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05/22/2014 at 2:39pm

Sunset CelebrationTime Square Sunset
Celebrations To Continue

During the Town Council meeting on Monday evening, a recurring event permit was approved for the weekly Time Square Sunset Celebrations held each Friday and Saturday night for the past two and a half years. Council also agreed to delay construction of the Newton House seawall, appointed members of the Charter Review Committee and learned that the Town Attorney plans to schedule an executive session to discuss a settlement offer in the Orlandini litigation.

John Lallo, owner of Pete’s Time Out and Steve Maillakakis, owner of Plaka’s asked council to approve a year’s worth of the popular sunset events. Resident Steve Lisay spoke in favor of the weekly events, noting that he lives near Time Square and his family enjoys the events.

Council approved the permit 4-0 (Councilmember Alan Mandel has absent).

Earlier in the meeting, the Public Hearing on Ordinance 13-10, otherwise known as the elevated pool ordinance was removed from the agenda. The ordinance’s history began with the council’s passage of Resolution 13-26 on October 21, 2013 declaring "Zoning in Progress” regarding elevated pools. On November 12th, the Local Planning Agency approved an ordinance limiting pool height to no more than the crown of the adjacent roadway. Ordinance 13-10 had its first hearing at Town Council on December 2, 2013, where the council tabled it. A second Public Hearing was set for January 21st, 2014, which was continued to February 18th. At their February 18th meeting, council voted to rescind the Zoning in Progress Resolution 13-26 and continue the public hearing on Ord. 13-10 to their May 19th meeting. No reason was given at Monday’s meeting for removing the hearing from the agenda.

The Public Hearing on Ordinance 14-03 regarding Historic Preservation was opened but then closed after Joanne Shamp, Chair of the Historic Preservation Board told Council that questions arose from concerned citizens about whether the ordinance would subject properties to unintended restrictions. Council voted 4-0 to send the ordinance back to the HPB.

The Administrative Agenda included three items requiring council’s attention. The first was appointment of five members of the Charter Review Committee, from 10 nominees.

After several of the nominees spoke to council, Council voted to appoint Tom Babcock, Miffie Greer, Daniel Hughes, Jay Light and Dan Parker to the Charter Committee, with Al Durrett as alternate, providing that Rooney is able to confirm that an alternate is in accordance with the Charter.

Council also approved an administrative setback variance for 602 Estero Blvd to allow the placement of a pool chair lift that would encroach 2 feet into the required 20 feet side yard setback.

Public Works Director Scott Baker asked the Council to postpone the Newton House seawall construction until fall due to turtle season. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection limits construction along the beach during turtle season. (May 1-October 31) The construction bid was awarded to Marine Contracting Group in April, but as no contract has been signed and they have said they are unwilling to hold their bid price for a fall project, Baker asked Council to rescind the award and rebid the project. Council approved 4-0.

Town Attorney Derek Rooney informed Council that he would be requesting an executive session with Council regarding the Orlandini litigation following a recent meeting with Joe Orlandini, Town Manager Don Stilwell and attorneys in which a settlement offer was discussed. He also recommended setting a special session for Town Council after the executive session, so that, if they do agree to the settlement, they can act on it before the end of the month.

With two council members out of town during the next week, Mayor Anita Cereceda said that she thought it critical to move forward with all five Council members present. Rooney recommended that an executive session be set Thursday, May 29th at 3:30pm. He also clarified that meetings require a minimum of 48 hours public notice.

Rooney also asked for council’s direction on whether they would like all three Ebelini attorneys present at the executive session. Council consensus was expressed by Hosafros, "I only think we need one advisor.”

When Council Member Summer Stockton asked about the PWVL (jet ski) ordinance, Rooney answered that a special LPA meeting has been requested for next week, with council getting it June 2, with a final hearing on June 16th.

Stockton asked that the Town provide free pool memberships to all Bay Oaks members under age 18.

"I think it’s morally wrong to turn a profit…by charging children. A child is dependent on their parents. This is something that kids can do to get them off the street. They can go to the pool for free and not throw something at a car or whatever they’re doing."

Admitting that the idea has merit, Andre added that he wants to see the financial impact.

Stockton also said that while the last council designated ‘point’ people to certain projects, "I think we should all be involved in everything.”

Cereceda reported on her meeting with Reefmakers, the group involved in the sinking of the Mohawk. He is hoping to sink a submarine 30 miles offshore Fort Myers Beach in 90 feet of water. He is also hoping for funding from the state and the West Coast Inland Navigation District.

The next scheduled Town Council meeting is June 2 at 9:00 am. Watch the Town’s website for additional meetings.

Missy Layfield