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“Elevated pools issue” ordinance scrapped

May 21, 2014
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A proposed Town ordinance that directly relates to regulations for elevated pools and accessory structures is not being entertained at this time.

The Fort Myers Beach Town Council had a legislative public hearing regarding Ordinance 13-10 (elevated pools) listed on its meeting agenda Monday evening, but the hearing was set aside. The ordinance had been proposed to amend Chapter 34 of the Town Land Development Code with written language that would prohibit the construction of elevated pools. The proposed new language -which featured a new subsection that referred to "height" and stipulated "accessory structures must comply with the height limitations for principal structures" and "swimming pools and swimming pool decks cannot be higher than the crown of the adjacent roadway"- had intended to allow officials to more effectively regulate the development of elevated swimming pools and related accessory structures.

"The Town Council has made its position clear with regards to elevated pools. They do not feel there is a need to bring the ordinance back," said Town Attorney Derek Rooney. "I don't have any legal reasons or any other reasons to bring the ordinance back."

Ongoing litigation between Developer Joe Orlandini and the Town of Fort Myers Beach was not the reason for the change in direction, says Rooney.

"They may revisit (the ordinance) in the future, but it is not specifically tied to any litigation," he said.

Two executive sessions between Town officials, its attorney and outside attorneys from Fort Myers-based law firm Knott Ebelini Hart to go over strategy and expenses to defend litigation from Orlandini have been held. Orlandini's attorney, Beverly Grady of Roetzel & Andress, filed legal action after Council denied an appeal regarding the continued construction of five accessory elevated swimming pool structures within the property of new single-family homes on Palermo Circle on Fort Myers Beach back in mid-January.

Another executive session has now been set for Thursday, May 29, at 3:30 p.m. Rooney told Council that there may be a possibility for a settlement. That news may be announced at the Council meeting on June 2, at 9 a.m.

"(The town manager) and myself had a meeting (Monday) with Mr. Orlandini and his attorney in which they proposed a settlement offer," he said. "I would like to set an executive session to discuss the terms of that agreement and to set a special meeting of the Council the following week so we can report on what was said."

The "elevated pools issue" has been a long and arduous process for Council and legal teams. On Oct. 21, 2013, Council approved a resolution to declare "zoning in progress" with regards to regulation for elevated pools and accessory structures. Ordinance 13-10 was introduced, and the first of two public hearings was to be held on Dec. 2, 2013, but it was tabled at that time.

On Jan. 10, Council unanimously voted to remove the ordinance from the table and set a second public hearing for Jan. 21, but that hearing was pushed to Feb. 18. Then, at that meeting, Council agreed to rescind the resolution, declare "zoning in progress" and continue the hearing Monday.



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