While all eyes are on the lawsuit between the state of Florida and homeowners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer which will determine who owns the land under the Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area, there’s another lawsuit taking place regarding the dune walkover and we have the list of who will be deposed next week.
Estero Boulevard homeowner Eddie Rood, who the town has denied a permit to build a walkover to get to the beach from his home, filed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against the town over the issue.
Rood is in a years-long bitter battle with the town and local environmentalists who do not want him and his neighbor to build a 293 foot wooden walkway over the Critical Wildlife area to the beach. Rood and neighbor Kurt Kroemer have spent an enormous amount of money fighting the town on the issue. They say, at one point in time, they had access to the beach. And, over time, the CWA shifted and expanded closing off that access. They believe they are entitled to access to the beach and that’s what they are fighting for.
The town has the power to grant or deny a permit, or a special exception, to allow Rood and Kroemer to build the walkover. They’ve denied it, arguing that the walkover would be detrimental to the birds and other wildlife in the CWA. In a few months a trial will be held to determine whether the state of Florida or the homeowners own the property the CWA sits on and that could set off another round of lawsuits.
In addition to the land determination, Rood has filed the ADA lawsuit against the town, which states, “As a result of the town’s acts and omissions, he has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, inconvenience, restraint on his liberty, harm to his reputation, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages.”
The lawsuit points out that back in 2011, Rood sought a variance from the Town that would allow him to construct a front stairway into his home that would include a landing, wider steps, and a longer stairway with a less steep pitch, all of which he says were necessary to accommodate his physical limitations. Rood met with Town officials in the building department, and Mr. Rood discussed with them the fact that his physical limitations regarding his surgery and his knee and back problems prevented him from safely negotiating the front stairway, as constructed. Town officials administratively granted Rood his requested variance.
We’ve been told that next week the following former and current town officials will be among those deposed in the ADA case:
Town Manager Roger Hernstadt
Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros
Town Councilman Bill Veach
Town Councilman Jim Atterholt
Former Mayor Anita Cereceda