Town to Spend $1 Million For Mooring Field Properties


The Fort Myers Beach Town Council is purchasing this property at 166 Chapel street and 99 Tropical Shores Way for residents of the mooring field. Taxpayers will be buying the half acre of property (the lots face each other) from Gordon Zeng for $1 million.

The town will use the property to expand services for the residents of the mooring field. It will include a new building, and upland services (bathrooms, showers, trash removal, washers and dryers and other amenities).

Chapel street resident Jay Light spoke before the council this past Monday and reminded the council the lot the town is going to buy is zoned residential. And, he accused the council of usurping its own rules for changing the zoning. Light said while other property owners have to go through hearings and proper notification to neighbors, the town council doesn’t.

Light said the resolution to purchase the property is terrifying because it states “and or other appropriate uses as determined by the town council.” He said that means once the town owns it, “zoning be damned, you can do anything you want.” He questions whether or not this is legal or whether this is right for the town to do. He said, “we’re afraid of what this might become, what you might do with this.” Light added that maybe he would take this to the Nuisance Abatement Board. “You think my chances are good they would determine the town be a nuisance. Probably not. There are neighbors around there that will be negatively impacted.”

Judith Light, who’s the chair of the Anchorage Advisory Committee, said she has mixed feelings about the property the town is purchasing. While she’s been at the forefront of finding a new facility for upland services, she’s concerned it’s being built on the street where she owns property. “My concern is the development, and it gives the town the right to do whatever they want, and not necessarily for the upland facility.”

There is access from the water is this picture to the right indicates.

The Town will use $400,000 in contingency funds for the purchase, a loan reimbursement of $300,000 and a $300,000 reduction in other planned capital projects.

It’s important to note that Town Manager Roger Hernstadt has said that more money will be needed for the town’s big three projects: Bayside Park, Bay Oaks and Times Square.

The town currently operates a 70-slip mooring field east of Matanzas Pass Bridge and is planning to expand the mooring field to add an additional 19 moorings west of Matanzas Pass Bridge accommodating vessels up to a length of 85 feet.

The town is now renting space at the Harbour House on San Carlos Boulevard to manage the mooring field.


  1. this plan is atrocious. a quiet backwater canal becoming a 24/7 waterway is horrendous, this towns management is out of control.
    private enterprise has no business here. this project will become a law suit. the canal in question is not deep enough for most craft, at low tide it not accessible to any craft.
    will they now add dredging costs to the equation.
    every home on this canal will lose property value (we the tax payer).
    moreover a 24/7 incursion will ruin the lifestyle and tranquility of the current residents. absolutely shamefull

  2. OK. . .so $1,000,000 for the land. Plus improvements such as building, permits, operation costs, staff labor, the list goes on. Plus $200,000 for an additional 19 mooring balls bringing the total to 89 mooring balls in the field. It was also mentioned that the Anchorage Advisory Committee wanted this facility to be closer to downtown, so it’s not the best location. And the Town is going to have to alter its own zoning to accommodate a commercial building in a residential neighborhood. Think the current residents are going to be happy about this? And as noted in a previous comment, do you think the Town would approve this zoning variance if it were you or me who wanted to build this facility? No way.

    But let’s get to the real “meat” of the argument. At the end of the Council meeting, only Jim Atterholt had the wherewithal to ask the most important question of all: what kind of money is the Town making on this mooring field? Hernstadt’s answer: “it can be a break-even operation depending on the occupancy rate.” Are you kidding me? You’re going to spend millions of taxpayer dollars for a business that “breaks even?” Which begs the larger question: why does this Town government want to get into the mooring field business? What is the upside? The boat owners pay rent on the ball, yes. But what else? No property taxes. No ancillary revenue. Sure, they maybe shuttle to shore to have dinner or lunch once in a while. But break even?

    Hosafros claims that the Council is going to have to pass an ordinance to establish this use of the new property. Conflict of interest? A public entity getting into private business.

    As a business model, this is such a bad idea I can’t even believe it’s gotten this far. Except for the fact that you have to recall that I think it’s only Dan Allers who runs his own business, or even works for that matter. Murphy, Hosafros, and Veach are retired and I’m almost certain these buildings are nowhere near their homes.

    Remember, folks, this is OUR money they’re going to spend. Would you spend YOUR money on a “break-even” proposition? Me neither.

  3. First, I don’t think the mooring field should be used as “permanent” residents. They should only be allowed to be docked for a max of 3-4 months then move on to somewhere else. This would help keep boats from becoming derelict in the first place because they would have to stay sea worthy. Secondly, any and all improvements for the mooring field use should be covered by the mooring fees, nothing from the tax payers of Fort Myers Beach as none of this benefits them. I definitely agree with Cindy that this would be a better use for affordable housing for Fort Myers Beach workforce!!

  4. How about building affordable housing on this property for the workforce the town is always saying they’re so concerned about….

  5. WOW! With so many issues…neighbors, upkeep, payback, etc. seems like a hasty decision on how to use our taxpayer $$$. 🙄. Very disappointed!

  6. This is just the beginning of the expense. Utility bills, home upkeep, insurance, etc. How much does the town charge for mooring? This certainly does not seem like a good use of taxpayer dollars!
    If we have “excess funds” funds, I would rather see it spent on the three projects that will have a benefit many, than the handful that benefit from this expense.
    This does not even address the issue of zoning! 😪

  7. Considering the narrow width of the canal where the facilities dock will be located it will essentially right in the backyards of the homes across the canal. Dinghy’s and boats will pass 18 homes (and docks) on the way in and out. It is concerning that the town seemingly doesn’t have to go through the same zoning and permitting process that a private homeowner would have to go through, despite the fact that the facility will have a direct impact on every home along the canal. I’m betting there is no way the council would allow a private owner to buy these properties, change the zoning and put a business there.

  8. If I calculate the numbers correctly, the town is going to spend a million dollars (just on land alone) then the cost of construction for said building and extras for 70 mooring balls with a possible 19 more? So let’s see 89 divided into let’s say two million; this equals $22,471.91 per mooring ball. When was the last time the town spent that on a single property on our island? I’ll wait…… Here’s an idea: let’s spend that type of money on getting derelict boats removed from the back bay!!!!!

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