The trial over who owns the land where the Critical Wildlife Area sits on the south end of Fort Myers Beach has been pushed back until at least October. The trial was originally expected to start next month.
Estero Boulevard homeowners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer have filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida over ownership of the land where the CWA sits. They believe they have the proof that they have title to the land. The state is fighting that claim. A jury will make the final decision.
Rood and Kroemer decided to file the lawsuit when the town refused to approve a special exception for them to build a wooden walkover on the edge of the CWA to give them access to the beach from their homes. The homeowners say they had access to the beach but lost it as the CWA naturally shifted down the beach.
There’s a lot at stake regarding ownership of the one-mile-long CWA. There’s not only the question of what happens to the area if it no longer has a state designation, the CWA is also embroiled in the $23 million beach renourishment project. If the state owns the property, the state pays 100% of the beach renourishment bill in that area. If the homeowners own the property, the town has to pick up more of the cost.
The reason for the delay in the trial was due to a last minute survey submitted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that requires additional depositions.