The town of Fort Myers Beach is getting ready to do a complete turnaround on the requirement of 15% window tint for buildings facing the water on Fort Myers Beach. And now that also includes new construction. Here’s why…
Before Monday the town council was one vote away from voting to roll back its 2-year old ordinance that required replacement windows, and new construction, be done so with windows that allow 15% inside to outside transmission. After an outcry from many condo associations on the beach, the town council was ready to remove the requirement on replacement windows but keep it in place on new construction.
However, additional information from FWC the council discussed Monday pushed them to lift the requirement on new construction as well. The ordinance will be re-written to remove any reference to 15% in the title to avoid confusion. If approved at the next town council meeting in August (the council takes the rest of June and July off from conducting public meetings), all replacement and new windows can be installed with 45% inside to outside transmission.
The new information that came to light Monday was that FWC admitted there is no hard evidence yet that shows windows tinted at 15% as opposed to 45% prevent turtle disorientations. It was also pointed out that only Fort Myers Beach had a mandate to move to 15%. No other municipality was taking such drastic action.
Councilman Bill Veach who is a strong proponent of converting windows to 15% said 10% of all turtle hatchling disorientations are caused by property lights. He said 15% is a common sense improvement. “With less light, there is less of a chance of the turtles heading in that direction. It’s obvious 15% would be more advantageous than 45%.” Veach asked the council members if they were ok with 10% loss of an endangered species.
FWC only encourages 15%. It requires 45%. Councilman Dan Allers was the one who pointed out all the new information and also recommended new construction be removed from the ordinance. He said, “To require new homes to install the 15% glass is not right.” Allers says he wants to see more data.
Condo associations wanted the ordinance rolled back because many are in the process of replacing windows and had to stop those projects because they were installing 45%. They also said the 15% was much more expensive and harder to find because it’s not being widely used.
Island Winds President Dave Nusbaum commented to Beach Talk Radio News on the direction the ordinance is headed. “At the January CAFMB (Condominium Association of Fort Myers Beach) meeting, Mayor Murphy assigned me the task to research and report to the TC what impact the new window “tint” ordinance had on the condominiums on Fort Myers Beach. Many at the CAFMB meeting expressed their concerns. Today, after several meetings, and hours of testimony, some by industry experts, it appears the Town Council will return to the Florida DEP recommended “tint” of .45 %. All of us involved, thank them for reconsidering and changing this ordinance.”