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Lani Kai gets approval for stage, permit fees waived

March 4, 2020
By NATHAN MAYBERG ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Lani Kai Island Resort attorney Robert Burandt appeared in front of the town council March 2 asking for a special exception to build a temporary stage on its property outside on the beach which will host dancing and performances by firemen from Cincinnati.

The stage has been erected for years in March for spring break but this is the first year the town asked the hotel to apply for a special exception permit, Burandt said. Burandt requested that the special exception fee be waived as well as an application for a special event permit be waived since the stage is used for charity work.

Burandt explained to the board that Cincinnati firemen hold daily fundraising events for a couple weeks where they dance on the stage. "This is a charitable event," he said. The hotel donates rooms to the Cincinnati firemen. The charity funds collected go to Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Councilmembers had some concerns about how the stage is used for other activities not limited to the Cincinnati firemen. Councilmembers Rexann Hosafros and Joanne Shamp spoke about what they say are unflattering videos that they were shown.

The board decided to waive the permit fees while not exempting the resort from applying for a special event permit.

Burandt was concerned that a special permit requirement could lead to the resort paying for law enforcement which could be expensive, stating that the hotel has a large security staff.

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Hosafros said that a special event permit doesn't necessarily require the hotel to hire law enforcement to police the events. Hosafros said a special permit was necessary since the event "has the potential to substantially affect the ordinary and customary use of the beach."

Mayor Anita Cereceda said "there are thousands of people there."

Shamp said a special event permit should be used for the fundraiser though she said she didn't want it used for other purposes.

The board approved allowing the hotel a special exception to construct the stage with conditions, including the requirement of a special permit for the firefighter fundraising activities, unanimously.

Town Manager Roger Hernstadt said the special event permit requires the approval of the Lee County Sheriff's Office and Fort Myers Beach Fire District. "They set their own conditions," he said. Hernstadt said the administrative review will be quick and they will try to push the other parties along.

Other business

- In other business, the council proclaimed March 29 to be Vietnam Veterans Day.



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