For years the town has accused Key Estero Shops owner Carmine Naccarato of operating an illegal parking lot on his property on Estero Boulevard. On Monday the town was one step closer to foreclosing on Naccarato’s property.
On Monday new Fort Myers Beach Town Magistrate Monica Schmucker ruled that the liens on the property were in good order and the town could proceed with foreclosure proceedings.
Naccarato came to the magistrate hearing unprepared and without legal representation. It was if he wasn’t taking the proceeding seriously. He called the town government corrupt and said they were “evil people” trying to destroy “this old man.” He tried to go into the history of how long he’s been on Fort Myers Beach but Schmucker cut him off and let him know the hearing was not place to relitigate what had already been decided.
The town alleges Naccarato has been operating an illegal parking lot at 1661 Estero Boulevard for years, charging anywhere from $10.00 per day during the off season to $30 per day for special events.
Under the old Lee County code, spaces were allowed to be rented out by the property owner. And, during the early years of incorporation, property owners were charging for parking in that lot and no violations were issued.
Spaces in the Key Estero parking lot are supposed to be for shoppers who come to the businesses in that plaza. The town has specific rules that need to be followed to operate a revenue-generating parking lot. A previous Fort Myers Beach Town Attorney said Naccarato was unwilling to agree to a specific number of spaces to sell, that he wanted to use the entire parking lot.
There are about 130 spaces in the lot. Other parking lot businesses on Fort Myers Beach, who follow the permitting rules, have had to compete with the alleged illegal parking lot losing tens of thousands of dollars to Naccarato if the town’s allegations are true.
In 2020 the town issued Naccarato a notice of violation and ordered he correct the violation by getting a special use permit. If Naccarato would have corrected the violation back then he would have paid a $75.00 administrative fee.
Naccarato did not correct the violation, fines began to accumulate and the town put a lien on his property. By the time the violation went before the town’s Special Magistrate in September 2020, Naccarato was facing $34,000 in fines. Naccarato continues to rent parking spaces, so to date, if we’ve done the math correctly, he’s racked up nearly $220,000 in fines that will keep accumulating at $200 per day.
Naccarato has also being accused by the town of selling parking spaces in the United States Post Office parking lot, which is behind his property.
If some sort of deal cannot be worked out between the town and Naccarato it looks as if the case will move onto a foreclosure court proceeding.