Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer have begun building their 293-foot wooden walkover to the beach now that turtle season has ended. Construction is expected to take 10 days before the walkover is complete.
In late September the Fort Myers Beach Town Council voted to release their permit after approving a special exception for the walkover back in March. The Town Council was holding the permit because the Florida Audubon Society filed a lawsuit against the town alleging the Town Council ignored its own staff and did not follow the rules of its own charter by approving the walkover. Prior to Town Council approval back in March, the Local Planning Agency voted in favor of the dune walkover by a vote of 6-1.
Town Attorney Becky Voss found it “highly unusual” for the town to grant the special exception but refuse to issue the permit. “Normally when you grant a special exception, it’s implemented. Not implementing it is problematic. There’s a decent chance there could be a lawsuit against the town for not issuing the permit.”
Rood and Kroemer agreed to sign an indemnification letter holding the town harmless if they were to lose the Audubon lawsuit. There has been no update from the court system on when the lawsuit will even be addressed.
For years Rood and Kroemer have claimed that they lost direct access to the beach, behind their homes, due to the constantly shifting Critical Wildlife Area. They say they had access to the beach when they bought their properties.
They also said they would file a Bert Harris lawsuit against the town to try to recoup lost value on their homes without direct access to the beach.
Kroemer lost his entire home when Hurricane Ian came through. Rood’s house sustained damage but was not lost.