Two businesses within the Fort Myers Beach downtown zoning district inside the pedestrian area known as Times Square have been approved of certain rights including an amended alcohol license and extended hours of operation in the Town right-of way.
The Beach Town Council unanimously approved Pete's Time Out and La Ola restaurants to revise their alcoholic beverage license type from beer and wine only, to beer, wine and liquor in the ROW and extend operating hours from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on a daily basis. The special exceptions will be in effect immediately.
Pete's Time Out is located at 1005 Estero Blvd and owned by John Lallo. The request held no Town staff conditions since it is consistent with the goals, objectives, policies and intent of the Town Comprehensive Plan.
La Ola is located at 1035 Estero Blvd. and is owned by Thomas List. Other than the amended alcohol license and extended hours, List requested the hours of live music on his property be lengthened from the currently approved hours of 3 to 9 p.m. to 1 to 11 p.m. daily.
The time extensions are consistent with surrounding businesses.
"I think these approvals move towards continued consistency," said Councilman Alan Mandel. "It should make life for the sheriff's department a lot easier for enforcement."
It was noted both Top O' The Mast and Beach Pierside Grill, two establishments that have consumption-on-premises rights in their outdoor seating area until 2 p.m., do not possess Town special exceptions, but their rights default to local ordinance that allow them to the same conditions.
La Ola's request held eight conditions: 1) a yearly lease agreement; 2) legible signs for the areas not approved for on-premise consumption; 3) lighting on the outdoor seating area will be shuttered and shielded from surrounding properties; 4) hours of operation for COP will be from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily; 5) comply with sea turtle provisions; 6) outdoor seating area cannot exceed current building, fire and life safety codes for number of tables and chairs with annual re-evaluation; 7) no items may extend into utility easement without written consent; and 8) live music, which must comply with Town noise ordinances, is permitted only between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Both restaurant requests will hold a stipulation that the Local Planning Agency recommended during their hearing prior to Council attention. It states that the principal use for the establishments will remain as restaurants, but incidental package sales may occur, meaning a liquor store will not be allowed to go into the business or take over the business, but closed-container alcohol, such as a bottle of unopened wine, may be sold.
Mayor Bob Raymond expressed concern of having live music in the square's ROW until 11 p.m.
"Outside music travels long distances," he said.
List tried to placate Raymond's concern by telling him that he is in control of the volume of the entertainers' music through his speaker system. His aim is to provide entertainment to later diners, such as Europeans who traditionally dine at a later time than Americans.
"Why I ask for 11 o'clock is for the summer time. People tend to go out later in the summer than the winter, because the sun goes down later," List said. "Europeans go out later, and I would like to be able to provide music."
According to Town records, outdoor COP when located within 500 feet of a school, park, dwelling unit or another establishment with outdoor COP requires approval via the special exception process. Amendments to special exception approvals can only be approved via a request for a new special exception.
Times Square is one of the most intensive commercial areas of the Beach. Town regulations in that area encourage restaurants to provide outdoor seating areas for their businesses. There is an established procedure for those businesses to allow them to lease Town right-of-ways to increase outdoor seating areas.
"Times Square is the area that we would expect to see more lively concentration of entertainment-related uses," added Town Community Development Director Walter Fluegel.
Town approves open containers on Dec. 31 in Time Square
With the New Year's Eve celebration looming less than two weeks away, Council authorized open containers of alcohol within the area of Times Square only. The Town of Fort Myers Beach turns 17 years old on Dec. 31, and a party to celebrate that occasion is being planned again.
Mound House gains additional parking
Council approved a parking lease agreement with First Baptist Church regarding overflow parking for automobiles and buses for Mound House. The church is at the corner of Estero Boulevard and Connecticut Street, while Mound House is at the end of Connecticut.
The agreement involves an initial one-year term with a lease of $250 per month and will automatically renew for additional one-year terms until either party gives notice, at least 30 days prior to expiration of any term, to the other party of intent not to renew.