Dawn and Mike Miller had only owned The Whale on Estero Boulevard for four months before it was wiped off the face of the earth. They had big ideas to improve the popular Fort Myers Beach restaurant. Hurricane Ian had bigger plans, totally destroying it in the blink of any eye.
On Tuesday, the Miller’s will present their plans for a new Whale to the Local Planning Agency. They’re going to need a couple of variances from the town if their plans to build a new Whale will become a reality. The proposal is for a building that is 3 floors (the original was 2) and 36 feet high.
Here’s where the Miller’s will need some help…
The current code requires The Whale to have 51 parking spaces. The owner’s will be asking the LPA to drop that number to 18. Before Ian, The Whale had 18 parking spaces.
The current code for that location also only allows for a maximum of 30 feet above base flood elevation and a building that is 2 stories high. The building could be built without enclosed space on the first floor, and be three stories high, however, the code says it could still only be 30 feet above base flood elevation.
The Miller’s will request a variance from the LPA and Town Council to reduce the number of parking spots they need to 18 and allow them to build a building that is 2 stories over base flood elevation, with enclosed space on the first floor, but allow them to go up 36 feet.
The Miller’s say the wording of the Fort Myers Beach Land Development Code is not clear as to the purpose of the restriction on number of stories versus overall height and that the site’s shape is highly irregular making normal and code compliant development impossible.
The LPA meets Tuesday at 9AM and we will carry the meeting live on our Facebook and YouTube pages.