To the editor:
Over time things seem to just happen. And, policy becomes piecemeal.
COP illustrates what has happened to our beach. This issue should have been viewed under an overall policy that deals with commercial use of the open space on the beach. It is probably too late for that, but it is not too late to build a framework to guide our use of the beach in a more reasonable way.
COP itself professed to make an attempt at a "level playing field," which could be viewed as a weak step in the direction of developing some framework for the commercial use of the environmentally sensitive beach. In fact, it is clear that this has simply been another piecemeal approach to an overall need. Joanne Shamp presented the idea of a Business Control Line in a fine report to Council. The need is much more. The entire square footage of the beach needs to be addressed in a specific and comprehensive overview policy.
The environmentally sensitive, open space area that we thought was protected by our comp plan is not. It is now in dire need of a plan for specific use. Conceptual thought is no longer an option. Commercial use is rampant and spills across the beach into a junkyard collection of usage. Downtown commercial use has quickly filled the so-called "re-nourished" new sand area. Keeping business away from the water line is obviously not happening according to intent. And, now with probable alcohol service added to the scene, a further squeeze on the open space will be introduced.
An overall commercial use policy for our beaches needs to be developed. It needs to be specific. And what better time than now when it is clear in our minds.
Fort Myers Beach