Town of Ft Myers Beach Denies Beachfront Property Owners Access to the Beach
Hello, and welcome to our site. My name is Eddie and my home is located at 8150 Estero Blvd and my neighbor is Kurt and his home is 8170 Estero Blvd. Our properties are beachfront and after enjoying direct beach access for several years, we lost our beach access due to changes created by nature.
We have a project that would restore our access to the beach and reduce foot traffic through the sensitive area. Our walkover is the preferred method of beach access by the State of Florida in these beach areas. These walkovers are in place all around the State of Florida. You have seen them in Sanibel, Captiva, and in Ft Myers Beach sensitive areas.
Our project has been approved and permitted by all State of Florida and Federal regulatory agencies, but the Town of Ft Myers Beach refuses to provide us a permit.
The Town of Ft Myers Beach has filed and lost 4 lawsuits in their attempt to stop our walkover.
After losing all these lawsuits at the taxpayers expense the Town continues to refuse to provide us a permit which has forced Kurt and I to file a lawsuit against the Town for the damages created to our property by the Towns refusal to allow us to repair our beach access. This current lawsuit against the Town could cost the FMB taxpayers millions of dollars. If the Town has lost all the lawsuits they have filed against us so far, how are they going to win any lawsuits in the future? The Town is wasting the taxpayers money in these lawsuits.
The Town's actions are a gross violation of our beachfront private property rights by Florida Statute 253.141 If the Town can do this to us, This could happen to you!
The Town of FMB has also created a situation by denying our right of access to the beach that has forced Kurt and I to file an additional lawsuit to take private ownership of the property behind our homes where the Critical Wildlife Area is located. This is not what Kurt and I wanted to happen, we love this area and the CWA as much as anyone, it is our backyard, but because of the Town's refusal to allow us and our neighbors our right to the beach, we have been forced by the Town into this action. When we are successful in this lawsuit, the CWA will be dissolved since it cannot exist on private property.
By the Town's own admission, the Town has currently spent 250 to 300 hundred thousand dollars and will spend 100's of thousands more of FMB taxpayer money in their attempt to stop our walkover that benefits an entire neighborhood.
Please contact your Town Council members if you support "NO MORE LAWSUITS" and are not in favor of the Council risking the loss of the Critical Wildlife Area. What is the best decision for you the citizen, the loss of the CWA, or a walkover that restores beach access to a neighborhood and can't even be seen from the beach?
The Council should vote for the greater good of the entire community and not for just a select few members and supporters of the Florida Audubon.
If you oppose more lawsuits and oppose risking the possible loss of the entire Critical Wildlife Area, tell your Council Members. The email addresses are below the next section.
Please read on through the below info. There is a lot more at stake than your tax dollars.
We would like to hear your opinion. Please scroll to the bottom for the "Contact Us" section.
What you need to know.
The Town of Ft Myers Beach and Florida Audubon Society have spent hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars to file lawsuits in an attempt to block our private property rights and block the State from issuing our permits to construct a walkover on our property to restore our lost beach access. The Town of Ft Myers Beach has "LOST" every lawsuit they filed. Walkovers are the preferred method of people entering critically sensitive areas in Florida. Walkovers are preferred and approved by the State of Florida in these areas. The Town's only option left is to refuse our building permit. By refusing to accept the advice of the State to allow us to build our walkover, the Town will be subjecting itself to more lawsuits that will expose them to the possible loss of Millions of dollars and the loss of the Critical Wildlife Area. If the Town has lost every lawsuit it has filed, how does it expect to win more lawsuits going forward?
Since the Town continues to deny our request for a "special exception" to obtain a building permit, Kurt and I have begun the process of filing a lawsuit called a "Bert J Harris" against the Town. It is a lawsuit for damages created when the Town Council's decision caused a loss of value to our property by denying our access to the beach. We have filed a claim for damages against the Town and are moving forward with the Harris lawsuit.
Please keep in mind while you are reading this, during a three day State hearing with an Administrative Law Judge, which the Town lost, there was expert testimony there are no "nesting birds" on our property or the area of our walkover. It was also determined during the State hearing through expert testimony, the walkover would be a benefit to the environment and wildlife in the area.
The greatest risk the Town is taking is the existence of the Critical Wildlife Area. Kurt and I have made every effort not to raise the issue of who actually owns the upland property where the Critical Wildlife Area is located. We and our attorneys have had many conversations with the State over the ownership of the upland property. The State admits they are not certain that the upland property behind our homes is State property and has admitted that the Critical Wildlife Area may have been organized unlawfully. Kurt and I have these documents.
Kurt and I do not need the upland property, we have not had a desire to push the ownership issue. We love the area and we love the Critical Wildlife Area just as much as everyone that is campaigning against our walkover. We have made every effort, along with the State, to avoid the issue of who owns the property, but the Town Council continues to deny our right to the beach which will force the issue of who owns the property. Is it worth risking the entire Critical Wildlife Area when the State admits they do not know who owns the property?
By the Council denying our simple minor, expendable walkover that the State has approved and recommends, they are exposing you, the taxpayer, to hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses, possibly millions of dollars in settlement damages. But the biggest risk that everyone will be facing will be the very real possibility of losing the Critical Wildlife Area.
You have heard the old saying "can't see the forest for the trees". This is the perfect adage for the Town Council's inability to see the big picture. By the Town allowing itself to get caught up in fighting a battle influenced by the Audubon, rather than doing what is best for the entire community, they are risking the assets of the entire community.
You, the Island Citizen, need to be very concerned. Your Town Council has been influenced by local members of a special interest group to do anything within the Town's authority to stop our project. The present position and decision of the Town Council will likely have devastating financial effects on the community. But the biggest possible tragedy will be the ultimate destruction of the entire Critical Wildlife Area when it becomes the private property of the upland property owners.
What would you prefer? A decision by the Town Council to allow a simple, minor walkover (that is not in the Critical Wildlife Area) which would provide a few beachfront property owners to restore their lost beach access? Or would you prefer for the Town Council to continue the battle to stop our walkover, possibly risking millions of taxpayer dollars and the loss of the entire Critical Wildlife Area ?
The Town Council's decision should be influenced by YOU and not by a few members and supporters of the Florida Audubon. The above information is very real. The Town Council's current position has now forced a confrontation over the ownership of the upland property and could come at a cost of losing the Critical Wildlife Area.
Don't let the special interest Florida Audubon influence the Council into a bad decision for your Island!
Contact the members of the Town Council and tell them to stop before everything is lost. The decision for what is best for the Town should be up to you, the taxpayer, not a small number of local special interest members.
Please support "NO MORE LAWSUITS" and " Protect the CWA". Tell your Council members you are not in favor of risking the loss of the Critical Wildlife Area and Millions of taxpayer dollars. The Council should vote for the greater good of the entire community and not for just a select few members of a special interest group.
If you oppose more lawsuits and oppose risking the possible loss of the entire Critical Wildlife Area, tell your Council Members.
ALJ Order Page 18 RO#47, The dune walkover will have a beneficial effect in its immediate area.
Kurt and I purchased our homes in 2011 and 2012. At the time we purchased our homes, we had Direct Beach access along the Mean High Water Line (MHL) as shown in the picture.
Due to natural changes by nature the MHL changed to the shoreline of the Gulf. The neighbor closed off the previous legal access to the beach where the "Stop" is shown on the pathway, because the public easement provided with the MHL no long existed.
After 3 days of hearings before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the Town and the Florida Audubon lost every lawsuit they had filed against us.
Kurt and I have begun the process of pursuing the Bert J Harris lawsuit that would entitle us to the damages to our properties caused by the Town's refusal to allow us to regain our beach access. We have also been forced by the Town's actions to file a lawsuit to take the upland property behind our homes to private ownership, inevitably dissolving CWA.
Do you have questions about our project or want any additional info?
Send us a message, and we will get back to you soon.