Hurricane Ian Updates From The Town of Fort Myers Beach

From The Town of Fort Myers Beach

Updated 12-1-22

HOW TO CLEAN UP SAFELY FOLLOWING A NATURAL DISASTER

As Fort Myers Beach Community recovers and cleans up from Hurricane Ian, homeowners, emergency workers, and volunteers expose themselves to debris and structural damage that can release asbestos fibers. Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of Mesothelioma Cancer.

The Mesothelioma Center put together a free guide with specifics on how to clean up safely following a natural disaster. You can read that here:

https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/natural-disasters/

IMPORTANT: All Commercial, Multifamily Residential, Condominiums, Residential Cooperative Structures are required to submit a notification form to FDEP for a demolition project (EVEN IF NO ASBESTOS IS PRESENT).

More Info on National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP): https://floridadep.gov/air/permitting-compliance/content/asbestos-faq

Asbestos Notification Form

Florida DEP Portal Demo Notice

TOWN COUNCIL WAIVES PERMIT FEES FOR 90 DAYS

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council voted Monday to approve the waiving of permit fees relating to work necessitated by Hurricane Ian.

The waiving of permit fees will be allowed for those who have received approval for building permits up to 90 days since Hurricane Ian, which will run through Dec. 27.

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.

Residents should be prepared to show proof of residency if they are traveling on and off the Island during the curfew hours.

NATURAL GAS RESTORED

Natural gas services were restored this week 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.

BOIL WATER NOTICE RESCINDED

We are happy to report the Boil Water Notice is no longer in effect for Fort Myers Beach residents. It is safe to consume regular water.

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.

The Community Resource Centers at Beach Baptist Church (130 Connecticut Street) and Santini Plaza (7205 Estero Boulevard) have restrooms, laundry and showers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as ice and water. At Santini, staff are available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to hand out canned food, supplies or give information. At Beach Baptist Church, staff are available Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to hand out supplies or give information. Warm meals are available at Baptist Church: lunch 11:30-1:30 and dinner 4:30-5:30  

TOWN FAQ

We’ve been getting a lot of same questions from social media and we heard same questions last Thursday at Town Council meeting. If you have more questions please email them to: email [email protected]

We’ve heard you and here are the answers.

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) has issued a county wide precautionary swim advisory for all public beaches and swimming pools and advising the public not to enter the water due to the possible increase of waterborne illnesses. The water quality has been affected by Hurricane Ian and at this time, swimming is not recommended. 

IMPORTANT INFO FROM FMB UTILITIES

If you have water restored and you are receiving a bill from the Utilities Department, keep in mind that it is for the period PRIOR TO HURRICANE IAN. You can email us at [email protected] with any questions.

Also, for after hours emergencies, please call 866-578-2705.

NON-POTABLE WATER

Water spigots are available for residents to use for cleaning, and are located at both the Beach Baptist Church and Santini Plaza Community Resource Centers.

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

MEALS FOR RESIDENTS

The Red Cross will be taking over meal distribution for Fort Myers Beach residents starting Sunday, Oct 30 at both Community Resource Centers. Residents should be advised the meal operations may look slightly different from World Central Kitchens’ operations.

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

The landfills designated for Hurricane Ian debris cannot accept household waste. 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 (weather dependent).

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.

MOBILE CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM

The Center for Progress and Excellence’s Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) has resources available for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Call 844-395-4432 to connect with a mental health professional who can assist you during this time of recovery.

The MCRT will be available in-person at the Beach Baptist Church Community Resource Center on Wednesday, November 2, during the center’s operating hours.

PERMITS AND 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.

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.

Carbon monoxide detectors are now available at Community Resource Centers. Please remember to look out for your neighbors and be courteous during this time of recovery. Safety Tips include:

  • Do not attempt to move any leaking or damaged propane cylinders. If you encounter a leaking or damaged propane cylinder, call 911. For non-emergency removal of intact propane cylinders, call the Town of Fort Myers Beach at 239-765-0202 and have the address of the propane cylinder ready.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and conditions as you return to your home.
  • As the temperature rises, remember to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade when possible.
  • Keep the road and fire hydrants clear of debris piles. If a hydrant is opened, contact the Fire District.
  • Wear proper footwear as debris piles cause uneven walking surfaces and tripping hazards.
  • Treat all downed wires as live and electrified; do not touch downed wires.
  • Stay away from standing water as it may contain bacteria.
  • Point the exhaust of gas-powered machines away from any activity.
  • If possible, avoid walking or working in high-dust areas or wear at least a N-95 mask.

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].

FIRE INSPECTION AND PERMIT FEES SUSPENDED

To aid the residents of Fort Myers Beach, the Board of Fire Commissioners and Fire Chief Ronald L. Martin are suspending all fire inspection and permitting fees. This suspension of fees will begin on Monday, October 17 and continue for 90 days.

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.

STAY CONNECTED

We wanted to make sure that you know about and are connected to all of the ways that the Town is providing information directly.

  • For permitting, PLEASE feel free to reach out directly to Daphnie Bercher, Community Development Director, by phone at 239-537-5960 or email at [email protected].
  • For permitting info, please visit and continue to check the Town’s Building Services page: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/971/Building-Services as well as the homepage on the Town’s website – www.fmbgov.com
  • As we have new information, we have been and will continue to share it with all media outlets as well as post it on our website, on the Town of Fort Myers Beach Facebook page, and text and email it to anyone who is signed up through our website to get messages directly,
  • To sign yourself up to the website, click this link: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/list.aspx
  • You can also email [email protected]