The final debate and vote on a Nuisance Abatement Board is expected to take place at the town council meeting Monday night. Tune into Beach Talk Radio tomorrow when our guests will be Dawn and Bryan Thomas (pictured) who are in favor of the NAB. They have crunched the Lani Kai numbers and have a completely different perspective on those numbers than the Lani Kai consultant.
The discussion about creating the board began following the July murder of 22-year old Johnny Jackson at the Lani Kai. Lani Kai consultant Ellyn Bogdanoff incorrectly stated at the last town council meeting that the Nuisance Abatement Board was being considered “long before” the death took place on her client’s property. That’s simply not true. The discussions begain immediatley after the murder when it was clear both this council and the community were fed up with what’s been taking place at the hotel.
For years the Lani Kai has been a magnet for police and fire department calls and some on the council believe more needs to be done to put an end to the crime taking pace there.
A Nuisance Abatement board would cover serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, dealing drugs, prostitution, gang activity or illegal gambling. It would also give the Sheriff’s department additional teeth to deal with bad actors in a community. Businesses in violation could face up to $15,000 in fines.
On September 9th Lee County Sheriff’s Captain Andrew Prisco reported that the Lani Kai was already taking steps to address the concerns of the council, including the hiring of two deputies during the busiest times of the year.
On the other side, many people believe another layer of government is not what’s needed to address the issue of bad actors on the beach. They believe it’s the job of law enforcement and that falls to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and, to some extent, the town’s code enforcement officers.
Last month Fort Myers Beach Town attorney John Herin brought forth a proposed ordinance which was debated by the council for over an hour. Council members Dan Allers and Jim Atterholt are in favor of the board. Councilman Bill Veach appears undecided at this point. Mayor Ray Murphy is also undecided. It appears Vice Mayor Hosafros is opposed.