What happens when someone ignores code violations and fines issued by the town of Fort Myers Beach? Right now, there’s not much being done to get the violators to change their behavior or pay the fines. That could change soon.
The town council has asked staff to bring them a list of the most serious violators so they can consider what next steps they need to take, which may include court action.
One of the alleged code violating culprits is Carmen Naccarato, the owner of the Key Estero Shops, across from The Sea Gypsy, at 1661 Estero Boulevard. The town says Naccarato has been operating an illegal parking lot on the beach 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 (which Naccarato owns). The town has specific rules that need to be followed to operate a revenue-generating parking lot. Town Attorney John Herin 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.
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 a total of more than $122,000 in fines that will keep accumulating at $200 per day.
In addition to ignoring the code violations, there are other issues with Naccarato now. According to town councilman Dan Allers, Naccarato has gotten into altercations with several residents that were serious enough that the Lee County Sheriff’s Department had to be called.
Naccarato is also being accused of selling daily parking spaces in the United States Post Office parking lot, which is close to his parking lot. That’s otside the jurisdiction of the town, but town staff will be notifying the people that run the post office so they can look into it.
When the list of the worst violators is brought to the full council, perhaps as early as their next meeting, they will decide if they want to get more aggressive, which could include court action and enforcing the liens they have placed on properties.