An agitated Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy told Publix representatives Monday that the company has to work with the town more. “I’m not going to support more liquor when we need a pharmacy.” Murphy made a motion to deny Publix’s request to add a liquor store onto its 4790 Estero Boulevard location and it passed by a vote of 4-1.
The reason Publix needed the town’s permission to add the liquor store was because the town’s Commercial Planned Development does not allow liquor sales. Several residents who live near the Publix spoke out against the request. They were concerned adding a liquor store so close to Newton Park would make the situation with the homeless in the park even worse. One resident said his home has been vandalized by a homeless person and he also caught someone sleeping in his hammock.
The council was also hoping to attach a few contingencies onto the Publix request. They want Publix to add a Pharmacy because right now CVS has the only pharmacy on the entire island. The council was also hoping the supermarket chain would ban plastic bags at their location.
An attorney representing Skippers Liquors and Nick’s Beach Discount Liquors, also opposed the request. Attorney Joe Madden said “this is not the right place or the right time.”
In opposing the request, Mayor Murphy said, “You can sink all the shrimp boats in Florida with all the liquor on this island.” He said Publix didn’t request a liquor store when it originally developed plans for Fort Myers Beach because “it was a deal breaker.”
The Supermarket currently sells beer and wine in its store.
It’s unclear what will happen to an improved turning lane in the Publix parking lot. The supermarket chain seemed to working on that with the hope that this request would be approved.