes. The thieves had a storage unit that they would hide all the things they stole and then when they filled it up they would drive to South Carolina (husband and wife team) to take the things they stole to their home. NO ONE should be allowed excavate unless they have been checked out by the state/town and vetted. They should have to have a license.

      • LoL, if the deputies were caught kicking someone half to death in one of their rages on one of their ego fueled rages, I can guarantee you THAT video would matter. If YOU were to beat the thieves, and were caught on video, believe me, it would matter. I’d blow this up all over the news, and starting with the useless bastards in DC by finding a rep that will press the right buttons and get some attention. I’ve lost almost ALL respect for LE, because even as a GI I was held accountable for everything I’d done in a critical safety sensitive career in aviation. They’re like free range radicals now who were always picked on in high school. They have a badge AND a gun now, lookout!

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