Town May Start Cracking Down on Abandoned Structures


Nearly every structure on Fort Myers Beach, both residential and commercial, suffered some sort of damage from Hurricane Ian. Some of it was wind damage, some of it was water damage, some of it was both. A lot of it was devastating.

The Shamrock has not been touched since the storm destroyed the popular bar.

Depending on where a structure was when the storm surge came through or what may have been blocking the structure protecting it determined the level of damage. On some side streets on Fort Myers Beach, an entire block of homes could be gone, while on another you may see one home standing. It was all random. Nobody knew what their home would look like when they returned, or if it would even be there.

Five months after the storm, the town wants to accelerate the cleanup efforts. Some residents have begun to complain that homes and other structures, damaged by the storm, have not been touched or cleaned out. The same goes for several businesses, like The Shamrock and Charley’s Boathouse (pictured below). Residents living close to these untouched structures complain about the smell of rotting food or rodents.
To be fair, some of these property owners have to deal with insurance companies who have not been the easiest people to work with. They are told not to touch their properties until claims are settled, which was the case with Town Hall (see next photo), which is still as it was the day after the storm. Others are waiting for their structures to be demolished by the state through 

Fort Myers Beach Town Hall has not been touched since the storm due to insurance issues.

The Town Council discussed starting to crack down on property owners who have not started the effort to clean up. They discussed code enforcement possibly citing homeowners for failing to maintain their property. When that will start happening is unclear being that the council does want to give homeowners ample warning. They are struggling with being compassionate as homeowners struggle through a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophe and moving on with rebuilding an entire community. They are also hearing from neighbors who are making an effort to clean their lots complaining about other property owners that are not.

Pools have also become an issue. In some cases an entire home is gone and the pool that once say behind that now missing home is the only thing left on the property. Pools must be fenced for safety purposes.



  1. When is the next organized “clean up the beach” event? We would like to participate as a company whenever the next one is scheduled for. thanks so much! Michelle from Sun Palace

  2. We sold our mobile home on San Carlos Island and the person who bought it to re-construct said that rats had chewed through the water pipes probably seeking fresh water!

  3. If in fact, an insurer, mortgaging bank, or HOA is preventing cleaning and/removal of these properties by the resident/occupant, perhaps the Town Council can send violation notices to their offices, instead of putting even more pressure on the residents-

  4. My insurance company told me to take lots of pictures and feel free to get started with the work. Not sure why other insurance companies are making it so difficult. We need to take advantage of FEMA cleaning up. I think they still will cover 95% of debris removal. Regardless, it is tough on both sides. We want to be compassionate but at the same time we want our island cleaned up. Sucks.

  5. We are still waiting for an insurance settlement despite hiring a private adjuster in October. We have been advised by the private adjuster to hire an attorney which we did on February 1st. Our home needs to be torn down, however we have been advised to not have it removed yet. It’s a dilemma for homeowners, and business owners who are facing the same circumstances. Although we are not on FMB per se, we are located in Siesta Bay in the Iona section of Fort Myers. Hopefully insurance issues will be resolved soon.

  6. Well new council same old tactics. Where’s the change you all promised? Where’s the residents first? All seems rhetoric. Finding out fast that change isn’t fast. Change isn’t easy.

  7. Will the town hold itself to same standards set for clean up/demo of town hall (how will it assess and fine itself)
    Hold itself to same permitting process to demo and rebuild as residents have to go through
    Commit to Inspection of quality of the work done when town hall is rebuilt because obviously something was missed the first time (ie if you are going to hold residents and businesses to a certain standard the town should also be held to those standards)

  8. Phyllis, I totally agree on the canal statement! We have a small condo building at the end of ours where several of their refrigerators landed in the canal. At low tide the smell is horrible. There have been 2 passes to clean the canal, but there needs to be a crane to get the remaining large items pulled out. LB, Most of these properties have been cleaned on the insides, it’s the trash left in the yards that is stinking and collecting rodents.

  9. I get it about the smell, etc., but it’s more than likely not safe to clean these structures out. Demolishing them will happen but not until insurance Co gives the go ahead.

  10. Wine bottles can be picked up along with smelly foods removed. Also every high tide puts more of there falling debris in the canal. Our canal was partially cleaned but canal is now littered with Charley’s debris that keeps floating! Take a canal side view it’s worse than front view

  11. THANK YOU TOWN COUNCIL MEMBERS!! We live near Charley’s and on hot days (which aren’t bad yet) that entire block is hard to walk by due to the smell. It’s great to see the cleaning focus shift from beaches and parks to properties. Im not sure too many residents are enjoying leisure time yet anyway. As for not touching the properties due to insurance, I believe that goes for the physical structures, not the rotting food that’s causing most of the smells and rodents.


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