On Wednesday night we ran this photo in front of one of the 7-11 locations on Fort Myers Beach on our Facebook page. Many of you were a little ticked that valuable code enforcement time was being spent penalizing a business over a sign.
It all started when someone lodged a complaint about the sign which automatically triggers an investigation from code enforcement. Code enforcement determined the sign was erected without the proper permit and the violation was issued.
By the way, state law requires that the name of any person who files a code enforcement complaint, be made public. The name of the person who made the complaint about 7-11 can be found in the town’s records.
Here’s what Town Manager Keith Wilkins said about the 7-11 sign infraction. ” We began enforcing our sign ordinance in response to multiple complaints, the proliferation of illegal signage and the additional visual clutter. We are all very happy to have 7-11 and other businesses reopening. However, I doubt this is an action by 7-11 but by their sign contractor not pulling a permit. In the big scheme of things sign violations are not nearly as critical as life safety regulations and we could have just made a call instead of distracting from their good news, or we can stop enforcing the sign ordinance and defend why we’re not acting on other sign complaints. If we enforce, we must treat everyone equitably and not favor 7-11 (good news) over another business. We welcome 7-11’s contractor on the island and would equally welcome them to come in, meet us and obtain a permit.”
While nobody wants the island to be one giant billboard for every company and contractor working on the beach, and 7-11 has been a horrible communicator with island residents about when it will open, when their rebuild sign went up, it was a sign of hope that, at some point soon , residents might not have to drive off the island for their basic needs. In addition to that, residents are already waiting and waiting for their permits to rebuild their homes because of a clogged up application process. How much slower would that process become when hundreds of sign permit applications are added to the system? As one council member told us yesterday, every once-in-a-while we just need to use common sense.
Here’s the actual violation that was taped to the sign…
The sign was cool. It informed the public and gave some hope. It was creative too. The town gov is wrong to give a citation. So many other major things to do.. to rebuild. Focus on positives .. not citations . What about plans to rebuild the pier? Does everyone have electricity now? Is the debris all picked up?? Is the sand off the entire sidewalks along Estero? Are the canals getting all the debris out? Are all streets labeled again? Will Publix open soon? The list goes on and on …
The beach town council is become just
Like cape coral! How ignorant and stupid
Can these people be??? Fmb was wiped
Out and here they want to nit pick!!!
You should be ashamed of yourselves!!!!!
How sad … with all that’s happened – and still happening, complaining about a sign.
Insurance companies that “totally” ignore homeowners Claims, unresponsive for months – having to hire Public Adjusters to represent us – guess what, they don’t even get an answer, need to request Mediation for any possible outcome, but premiums do get paid. Same with FEMA –
that’s turned out real well for all the people in need. Why don’t the Town officials step up for all its residents, who pay the Taxes ? But, they’re going ahead with a sand “berm”, which has a deadline, for completion (who’s gonna pay for the sand if the deadline isn’t met 🤔 ? ) and .. do not have enough owners signing on yet. Ohhh, and the bridge, a $90,000,000 plus bridge, of course, let’s tear down the old for the new, why would we want to hold on to the tiny bit of what’s left on this tiny little island ? With Hotels buying up property and Mansions being built.
This little island has been – and continues to go through an awful lot: 5+ years of road construction (just completed); massive unprecedented Hurricane destruction, Red Tide, Sargassum (massive seaweed bloom) on its way, and a 2 – 3 year bridge project, what’s next ?
Not sure when this tiny little island will see the tranquility and peace it once had.
Heck with permits! I have a novel idea….buy every town employee a broom, shovel and garbage can and then send them out on the streets and sidewalks everyday until the island is cleaned up. Oh….and maybe they could start at Time Square where there are still shards of glass everywhere
I couldn’t disagree more with Dave’s comment about enforcing minor code violations after a catastrophic devastation event. A sign letting folks know a business will soon reopen on our island is a sign of hope.
There is “NO” common sense especially in the building and zoning department. Trust me. If something doesn’t make sense they will just tell you “it’s code” even if they agree with you.
Common Sense isn’t as common as it used to be. Sigh…
I didn’t make this complaint, but I did send a note to Council that the signs on the island were getting bad again (day workers, we buy junk cars, etc.) but it was against real estate companies, too. (I own Fort Myers Beach Realty). Yard signs are limited to size, type, certain occasions and time, and height. No, I don’t like seeing general real estate billboards/ads… and if they applied for a permit, they most likely wouldn’t get it. Construction sites are a bit different, but they still need permitting. Plus, we don’t have much of a revenue stream right now and permitting fees are important. We have to work towards “normal” if we’re going to get there.
This whole deal Is pathetic It’s very typical of what’s going With many people on Fort Myers Beach especially those in charge.. The comment that sometimes we need to use common sense ..please …how about all the time we need to use common sense.. That in itself is one of the main problems with the town… no common sense
Sad to see that political bullshit still exist on this devastated island! Nothing has changed with your new administration. They are still corrupt, ignorant and heartless.
I was going to buy property and build my home on the island.
The reason for building my home here was because I had planned to open 2 separate businesses on the island. Seeing all the bullshit is still happening on the island, I’ll wait on building my home and opening my businesses. I’ll wait until the reidents vote and get rid of the pathetic people in your government. If these people stay, FMB will not succeed. Do your city council, attorney, mayor and anyone connected with city government live full time on the island??
As an old song says,
“Sign, sign. Everywhere a sign. Blockin’ out the scenery. Breakin’ my mind. Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?”
OMG there are soooo many signs on FMB for everything imaginable. For rent, for sale, businesses, signs on the beach about something, the list goes on and on. And each one needs a permit? Oh please, we have such bigger fish to fry. no wonder people are waiting and waiting for permits to rebuild and getting their lives back to normal. Just another form of government and control, and if they decide to rewrite the the code violation, it probably will take them years to all agree on what should and shouldn’t be in it.
Another reach of government who has a power trip of what enforcement is. I see the term “common sense”, but not used because the code officers are told to write everything up and not to use discretion. You can enforce codes and treat everyone fairly without having to write everyone up.
I was written up 2 times last year by officer Bill Stout, who was on a power trip and had no common sense. On both occasions he was dead wrong and overruled by another officer thankfully. He still works there sadly.
There is nothing wrong with giving a person a chance to correct a wrong. If a police officer pulls over a car for no brake light and it is the 2nd time with the same car and person after issuing a warning – write the ticket. But if it’s a 1st time stop and the person did not know or may even have the bulb and receipt in the car – then that is discretion and “common sense”. You don’t write the ticket.
The town manager is dead wrong. You don’t write everyone up. We could only hope that common sense will prevail and he will only be temporary.
This department is still without direction and sense.
While it’s important to do things right, it’s more important to do the right things. During these extraordinary times, the town leaders should do the right thing and stop majoring in minors.
Not all signs are selling something.
Sorry town of FMB , But you are what we call idiots. Anyone in the town government defending this action – at this point in history – needs to go. Every holdover from the past group of “hate everyone” “hate all northeners” “fine everyone” needs to go. There is NOTHNG on our island. We have no stores, we have no bars, we have no homes left, Those of us with places cannot even poop in our homes. And this multi national company is just telling you all that they are going to reinvest millions and millions of dollars. Yet you kick them in the balls. Sick, just sick mentality.
OH, by the way. When one of the two major contractors builds a McMansion on the ocean, do they have sign permits? We all know who Roger”s two good buddy contractors were. They built every giant ugly home on the ocean, and all had a sign with their name on it. Never saw a sign permit for those guys in 15 years. Even when those guys hired a subcontractor, be it paint, drywall or hardwood floor, All put up signs. Lie about that one Mr Official town liar.
Agreed 100% with Magneto Jones –
This is an island that has historically been unwelcoming and treated Homeowners and guests like a lower class – Complete CONTROL mentality – I’ve never seen a place with such a spiteful local Govt –
We need a complete overhaul , smaller partisan transparent Govt- for the people by the people –
NOT for the Chamber of Commerce , Roger , or any of the other people who are supposed to be working for the good of FMB – so many long term employees are abusive to residents and guests alike –
Not solving problems or helping residents is also abusive –
We would be much better served with Lee County – or a tiny local Govt with a tight charter .
“Rules that need to be followed and violations” … If a devastating tornado flattens our entire subdivision in Missouri and our house and all of the other homes are flattened. People are dead and debris is piled up everywhere. There’s no electric, water, telephone, cable or sewer service. Businesses are closed, structures are gone. Should code enforcement be writing me a violation because my neighbor complained that our grass grew higher than 4 inches tall? After all, it’s a rule that needs to be followed. Is there such a thing as common sense, compassion and priorities any more? How about a moratorium on writing violations for seemingly minor, harmless, benign violations when there are far bigger, more important issues for all us to be concerned about?
I really wish this article would of named the resident that initiated the complaint… Because if that is all they have to worry about, a couple of signs that is bringing smiles to many faces, then their life is a lot better than most on the Island… Get a life “whoever you are” are look at the bigger things to worry about…. Sigh..
Perhaps it was that woman who was bragging about getting her house back up and running in 5 months; suggesting people were complaining needlessly regarding their insurance claims because “she had no problems”, then calling out her neighbor by name re: his pool issues at a recent town council meeting. O>O
It will take time to change the town culture from the past regime. The current town leadership will need to be diligent in what’s common sense and what isn’t. Who has time to complain about a sign in the current state of the island? They need to put their energy into positive things like volunteer their time to rebuild the island.
I truly had hopes that with a new council and mayor, crap like this would not occur. Instead of acting like a community the township has to Big Brother every move.
I agree with Teresa. We’re full-time residents and the last thing we have to complain about is a sign, especially a needed business’s sign that they’re reopening. Let’s focus on more important issues at hand.
And who paid for the code enforcement on this issue?? I think not a good use of our resources
“Every once in awhile we just need to use common sense” was the quote from a council member. Why just every once in awhile? Why not use it all the time!!??
That was one of the slogans during the past election. However, it seems it’s gone to the wayside. It appears to be business as usual with the new council.
This is a temporary sign not a permanent structure. So every Potter Home sign or the several other contractors who have placed signs in the property they are building have received permits?
I appreciate the response but really can’t you give a warning first?
Exactly what I just posted.
Just like everything else that was suspended on the Island so should have been the sign violations and when the time was right bring it back like everything else.
Sometimes, common sense makes more sense most of the time when enforcing code violations after a catastrophic devastation event.
I’m so disappointed that crap like this is happening. So many people lost everything and someone is worried about a darn sign. Get a life people. Just another reason I’m leaving the island.