Hurricane Ian Updates From The Town of Fort Myers Beach

From The Town of Fort Myers Beach

Updated 1-20-23


Mail Service Returns to The Beach Monday January 23

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mail and package pickup, as well as Post Office Box service, will also be available on Saturday from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Post Office Box customers who had a box at the original Post Office can pick up their new key by showing a photo ID during retail hours. Their Post Office Box numbers will remain the same. As a reminder, customers must show a picture ID when picking up mail and packages


ATTENTION: UTILITIES INFO

The Utilities Department is daily receiving a high volume of calls and emails with questions and our team is working diligently to help everyone as quickly as possible.

To help us serve you and all customers more effectively, we are requesting that all questions be sent by email to [email protected]. We will get back to you as quickly as we can!

We understand the devastation that Hurricane Ian caused our residents. If you are not using water at this time, we can waive your water and sewer base fees. If you would like to prevent further billing of these fees, please email the Utilities Department at [email protected] with your name and service address.

PLEASE NOTE – All residents are required to pay stormwater fees. If you use www.eonlinebill.com/ftmyers to pay your water bill with a credit card, there is a 3.5 percent credit card processing fee added. This fee was approved by Town Council in the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget which began on October 1, 2022. To avoid the credit card fee, use one of the following methods:

  • Change your payment method in your online account to withdraw your payment directly from your bank account
  • Mail a check to the Town at 2525 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
  • Deliver your check to the Town Hall temporary complex at 2545 Estero Boulevard and leave it in the receptionist’s area in the designated drop box. Town Hall complex hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This temporary change in hours will start Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, and is expected to last through March 29, 2023. Town staff will be available on Town Hall’s temporary complex at 2545 Estero Boulevard which is the property just south of the Town Hall building that was damaged by Hurricane Ian.

  • Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The intent of this extension of hours is to provide higher levels of service and speed to storm-damage related permitting.During this extended schedule, customers will have access to Community Development staff for permitting assistance by email, telephone, and in-person at the Town Hall Complex.

To reach the Permitting Department, email [email protected] or call 239-765-0202 Option #2.

An extensive list of frequently asked questions about permitting is available on the Building Services webpage which is a great place to start to get questions answered.


Parking fees to be reinstated in select locations

Starting Monday January 9th, the Town will resume charging for parking at $5 per hour in the following areas:

  • Under the Matanzas Pass Bridge in lots numbered 1-4;
  • In the Downtown area including Old San Carlos Boulevard, Center Street, and Estero Boulevard
  • Waistin-A-Way beach access parking lot on Estero Boulevard just south of Crescent Street.

The two-hour time limit will be removed though parking fees will continue to be collected per hour and violations will be ticketed.

Prior year resident parking passes will be honored. Residents who no longer have a prior year parking pass will be able to receive a new one once the Town’s new passes arrive and a process for distribution has been decided. Residents who need a pass should watch the Town’s website at www.fmbgov.com and social media outlets for information.

The Town uses the PassPort pay by phone app. Motorists can use the app to monitor their parking session, extend time remotely (except where there are limits), view payment history, and receive email receipts.

The app is free to download through the App Store or Google Play. Parking can also be managed at www.ppprk.com. Town parking zones are 2390, 2391, 2392 and 2393. Zone and space number should be selected accordingly.


Contacting the Town

The Town’s main phone line 239-765-0202 is back up and running though transferring calls to extensions is not possible at this time. If there is no answer, you can leave a message by pressing “O” when prompted. The extensions of staff are not operational at this time so it is not possible to leave messages at any other extension than “O”. Email contacts are best:

  1. Building Services – [email protected] 
  2. Debris – [email protected]
  3. Drinking water, sewer, stormwater – [email protected]
  4. General – [email protected]
  5. Visit http://ow.ly/RUKE50MuXWk and read the news items on the homepage, as well as the other info
  6. Follow the Town of Fort Myers Beach, FL on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram, LinkedIn, YouTube
  7. Sign up for text or email alerts – enter your email and cell phone number –https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/list.aspx

How to apply for a temporary electric service pole

If you need temporary electric service for a temporary trailer/RV or for re-construction or renovations, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Visit FPL.com/construction to request a temporary electric service (a Florida-licensed electrical contractor can complete this step for you). Refer to: Creating Project Application One-Pager for Temporary Service Only  and upload your W2 form for billing and invoice purposes.
  2. An FP&L representative will assess the power requirements and provide you or your contractor with the requirements and the cost of installation. You can then make payment for the installation on fpl.com/construction. Refer to Project Portal Paying Construction Invoices Online   for more information.
  3. Obtain a trade permit from the Town of Fort Myers Beach. Before service can be run, a Florida-licensed electrical contractor must acquire a trade permit through the IWorQ online permitting system at http://www.fmbgov.com/building. The trade permit application form is located at the Town of Fort Myers Beach Applications & Forms page at https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1069/Building-Services-Applications-Forms. After the permit application is approved and the permit is issued, the contractor may install the temporary electric service pole. The contractor must then request a building code inspection from the Town, using their contractor code, through the IWorQ request portal at https://portal.iworq.net/FORTMYERSBEACH/permits/600. Once the inspection is passed, the Town will notify FP&L with authorization to energize the service.
  4. For more details on constructing a temporary electric service, see also the following FPL electric service standards: FPL electric service standards for underground service and FPL electric service standards for overhead service
  5. Once FPL is notified of approval from the Town of Fort Myers Beach work request to install temporary service will be completed within 10 business days.

If you have questions on either this info or any other restoration related concerns, please call 833-FPL-4IAN


INTERIM TOWN MANAGER

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council has voted to approve Chris Holley and his firm H2 Solutions as the new interim manager, replacing Manager Roger Hernstadt. Holley and his counterpart Keith Wilkins will be paid $20,000 a month for up to six months.


CURFEW

Curfew hours for Matanzas Pass Bridge on the north end of Estero Island have been changed to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.  For the Big Carlos Pass Bridge on the south end, residents can use the new 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, but contractors need to adhere to the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.

Starting on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, the Town will adjust its curfew hours for residents to Midnight to 6 a.m. on the Matanzas Pass Bridge and the Big Carlos Pass Bridge.

Residents need to be prepared to show proof of residency and visitors need to be prepared to show proof of reservations if they are traveling during the curfew hours. For the Big Carlos Pass Bridge on the south end, contractors need to continue to adhere to the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.


NATURAL GAS RESTORED

Natural gas services were restored to FMB by Peoples Gas, after safety checks, leak surveys and pressure tests were completed. Customers can call 877-832-6747 to schedule service restoration at their location. Visit http://ow.ly/tYXc50LJ2rm for additional info.


COUNCIL APPROVES PERMITTING FOR TEMPORARY STRUCTURES

To expedite the rebuilding process for residents impacted by Hurricane Ian and invest back into the local economy, Mayor Ray Murphy announced today that property and business owners can now register to have recreational vehicles, mobile homes, trailers, and restaurant and retail structures.

Requirements to receive a permit:

  1. The applicant must be the property owner/commercial tenant of the lot and the vendor must have a Lee County Tax-ID; or with the Town’s consent, have the permission of the property owner to operate at that location (permission must be supplied with registration form).
  2. All vehicles and structures must be completely on the lot and may not extend into the public right-of-way. Vehicles/structures must be oriented to be parallel to the right-of-way and there must be sufficient separation so that all commercial activity takes place entirely on the applicant’s lot. A site sketch must be provided as part of the application.
  3. Vehicles and structures must be setback by no less than the width of the vehicle/structure (i.e. track width) from any property line and not protrude into the right of way.
  4. Food Service Kitchens are permitted on their brick-and-mortar commercial site that is zoned for that type of activity. Other retail stores may not accommodate food trucks.
  5. Must be placed on a solid concrete slab, pavers or similar hard surface, stabilized surface or a tarp placed under the vehicle/ structure.
  6. Temp power/utilities must be properly installed within 14 calendar days of application.
  7. Vehicle and mobile home must be on wheels and be able to quickly disconnect utility connections and be removed from the property after a hurricane watch has been issued.

At Beach Baptist Church, staff are available Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to hand out supplies or give information.


At this time, swimming is not recommended. 


FEMA PAPERWORK ASSISTANCE

Do you need help filling our FEMA paperwork? If you need assistance, visit the Beach Baptist Church Community Resource Center to talk with a FEMA representative in person and have your questions answered. The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

FEMA MAY CONTACT YOU – BEWARE OF FRAUD AND SCAMS

As you’re applying for disaster assistance, remember to be on the lookout for scammers and fraud.

After a disaster like Hurricane Ian, scam artists often attempt to take advantage of survivors.

Don’t fall victim to a scam. Consider reporting fraud here: https://www.fema.gov/about/offices/security/disaster-fraud

The FEMA Representative will always provide

  • Their name
  • Affiliation
  • Reason For The Call
  • Callback Number

The FEMA Representative will verify your identity before discussing your application. Verification items include:

  • Last four digits of the applicant or co-applicant social security number
  • Current mailing address
  • Damaged dwelling address
  • Current phone number

The Town has released a revised FAQ document to assist residents in calculating the 50% rule, based on a decision by Town Council at the October 25 meeting to add an adjustment pursuant to the Town’s ordinances. Link to the FAQ: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=909


For any questions, a new recycle bin, pick-up or holiday information, contact Waste Management at (239) 334-1224. If possible, place household waste in a trash can. Bagged material will be picked up if separated from debris. Please put bagged household waste in a separate pile at the end of your driveway away from storm debris. Household waste is picked every Thursday morning , recycling Wednesday morning.


More than 252,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Ian-related debris has been collected in Fort Myers Beach. Residents can apply for debris removal services on their property by using the website: iandebriscleanup.com. This debris removal includes displaced and abandoned vehicles, vessels, and other titled property from qualifying private and commercial properties, as well as waterways throughout Lee County.

All residents are advised not to block roadways with debris so trucks can access each individual street for pickup. Trucks will be unable to pick up debris if they do not have space to drive down roads. The Town has been divided into 28 zones for debris collection and each zone has its own assigned truck. To view an active map of debris removal in the Town, click here: Debris Removal Data.


Sand is considered debris. However, it is a resource that the Town wants to conserve to restore beaches. Keep sand debris separate from other types of debris as you stage it. There are two options for sand removal:

  1. Use the sand to restore your beach property.

Separate and remove manmade debris from sand and sift it prior to returning to the beach.

Vehicles used on the beach to return sand should be permitted with the Town.

2. Stage the sand in the sidewalk right of way, keeping it separate from other types of debris.

Know that this sand may not be returned to you after debris contractors remove it

For more information: visit https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1250/Hurricane-Ian-Resources


TEMPORARY ER OPEN

A free-standing emergency room is now open at 6890 Estero Blvd thanks to the hard work of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), Florida Health, and CDR Health. The E.R. is open 24/7 for anyone in the Town of Fort Myers Beach requiring immediate medical care or access to a physician. Emergency room personnel will collect health insurance information on-site, however they will not bill for services.


PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS

Initial Inspections

A structural inspection and an electrical inspection must be completed prior to occupying a structure, or proceeding with building, renovating, or adding to a structure.

The structural inspection must be performed by a professional engineer with structural experience licensed in the State of Florida. Upon completing the inspection, the structural engineer must offer their findings and expert opinion in the form of a post-inspection report.

If you have questions about the inspection, permitting, and rebuilding processes, FEMA’s 50% rule, or other building and permitting topics, contact the Town’s Building Services & Permitting Services via email.

Permitting fees began being charged again as of Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023

Daphnie Bercher, Community Development Director
[email protected]

Steven Poposki , Building Official | 50% Rule
[email protected]

Andrew Garry, Permit Supervisor
[email protected]

Kristin Schumacher, Floodplain Manager
[email protected]

Staff will respond to all emails as time allows

For additional Information visit: FMB Building Services & Permitting Service web. page:

https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/971/Building-Services

You can also read this document ‘Can I occupy a structure and/or connect electric service?’ for additional information.

In addition this FAQ contains a wealth of useful information.

Building Services Division

The Building Services Division is currently receiving a high volume of permit applications and questions and our team is working diligently to help everyone as quickly as possible.

To help us serve you and all customers more effectively, we are requesting that all those with questions first review the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Read them here: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/Faq.aspx?QID=82

If you have questions about the inspection, permitting, and rebuilding processes, FEMA’s 50% rule, or other building and permitting topics, please visit the Building Services page at www.fmbgov.com.

If your question is not answered after reading the FAQs, Building Services staff can be contacted by email at [email protected], by telephone at 239-765-0202 choose option 2 or in-person at the east gate of the temporary Town government camp at 2545 Estero Blvd (located just south of the damaged Town Hall).

Demolition Permits

A demolition (demo) permit must be obtained before any structure is demolished/removed. A demo permit is secured through the Town by the demolition contractor. The demo permit application is at this link: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/DocumentCenter/View/19924/App-Demolition-Permit-Application-2022

After issuance of a demo permit, the contractor must request and pass inspections from the Lee County Utilities Department, the Town of Fort Myers Beach (FMB) Utilities Department, and the FMB Building Services Division. The purpose is to ensure that the sewer lateral and water meter are properly capped off before demolition begins.  

After obtaining a demolition permit, the following steps must be completed by the demolition contractor:

  1. A copy of the permit inspection board and all approved permitting documents must remain posted in a weather-protected condition at the job site, visible from the street.
  2. The existing sewer lateral must be capped off and the Lee County Utilities Department must conduct an inspection before it is covered. Email the Lee County Sewer Disconnect Form, found at the link below, to [email protected];   https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16454/LEE-COUNTY-FORM-Fort-Myers-Beach-Demo-App-Revised–1-31-20
  3. The capping of the existing sewer lateral and the associated inspection is to be requested by the contractor and passed by Town Utilities prior to commencing demolition work on the structure. A copy of an approval letter from Lee County Utilities must be received by the Town Building Services Division at [email protected] prior to commencing demolition work on the structure. For additional questions contact Lee County Utilities at 239-533-8399.
  4.  The existing water meter must be capped off on the customer’s side of right of way. The FMB Utilities Department must conduct an inspection before it is covered. Email the Town of Fort Myers Beach Utilities Department at [email protected] or call 239-463-9914 to request an inspection and approval. The capping of the existing water meter and the associated inspection is to be requested by the contractor and passed by FMB Utilities prior to covering the work and commencing demolition work on the structure.
  5.  It is the contractor’s responsibility to request and pass all inspections from Lee County Utilities, FMB Utilities, and the FMB Building Services Division when the associated work steps are complete. The contractor is solely responsible for any damages to sewer or water systems.

POWER RESTORATION

Residents must have an inspection from a Florida-licensed structural engineer and a Florida-licensed electrician for power to be turned on. Email inspection reports along with the property address and their Florida license number to [email protected]. Florida Power & Light reports 904 FMB properties have been restored with power.


WATER RESTORATION

According to Fort Myers Beach Utilities personnel, side streets on the bay side have water utilities restored with the exception of the Red Coconut area. Gulfside water remains limited. There are no issues with the sewer system. To have water service restored to your home, contact Beach Utilities at [email protected].


TEMPORARY TOWN HALL COMPLEX

A temporary town hall complex is set up in trailers next to the damaged town hall. Other Town facilities and programs including Matanzas Pass Mooring Field, Bay Oaks Campus, the FMB Pool, Mound House and Newton Beach Park are closed until further notice.


TRASH PICKUP

Waste Management trucks are picking up trash on the island daily. For health and safety reasons, they ask that you dispose of your food and kitchen waste first and save other household debris for later pickups. Please separate food and household trash from construction debris, appliances and electronics.

Waste Management announced they have resumed recycling collection service on Fort Myers Beach. Residents should separate their garbage and recycling from storm debris curbside, the company stated. Visit http://www.wmfloridastorm.com/ for updated information and further resumption of service details.


ROOF PERMITS

Access, complete and submit roof permits on the Town’s website at www.fmbgov.com. Send questions to [email protected] and find more information on the website. On the homepage, scroll down and click the Building Services sand dollar which will open the Building Services page. If you need an internet connection or if you are having difficulties with the internet, there is a Verizon trailer on the Town Hall compound that provides internet and device charging services as well as technical support.


CONTRACTORS

Please check the credentials of any contractor you are considering hiring.  It is a felony in Florida to conduct unlicensed contracting during a State of Emergency. Don’t become a victim. Visit MyFloridaLicense.com. You should also read this article from Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt PA. about unlicensed contractors. The town recommends property owners use locally licensed contractors.