A lot of people on Fort Myers Beach are anxiously awaiting the results of a court fight between the State of Florida and Estero Boulevard homeowners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer. They will now have to wait even longer.
The court battle between Rood and Kroemer and the state of Florida will ultimately decide who owns the land that is now home to a state designated Critical Wildlife Area. After the town of Fort Myers Beach denied the homeowners a special exception to construct a wooden walkover they say is needed for beach access around the CWA, they set out to prove they have title to the property.
Rood and Kroemer believe they have documentation that proves they own the land. If they do own the land the CWA would lose its state designation. What could be done to that land, even without the state designation, is still unknown. Rood and Kroemer would still need a special exception from the town to build the walkover.The say proving land ownership will give them access rights to the Gulf.
Rood has also filed an ADA lawsuit against the town.
Both the homeowners and the state have agreed to cancel a mediation that was originally scheduled to be held yesterday, because, according to Kroemer, “neither side was really going to give up their position.”
The case is now moving to non-binding arbitration. That means a 3rd party attorney who understands land cases will hear the arguments. The arbitrator will review documents, listen to arguments and give a written opinion. The opinion can be rejected by either side which means it would continue on to court and a judge would decide. The arbitration is set to be completed by the end of August.
If the case still goes to trial, it will now be sometime late this year.