Times Square property owner Terry Persaud has been locked in a nasty battle with the town of Fort Myers Beach for years. The town has been racking up code violation fines against Persaud, accusing him of operating an illegal parking lot, and renting beach furniture without a permit.
Persaud returned the favor by filing a lawsuit against the town and the former town manager. Over the last several months Persaud has been pleading with the new town council, and new town attorney, to resolve the issue. Weeks ago, the town made Persaud an offer to settle and last weekend Persaud made a counter-offer to the town. It will most likely be discussed at the very next council meeting.
Because Persaud continued to rent beach furniture for years, according to the town, his fines have continued to accrue. And, to this day, Persaud continues to charge for parking on the property he owns adjacent to where his Sunset Grill restaurant used to be. The town says that parking lot was only ever supposed to be used for restaurant customer parking. However, it’s always been open to the general beach-going public with rates changing with the seasons.
As of April 17th, 2023, Persaud has accumulated a total of $2.7 million in fines for the two town alleged violations. The town has put a lien on his property and was pursuing foreclosing on the land before Hurricane Ian hit.
The town has made Persaud a proposal to settle the issue.
Here are the details…
The town has agreed to allow Persaud to sell his parking spaces now until a Certificate of Occupancy is issued for any new restaurant he might build on his lot (he has not yet come to the town with any application to build). If anything is ever built, the lot will be governed by the previous rules, which were for customers only, according to the town’s proposed settlement.
To get to that point Persaud has to do a bunch of work on the lot, work the town says Persaud agreed to complete years ago, but never did, including:
– installing a stormwater retention/detention plan.
– resurface the lot.
– provide a trash receptacle.
– add a double-hedge buffer along the street property line.
– add a retractable fence along the seawall.
– add 3 native trees along Estero Boulevard.
Persaud must also agree not to provide and beach furniture to anyone on the beach behind his property.
If Persaud agrees to the deal he must pay half the fines he’s now facing, $1.33 million. If Persaud complies with the terms of the agreement for one year after a deal is cut, the town will return the $1.3 million and waive the entire $2.7 amount. Persaud has countered that one-year requirement from the town with a request that it be 180 days.
If Persaud does not comply with the terms of the deal for one year, the town’s offer is off the table and he’ll owe the full $2.7 million (plus whatever new fines may accrue).
Persaud must also dismiss any lawsuits against the town and the previous town manager.