You Want Sand? Monday is Your Deadline.

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Fort Myers Beach property owners on the gulf side of the island have until Monday to sign an easement giving the town temporary permission to place sand on their property to help with the town’s big beach renourishment project. As of today less than half the property owners on the beach have signed the easement.

The town is in the midst of a massive beach renourishment project. In all, 1.1 million cubic yards of sand will be placed on Fort Myers Beach. It all began with the construction of an emergency beach berm that is just about complete to protect from storm surge.

The bigger Estero Island Nourishment Project is scheduled to begin later this year. This project is a continuation of the town’s long term goal to maintain its critically eroding shoreline. Sand will be pumped from offshore onto the beach. The project is expected to take six months to complete.

In order to prevent gaps where sand is placed on one property and not on the next 5, for example, the town is asking everyone who owns on the beach to sign a temporary easement to allow them to place the sand. A number of property owners are understandably worried that allowing taxpayer funded sand to be placed on their private property would turn their private property into a public beach. That concern has not been explained away enough to convince some of the homeowners.

Of the 229 property owners on the beach, 106 have signed the easement with 7 more expected to sign. 29 property owners have said they will not sign, while 87 property owners have not even responded to the town. The town council will have to decide if their are enough property owners who have signed the easement to move forward with the project. Monday is the deadline to sign.

The big beach renourishment project is estimated to cost about $23 million if the town chose to go with the cadillac program and renourish the beach for the next decade. The south end would cost about $6 to $7 million with the central and north end costing $16 million. Both the state and the county will contribute funding. The state of Florida will cover 43% of the cost of the project, Lee County TDC (Tourist Development Council) funds will cover 43% and the town will pay a 14% share.

Read the town easement HERE.

10 COMMENTS

  1. By the way – the easement issue is Deja vu.
    It was fought back on the island back in 06 or 07 when a county plan for renourishment required utility easements. Dozens of beachfront owners refused to sign them, the county packed up and went back to Fort Myers.
    One of the two leaders of that organized dissent later was elected to the town council. She became a very popular member.

  2. Yesterday’s post from the town telling beachfront property owners their property will get “free sand” to restore their private property if they sign an easement agreement needs to be retracted.
    Florida taxpayers are not required to subsidize wealthy beachfront property owners by restoring their property.
    It is up to the state to locate and define the latest mean high tide line and renourish the publicly owned shore from that line seaward.
    The upland private property owner is responsible for restoring his own property.

  3. “Nothing in life is free! How can it be considered free when you are required to sign off your easement rights? Will these easement rights be given back once the sand is dumped? Of course not. It raises the question of why these easements were required in the first place. Wouldn’t a simple license agreement suffice to allow access? The imposition of easements seems to be a tactic employed by the town to seize land and take advantage of beachfront property owners. It’s important to wonder how many of these easements were signed with the consultation of an attorney to ensure clarity. The town seems to be wasting significant time, expense, and manpower on the renourishment, berm system, and easements, which may not be the right priority at this moment.

    The state of Florida owns the land from the high water mark to the water’s edge, while the upland owners own from the high water mark inland. Consequently, the town has limited beach access, mostly through their acquired beach accesses, some of which were obtained without proper legal ownership searches back in the late 80s. The motivation behind these actions appears to be taking advantage of the tourism development taxes established by the State in the early 80s, allowing counties to impose a Tourist Development Tax (Bed Tax) to boost county revenue, increasing the bed tax to its maximum allowed at 5%.

    The “emergency beach dune” proposal seems dubious. Will the town remove it after the emergency, or is it a permanent way for the town to control the beach while placing the burden of property taxes solely on beachfront property owners? The fact that the public will also have access to the beach adds another layer of complexity. Furthermore, property owners and future buyers could face fines for removing weeds and state-protected plants, a punitive initiative that goes beyond what is allowed by Florida’s own legislation.

    This entire process raises suspicions about the intentions of the Town of Fort Myers Beach government, appearing to be a ploy to control, regulate, and penalize property owners at their expense. Despite the ongoing rejection by beachfront property owners, the town persists in pushing these measures, taking advantage of the current crisis to further their agenda.

    It’s time for this council to be voted out, as their deceptive actions have become apparent. What we truly need is a government that works for the people, not one that employs such tactics and unnecessary departments. Additionally, the support from Beach Talk radio for this renourishment plan and the creation of an environmentally disastrous emergency berm remains puzzling, especially as they raise valid questions about its necessity.”

    • Start the petition for a referendum to have them removed. Any Florida elected servant can be recalled (fired) after serving 1/4th of their term in office.

  4. Please do the research. Beach renourishment is vital to the sustainability of the island. Check all the towns up and down the gulf shore. It is done everywhere. It is a necessity! Would you fight a utility easement?

    • Melanie, “saying it doesn’t make it true”. I have conducted thorough research, having lived on this island for 35 years, owning beach properties with over 600 feet of sand that has accreted over the past three and a half decades. There are markers all along the island, dating back to 1929, which clearly show the island’s continuous growth.
      Over the years, the island has been naturally expanding dramatically, not just in the last few decades but over hundreds of years. Historical records indicate that this island was once only half its current size over a century ago. I encourage you to conduct your research, as I have already done so thoroughly. My intention is not to push any agenda, but it seems like there might be a desire for government funding and taxpayers’ money to sustain certain departments and maintain high salaries.
      Let me clarify that this issue is not solely about the beach; it goes deeper into the matter of land ownership and potential property theft. It feels like the government is increasingly focused on controlling the public rather than addressing genuine concerns. I firmly believe that this entire situation is unnecessary, and it might even be considered illegal. The emergency berm system seems irrelevant now since the storm has passed, and such a catastrophic event is not likely to occur again in our lifetime. There’s no need to instill unnecessary fear in people.
      Let’s approach this matter rationally and objectively, taking into consideration the island’s natural growth and not resorting to fear-mongering tactics. We should prioritize transparency, fairness, and the well-being of all involved, rather than pushing unnecessary agendas for government control and expenditures of tax payer’s money.

  5. The term “private property” is a misnomer as most share their beaches with the world. The biggest issue remains control of the maintenance of the beach… raking and dune establishment. The owner loses that control once they accept taxpayer funded sand as their beach reverts to the public trust. If there is an Erosion Control Line, you control up to the ECL. If no ECL you control up to the Mean High Water Line.

  6. Public funds cannot be used to restore private property.
    All new sand pumped in along a shore and funded with public funds belongs to the public use.

    • That is what the deceptive town of FMB is doing by misinforming the beachfront home owners that this is a temporary emergency berm system which is a lie being propagated by the Town and it’s employees.

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