What’s Next For Let’s Go FMB?

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The new community group focused on speeding up the rebuild of Fort Myers Beach got off to a booming start last week with over 120 people attending their first meeting. This week the group made a presentation to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council. Here’s what that presentation was about and what the group plans next.

The Let’s Go FMB Group pulled together a community meeting in days that resulted in a room full of frustrated residents that are upset with how slow the community rebuild is going. Hurricane Ian, now 9 months in the rearview, destroyed buildings, swept away homes and killed a number of local residents. It’s taken a toll on the town’s revenue streams and decimated the beach tourism industry.

Let’s Go FMB is made up of beach residents and business owners that want to work with local elected officials to do whatever is possible to speed the recovery along. You don’t yet see a lot of new construction. You hear frustration with the permitting process, questions about rebuilding landmarks like the Fort Myers Beach pier, and bewilderment about why there hasn’t been any planning for the future of Times Square.

Let’s Go FMB wants the Town Council to consider what is called Pink Zones, where a local government can carve out a section of its community and speed up the process to rebuild it. Pink Zones are areas in a community where red tape is lightened, barriers to rebuild are lowered, where it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to create small businesses and develop small properties. The downtown district might be an area that Fort Myers Beach can target as a Pink Zone. The July Let’s Go FMB meeting will focus on Pink Zones

As the town considers Pink Zones, it must also be careful not to spot zone, or give one group special treatment over another. Town attorney John Herin issued a warning to the Town Council Thursday stating, “There’s very little we can do to make it easier. Everyone has to follow the Florida Building Code.” Herin said the town is constrained by state law. “Every government has to have a Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code. The town’s Comprehensive Plan does not provide for Pink Zones. The town would need to go to the state to revise the LDC.

Let’s Go FMB founding member Scott Safford said, “We want to build safer, how can we build faster?” Herin responded by saying it’s not the town. “The state has not made it easy. The red tape is not by us, it’s by other agencies.”

Council member Karen Woodson will be appointed the liaison to the Let’s Go FMB group and town’s Community Development staff will be preparing an analysis to help guide the council about what can and cannot be done based on the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code that is now on the books.

 

23 COMMENTS

  1. Why look on the east coast. Why not a pier like St. Pete has, with restaurants and nightlife venues. Make it a place for more than just fishing.

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