Why is This Here?

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The new Queen of Weed bus in Times Square is causing quite a stink. But it may not be for the reason you’re thinking. And members of the LPA plan to discuss this new arrival on Fort Myers Beach at its meeting at 11AM today.

Back when Hurricane Ian swept through Fort Myers Beach and destroyed nearly every home and business, the Town Council wanted to do everything possible to help get residents on their property while they rebuild and get businesses back open as quickly as possible.

They encouraged businesses to open food trucks for those that were restaurants and retail trailers for those businesses like Tunaskin. The idea was to give previously operated beach businesses special treatment to help them get back on their feet while they figured out how and if they could rebuild.

Today at the LPA meeting you can expect to hear a lively discussion about the new Queen of Weed truck that Times Square property owner Terry Persaud is renting space to. While some local residents are objecting to the type of business that now sits in the heart of downtown, the discussion will be mainly focused on why a business that did not operate on the beach before the storm has been given a permit to operate now. And it leads to a much bigger question about the precedent the town is now setting.

The town issued Persaud his Queen of Weed permit on February 22nd. Here’s what the permit states in part: “The Temporary Placement Permit shall only be allowed while the damaged living unit is uninhabitable and in the process of repair or replacement living unit is in the process of being constructed.” Before the storm there were no such items being sold in Times Square. So, technically, nothing is being repaired or replaced for this business that was there before as the permit states. Terry Persaud owned a restaurant that sold food and drinks.

In June of 2023 the Council approved ordinance 23-05 to help residents and businesses recover after Hurricane Ian. That ordinance states that a “TPP may be issued for the purposes of placing a manufactured home, mobile home, motor home, motor home, recreational vehicle or other temporary unit for displaced owner-occupants or tenants if their existing living units have become uninhabitable due to adverse weather damage or other acts of God.”

By going back on the original intent of allowing new “truck” businesses on the island, what’s to stop another off island business that competes with La Ola, The Beach Bar or a t-shirt shop from applying for a TPP, finding a willing rent partner, and setting up shop close to all of those similar pre-existing beach businesses. And, if off-island businesses are now being allowed to pop-up and compete with on-island businesses will they be allowed to stay there until further notice. The ordinance allows for unlimited extension requests.

And, let’s take the discussion one step further, using The Beach Bar as the example. Lets say a competing “truck” finds a location to rent near the Beach Bar, sets up shop, and starts raking in the money. The owners of The Beach Bar plan to spend millions of dollars to rebuild a solid, hurricane-proof, building. Why would they invest all of that money while the town allows a competing business to rent space nearby, basically paying peanuts, while the Beach Bar closes its “truck” to rebuild. That was never the intent of the ordinance if you go back and listen to the Town Council discussions.

In addition to the Queen of Weed truck discussion, you can also expect LPA members to question why the town is allowing some businesses to operate before getting all the permits needed. Mr. Waves, which has been open for several months, is on the agenda asking for a special exception to sell alcohol on its outdoor patio. LPA members have had similar questions about Rude Shrimp over at Moss Marina. The other side of the argument we hear from the town is that post hurricane-Ian things are different and the town is trying to do everything possible to get businesses back open as quickly as possible.

The third item that may be of interest at the LPA meeting today is the 6-month review of the outdoor operation at The Whale tent. There has always been an issue with the music coming from the Whale tent and at least one neighbor that lives in the residential neighborhood behind the Whale tent. The owners of The Whale tell us the neighbor consistently walks through the tent with a noise meter to make sure the music is not violating the town’s noise ordinance. Mike and Dawn Miller plan to break ground on their new building at that location over the next several months. When they do, they plan to move the tent down to their Sandy Bottom location across from DiamondHead Resort.

The LPA meeting today begins at 11AM and we will carry it live on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

 

33 COMMENTS

  1. No one seems to remember that there was a store just across from Times Square pre-Ian that was selling weed and doing tattoos. Look at the building it’s still says tattoos on what remains of the building.

  2. This business is Persaud’s way of exacting revenge on FMB for not letting him get away with doing whatever he wants and not paying what he owes the town. He thinks the rules that other businesses abide by don’t apply to him.

  3. Terry Persaud, the owner of the property I gather from previous comments wants to make some money from his loss. Perhaps a thumbs up to the city? It’s legit, licensed, and permitted. I just wish somebody would buy that property for a restaurant.

  4. There will be MANY more “problems” with alcohol consumption here than what is in the trailer yet the majority want more bars. I don’t support either.
    Been there…done that.

  5. The business is not something most regulars to FMB would want to see doing business in Time’s Square. It sets a very bad precedence. I agree that is wasn’t there before, it shouldn’t be there now. It will bring in things the beach doesn’t need. If you need weed, go somewhere else to get it, there are plenty of those stores in Lee County.

  6. They are not selling what the business was selling before. They can still do business and sell whatever is legal….if they can get a spot at the Farmer’s Market. Or, Persaud could open up a food truck and sell CBD gummy desserts. But this Q of W trailer was not a pre-existing business in any shape or form.

  7. I am not opposed to the herb…BUT!!! Let’s be honest about what a dispensary will bring to the Island and the negative impact it will bring to property values. I am not opposed to tattoos, but I also do not want a tattoo parlor on the Island.
    Jimmy Buffet liked reefer as much as anyone, but I bet he did want to live in the neighborhood of a dispensary.
    Think about the bus stop in front of Publics. It already has enough bums hanging out there. Now we add the munchies to the equation and the Public’s indigent population will explode. Not a pretty scene.

    • What about the strip club – Vixens- being built at the bottom of the bridge right before you come over? I would rather see a tattoo shop. Just saying….

      • Exactly, this type of establishment is not needed here. Especially on the main road leading into a family oriented destination. I was hoping the owner of the electrical shop on San Carlos Island would fight the construction of this. They seem to protest all other developments of the island. Why not this one ? And I would gladly support such a movement if someone with the knowledge got it started.

  8. If the owner was here before Ian and operating a restaurant, he should be allowed to open a food truck to revive his business until at permanent structure is built. This business is completely different, therefore it should be removed; in my opinion, we have enough of these types of businesses off-island to satisfy everyone. Also, the ordinance that allowed food trucks should have a sunset clause addended to it; otherwise the ordinance may be interpreted to have no expiration date.

  9. How to fundamentally transform a family owned, family values beach? Destroy it, so as to remake in their image. It’s done in a multitude of ways….Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, St Louis, Maui, …

  10. Leave it Ed to create a controversy not only blaming our town officials who has been working hard to help homeowners and businesses ( new and old) !
    I dont like the name either but let’s face it ! There is a good possibility it will be legal in November!
    If the town approved it and the products are legal what is the issues??
    Every local farmer’s market I go to has these products so let’s focus on building our island back and folks that don’t live HERE quit commenting!!

    • 🤣🤣 Pretty sure the majority of BTR’s 90k followers don’t live in FMB… they’ll never “quit commenting” as you suggest, nor will they stop supporting the beach, its residents, and its businesses.

  11. Terry Persaud, the guy who’s made a mockery of this council’s obligation to hold code violators accountable.
    In a town badly in need of revenue this council agreed to forgive $2 million in fines this guy ran up ignoring the codes and warnings for years.
    The keystone cops scenario continued when the town attorney didn’t know if the fines are legal. What?
    Surely the attorney is getting paid to know such things.

    • Lee your comments are inaccurate. The town did not forgive $2 millions in fines. He was receiving violations daily for non compliance. The vast majority of those had never been before the magistrate, therefore no actual fines were imposed by the magistrate. The Town attorney was referring to that specific point when she said she did not know if they were legal. She did the research and made the recommendation for settlement based on what had already been proven in the court of law. After loosing all hard evidence due to the storm, settlement was the best way to get the property owner into compliance, collect on the past due fines, and ensure compliance into the future with the $500,000 bond.

      • Dan Allers.
        I got my info from the coverage story in Ed and Kim’s newsletter.
        Ed says he stands 100 percent on that story. I trust the coverage.
        The question is why in the world all of these violations never got before the Magistrate in all those years? Who is to blame for that? Are you folks going to enforce code violations or aren’t you.
        And if your lawyer has a problem with it all when do you plan to either get a second opinion or fix it?

  12. New and pre Ian businesses should be allowed. It’s capitalism and only fair. Why discriminate against a new business, no matter what they are offering for sale. Queen Weed-come on, our kids know about the world today and this business is part if the M’ville/Jimmy buffet vibe that appears to be Taking hold on FMB. Leave them be.

  13. The town needs to have a policy that is fair to al l– new and old businesses. A lot of old businesses will not return and a lot of new ones will come to the island. It’s not up to government to be the arbiter of who wins and who loses. It’s called capitalism. As for the Beach Bar, it can still operate in the sand with a trailer while rebuilding. And if it falls to competition, well, that’s American capitalism. As long as the Beach Bar is there, it will have my business.

  14. This is totally disappointing! The ocean waves, the sounds of the sea, the sunrises and sunsets, along with the cool sand…has ALWAYS provided enough highs ………why take away from such natural highs!!! This is not helping the beach to Grow!!!

  15. The permitting body went against their own policy. Now they are stuck with their decision. IF Times Square ever comes back to pre-Ian glory with shops, performers, ice cream, etc it will not draw families, it will draw those that want the product the truck sells. Is that the new face of FMB you want to portray?

  16. The music at the Whale IS way too loud. We were in there the other day and couldn’t have a decent conversation. Left after 10 minutes.

  17. Terry Persaud? Enough said just with those two words. At what point does he ever fall in line with the towns intentions and thinking?

    • Exactly my thoughts. This is really disappointing to me too because prior to Ian, Sunrise was our favorite restaurant. This back n forth with him not following rules has really turned me off to him and his businesses.

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