On Tuesday, by a vote of 6-1, the Fort Myers Beach Local Planning Agency approved a special exception for Estero Boulevard homeowners Eddie Road and Kurt Kroemer to construct a wooden walkover on the edge of the critical wildlife area behind their homes.
The Town Council is also expected to approve the request when it take up the matter at a future meeting. Rood and Kroemer say they will likely start constructing the 293 foot long and 5 foot wide walkover to the beach after the 2023 turtle nesting season.
Rood also told Beach Talk Radio News in an interview Tuesday night (watch it HERE) that he plans to drop the lawsuit with the State of Florida which was in motion to determine who owned the land in which the CWA sits.
Rood and Kroemer have argued for years that due to the shifting of the CWA they lost direct access to the beach from the rear of their homes. They asked the town to approve a special exception so they could build a wooden walkover to the beach and until now they have not had enough votes at the town council level to get that approval. Local bird enthusiasts have said the walkover will be a disruption to the birds and other wildlife in the CWA. Rood told Beach Talk Radio Monday, “the past council denied our request for the special exception. Longer than 12 months has passed, so we are resubmitting it.”
The town staff, primarily Zoning Consultant Jason Green, strongly recommended the LPA deny the special exception and he was not happy interim Town Manager Keith Wilkins put the item on the agenda. LPA members were not happy that the application before them was incomplete. They voted to approve the request anyway with Anita Cereceda the only no vote. The LPA makes recommendations to the town council. Any decisions the LPA makes are not binding in any way.
Both Karen Woodson and John King said they support the special exception being approved when they were running for town council. Their positions have not changed since the election. Mayor Dan Allers is also in favor of approving the special exception. Both Jim Atterholt and Bill Veach are opposed to approving the special exception.
Rood and Kroemer had said they would file a Bert Harris lawsuit against the town to try to recoup lost value on their homes without direct access to the beach. If the special exception is approved, there would be no Bert Harris lawsuit.
Kroemer lost his entire home when Hurricane Ian came through. Rood’s house sustained damage but was not lost.