This new lawsuit is in relation to the Dune Walkover Rood is fighting the town over. In the filing, Rood says the walkover is a necessary and reasonable accommodation of his disability, and would be necessary for his access to public lands directly adjoining his private property.
Rood, and his neighbor Kurt Kroemer, have been in an ugly fight with the town over the proposed walkover, which the town has denied a special exception for.
The lawsuit states that in denying Rood the necessary approval, the Town of Ft. Myers Beach violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “As a result of defendant’s acts and omissions, Ed Rood suffered humiliation, embarrassment, inconvenience, restraint on his liberty, harm to his reputation, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages. Plaintiff also sustained out-of-pocket expenditures.”
Rood and Kurt Kroemer have been denied a special exception for a long wooden walkway that would give them access to the beach behind their homes. Rood and Kroemer say they once had access to the beach and due to the way the land has changed behind their homes they lost that access and should be allowed to build the walkover.
The proposed walkover is near a Critical Wildlife Area which is one reason the town has denied their request. Another is that they don’t want these walkovers popping up all over the place.
We asked Rood to comment on why he’s filing this lawsuit now. Here’s what he had to say. “Basically, I never would have believed the Town would have objected to this walkover. No one understands it, it literally makes no sense. I went through the normal channels to have the walkover to regain my lost beach access, thinking that the Town would think it was a great project, just as the FDEP and US Corps has, and there would be no problem.
“Instead the Town takes the Audubon’s side, rather than a tax paying resident, and files lawsuits to stop the FDEP permitting. Then after losing four different lawsuits the Town and Audubon filed, the town refuses to allow me to have the walkover so I can get to the beach from my beachfront property. “The Town further insulted me when they told me that I could walk about a quarter mile down Estero Blvd towards Big Carlos Pass, and use the Laguna Shores beach access, knowing full well that I have mobility problems and have difficulty walking even short distances. I have preferred to keep my disability issues out of this, but the Town has just went to far.”
Rood and Kroemer say without beach access their homes are worth a lot less.
A dollar amount was not mentioned in the lawsuit. Rood is requesting a jury trial.