But it will only be for replacement windows. New construction with lights that can be seen from the beach will still require windows that allow 15% inside to outside transmission.
On Monday the Fort Myers Beach Town Council voted 3-2 to rollback the 15% requirement that is now on the books to 45% for replacement projects. One more public hearing will be held in June before the change becomes official.
Two years ago the town approved an ordinance requiring new and replacement windows use glass with an inside to outside light transmittance value of 15% or less. The state requirement is 45%. Residences that have 15% would then not be required to close their blinds to the light at night, according to the Marine Resources task Force committee.
Several weeks ago MRTF made a recommendation to the council that a one-year moratorium on the 15% glass be instituted. That came after a huge outcry from condo owners who said the glass was too dark, too costly, and too hard to find. Replacement projects using 45% glass were halted so condo owners could lobby the council for help.
Then MRTF committee chairman Steve Johnson went to The Pink Shell where he got a look at 15% window tint the resort plans to apply to all of its beach facing windows. What he saw changed his mind on the moratorium. Several council members also went to the Pink Shell to take a look at the tinted windows.
After the Monday town council meeting Johnson told Beach Talk Radio the 3-2 vote to rollback the ordinance was disappointing. “The Town has used the same available set of tools to comply with state and federal laws to protect the nesting beach for marine sea turtles. This tool set has proven unsuccessful for over 33 years. The 15% window tint is a proven tool to mitigate interior light from reaching the beach. The scope of it’s application within the ordinance would still require a generation to affect a full conversion as only replacement windows and new construction are required to comply. With the accelerated increase of density and development on our beach, this consensus vote on the first reading shows our elected officials still lack the political courage to own the responsibility to protect our marine and natural resources from encroachment on our beach. The beach remains our crown jewel, the reason we live here, visit here and the center of our financial security.”
Dave Nusbaum is President of The Island Winds Condominium Association. Here’s what Nusbaum said after the vote. “Achieving a balance on the turtle glass issue is at best difficult, but we should try. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued a template providing directions for municipalities regarding glass tint. The Town Council has voted to adopt those guidelines. We all should continue to work at educating visitors and supporting enforcement where necessary to achieve the stated goals without handicapping all residents that live on the beach.”
Councilman Bill Veach and Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros voted against the rollback. Mayor Ray Murphy, Councilman Jim Atterholt and Councilman Dan Allers voted in favor of the change.