Window Tint Rollback Delayed…Again

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Condo associations on Fort Myers Beach will have to wait at least another two weeks after the town council voted on Monday to table the issue of rolling back the window transmittance values.

The first delay was caused when town staff didn’t properly advertise the public hearing. This latest delay was initiated by Mayor Ray Murphy as a result of councilman Bill Veach being absent from the council meeting Monday. Veach is out of the country and he came down with COVID. Murphy said Veach wants to add an amendment to the ordinance. Veach told Beach Talk Radio Monday that what he would like to add is the following: “To require that adequate blinds are installed before the permit is approved as complete.”

Veach says the suggested amendment was made by one of the island builders that he was told about by staff. It’s unclear how “adequate blinds” were be defined.

Fort Myers Beach condo resident Dave Nusbaum has been very active on this issue working on getting the percentage rolled back to 45%. He told us the postponement of the .15 window tint revision to the turtle glass ordinance was another costly delay for all of the condominiums working to complete projects during the summer months. “Over 15 condominium/timeshare Presidents testified in front of the Town Council in February/March of this year requesting a reversal of the .15 tint. A majority of the Town Council appeared to support this change.  Yet, the vote continues to be delayed, sacrificing needed time to complete the projects and exposing those associations to increased costs.  We can only hope the Town Council can resolve this in the immediate future.”

Monday was to be the final public hearing to roll back the requirement that window replacements and new installations be required to have light transmittance values of 15% or less. Town Hall was packed with condo owners who left frustrated they will have to wait at least two more weeks. There was no advance warning to the public that the item was going to be tabled.

John King, who has been very vocal about the window tinting issue, and is running for town council this November said, “What we witnessed today was a complete and utter lack of leadership by the council and the continued undermining of what the public wants by staff. Councilman Veach has been on the losing end of every vote since this issue began, so I seriously doubt he has anything to bring to the table that would change the majority vote. The absent councilman should have had his amendment added to the packet that the council has before the meeting.”

Condo owners have been working to get the 2-year old ordinance changed after they found out the council voted in the darker window requirement on all new and replacement windows. Several of them were in the middle of major replacement projects when they were told they needed the 15% windows. They argue that the windows are more costly, harder to find and turn their condos into a dark dungeon during the day.

The state requirement for the window transmittance is 45%. The town council voted in 15% as another tool to try to help prevent turtle hatchling disorientations. Lights left on inside condos, hotels, businesses and homes on the beach continue to be a big challenge for the town staff to keep up with. All lights that are not turtle compliant must be turned off at night during turtle season. Many times, despite being educated on turning lights off, vacationers either forget or ignore the rules.

The issue will come up at the next town council meeting on August 15th.

 

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