The Dune Walkover is Back Monday

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On Monday, Estero Boulevard property owners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer may finally get their long-awaited permit to construct a dune walkover behind their homes. The permit is on the Town Council agenda under Town Attorney’s items and simply says “Issuance of Dune Walkover.”

Rood and Kroemer believe their permit is being held hostage by the town after the town council approved a special exception for them to build the 293-foot structure back in March by a vote of 3-2.

The reason the town hasn’t yet issued the homeowners their permit is because in April the Audubon Society filed a lawsuit against the town (and Rood and Kroemer) trying to halt the construction of the structure which would be built on the edge of the Critical Wildlife Area behind Rood and Kroemer’s homes. The permit was being withheld on the advice of the previous Town Attorney John Herin who this council recently replaced.

The Audubon is alleging that the Town Council ignored its own staff and did not follow the rules of its own charter by approving the walkover. Prior to Town Council approval, the Local Planning Agency voted in favor of the dune walkover by a vote of 6-1.

There’s no indication when the lawsuit will even come up on the docket of the court in which it’s filed. Rood and Kroemer believe the lawsuit should have no bearing on their permit. The town voted to issue the permit for them to build and they want their permit delivered as promised.

In the lawsuit the Florida Audubon states that “the proposed bridge/dune walkover will significantly harm imperiled listed species of migratory and nesting shore and seabirds, and their habitats, which are adjacent and near to this proposed structure.”

Rood and Kroemer were hoping to start construction of the walkover after turtle nesting season later this year. For years they have claimed that they lost direct access to the beach, behind their homes, due to the constantly shifting Critical Wildlife Area. They say they had access to the beach when they bought their properties.

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