To the editor:
Councils in the past have approached each request for alcohol expansion with concern. And, from the COP report to the LPA, quite a bit of fairness to applicants over time has been shown. Each individual case has been decided on the individual and specific situation. Right now, this current council is trying to make a dramatic change and impose a blanket approach under what is termed fairness.
Perhaps fairness is confused with uniformity. Like many beach towns all over America, ours is far from uniform. Growth in stages over the years created many pockets of difference. The property lines, deeds, and placement of structures on our beachfront are all quite varied, and the physical and legal differences are dramatic.
For instance, the property line for the Lani Kai goes all the way to the high tide line, while the Junkanoo stops close to the building. It would obviously be foolhardy to create an ordinance that allowed Junkanoo the same rights to serve alcohol on the beachfront as Lani Kai since they don't own the property. And, even if this ordinance were to pass, does anyone think Lani Kai will give up their current rights and Junkanoo will end up with the same space as they do? Or, would that be fair?
More interesting is how several properties that now are restricted to pool decks, rooftops, and even guests only would now be able to serve alcohol on the beach itself. This would be an extreme change for the beach itself. All for the desire of some type of uniformity.
Miami's South Beach and Ft. Lauderdale, two notorious party towns, don't even allow that. And, this year Miami is cracking down on alcohol on the beach as a result of problems they have been having, according to last Sunday's Miami Herald.
So what are we trying to accomplish for Fort Myers Beach? Under the guise of fairness, or a level playing field, this uniform approach to alcohol usage is actually a huge expansion. And, where is that taking the ambiance of our beach?
Town Council meets for a critical hearing on this issue this coming Monday April 2, at 9 a.m.
Fort Myers Beach