Grand Resorts marketing effort to change the name of it’s seawall to a “costal protection system” is at best disingenuous. There is nothing on our coast that this barrier protects except the buildings behind it. It would more aptly be called a “building protection system”.

The purpose of the wall is clear. The engineers employed by Grand Resorts explained that the protection it provides to the buildings it shelters would allow for a redesign of the FEMA map which, in turn, would decrease the insurance rates for those same properties and allow for street level commerce. TPI Hospitality CEO Tom Torgerson needs his wall for his development proposal to succeed. Further, Mr. Torgerson needs to convince us that this wall is in the “public interest” so that public funds can assist in it’s maintenance if not it’s construction. Maintenance will also require ongoing beach restoration, which undoubtedly will become part of the funding negotiations as well.

We can do beach restoration without Mr. Torgerson’s wall, and he can develop property without rewriting the FEMA map. He can propose a development that fits within our community’s comprehensive plan and stays within our land development codes as they currently exist. Remember, our comprehensive plan exists in part to protect our island from the consequences of overdevelopment. This plan needs to inform any future development, not the other way around. Any attempt to get around the comprehensive plan and land development codes by our Town Council or LPA using multiple variances and exceptions is an abuse of power. We need development that reflects and protects the character of the island that we love.

Daniel Hendrickson

Fort Myers Beach