Nothing Remains the Same

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Is it time for a change? Should we re-develop the downtown area? In the past people with a vision saw the potential of our island. Whether to make this their domicile or vacation home, they came, and still are.

In 1912 a three story hotel was built on the gulf opposite school street.

A bridge from the main land was built in 1920, finished in 1921, and on opening day 97 cars passed over. Today, in season 14,000 vehicles pass over each way. There were no paved roads just sand. The famous arches on San Carlos Island were removed in the late 70’s to facilitate a new bridge.

Population growth:

1940 – 473

1950 – 711

1960 – 2464

1970 – 4305

1982 – 6400

1994 – 12000

In 1948 the Santini family purchased all the land south of Driftwood Lane for the bargain price of $43,000.

In 1959 high rises began to appear on the beach, the Privateer was the first.

The Leonardo Arms went up in the 70’s. During the 80’s a 24% increase in condo’s made the total 55. An 11-story condo was built in 1980. The bridge to Bonita was completed in 1965.

This history lesson is to illustrate nothing remains the same. We have more laws now to control density, height, health and many other items. And the decisions rest mostly on the Town Council, after L.P.A. hearings using the Comp and Land use plans as a guide.

Since 2003 over 600 requests for zoning actions and land variances have been addressed on Fort Myers Beach. I will agree the biggest one is upon us. The quaint little village left with the Caloosa Indians.

Dan Parker

Fort Myers Beach