Hurricane Ian Recovery Resources

Ian_Florida_Landfall The Town of Fort Myers Beach took a catastrophic direct hit from Hurricane Ian on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Ian was a category 4-plus hurricane. Sustained winds were clocked just a few miles per hour short of a category 5.

The storm wreaked widespread damage throughout the Town. Nearly every structure on the Island was impacted in some way. This storm has been described as being in the top five of most catastrophic natural disasters in the world. 

However, the Town has progressed rapidly in its recovery and all indications are that this progress will continue! This page is intended as a central location for information and resources as we move through our recovery from Hurricane Ian.

Read full information here

STAY CONNECTED

The Town’s main phone line - 239-765-0202 - is back in service though transferring calls to extensions is not possible at this time. If there is no answer, you can leave a message by pressing “O” when prompted. The extensions of staff are not operational. Email contacts are best:

  1. Building Services – buildingpermits@fmbgov.com 
  2. Debris – publicworks@fmbgov.com
  3. Drinking water, sewer, stormwater - utilities@fmbgov.com
  4. General - Publicinfo@fmbgov.com
  5. Visit www.fmbgov.com
  6. Follow the Town of Fort Myers Beach, FL on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram, LinkedIn, YouTube
  7. Sign up for text or email alerts - enter your email and cell phone number, then select News Flash/Advisories 

Residents, visitors and business owners are reminded that open containers of alcoholic beverages are not permitted to be carried or consumed in any public area of the Town, including the Beach, Times Square, sidewalks, parking lots, etc. 

FEMA will only reach out if you have already applied for assistance. If you are contacted by someone asking you to apply for FEMA assistance or if you question someone’s intent, contact your local law enforcement agency.  

Be cautious if somebody asks for your nine-digit application number. A FEMA inspector will not ask for this. They already have it in their records and may provide it to you to confirm they are interacting with the correct person. FEMA inspectors never ask for or confirm banking information. Ask the inspector to show you their identification badge. Federal and contracted employees always wear an official government badge to identify themselves.  

Do not let someone into your home who claims to be a FEMA employee but does not have a FEMA photo ID. All FEMA representatives carry a laminated photo ID.  

Don’t trust someone who asks for money. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and staff from the Small Business Administration never charge for inspections or help in filling out a disaster assistance application. 

Don’t believe anyone who promises a disaster grant and asks for large cash deposits or advance payments in full. 

More information here.  

BEACH RENOURISHMENT 

To accomplish renourishment of the Beach, the Town needs beachfront property owners to sign an easement to place sand on the beach areas that are private property. Signing this easement only gives the Town permission to place sand on your property. It does not give the Town rights to your property. The easement document along with construction plans and other information can be found at www.fmbgov.com/beach.

BEACHFRONT PROPERTIES

Property owners in the Town of Fort Myers Beach who need to remedy coastal beach erosion and replace sand, might be eligible for reimbursement of costs through a program by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

FDEP opened an application process on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, for eligible property owners to apply for the Hurricane Restoration Reimbursement Grant Program. Visit www.floridadep.gov/hurricane for information, instructions, and the application form.  Eligible properties include single family homes, residential condominiums, and cooperatives seeking reimbursement to remedy coastal beach erosion and construction costs for sand placement and temporary or permanent coastal armoring construction projects. 

It is important that property owners read the application instructions and Emergency Rule 62ER23-2, F.A.C. for definitions and eligibility requirements. 

Email hrrg@floridadep.gov  with any questions.

BUILDING SERVICES DIVISION

The Building Services Division is currently receiving a high volume of permit applications and questions and our team is working diligently to help everyone as quickly as possible. To help us serve you and all customers more effectively, we are requesting that all those with questions first review the answers to our most frequently asked questions. 

Read them here: Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered after reading the FAQs, Building Services staff can be contacted by email at buildingpermits@fmbgov.com, by telephone at 239-765-0202 choose option 2 or in-person at the temporary Town government camp at 2545 Estero Blvd (located just south of the damaged Town Hall). 

Joe Specht - Building Official
 jspecht@fmbgov.com

Andrew Garry - Permitting Services Manager
andrew.garry@fmbgov.com

Kristin Schumacher - Floodplain Manager  kristin.schumacher@fmbgov.com


PERMITS - DO I NEED A PERMIT?

Visit our Building Services page for information on permits, what activities require a permit, and how to get a permit. 

Still have questions? Email buildingpermits@fmbgov.com

The Town is currently accepting rebuild permits. Find forms for submitting rebuild information.

For updated permitting information, please continue to check the Town's Building Services Webpage at www.fmbgov.com/building.  Only permits submitted through the website will be accepted.

HOW DO I ACQUIRE A DEMOLITION PERMIT?

A demolition (demo) permit must be obtained before any structure is demolished/removed. A demo permit is secured through the Town by the demolition contractor. The demo permit application is located at the Building Services Applications and Forms page. 

After issuance of a demo permit, the contractor must request and pass inspections from the Lee County Utilities Department, the Town of Fort Myers Beach (FMB) Utilities Department, and the FMB Building Services Division. The purpose is to ensure that the sewer lateral and water meter are properly capped off before demolition begins. 

After obtaining a demolition permit, the following steps must be completed by the demolition contractor:

A copy of the permit inspection board and all approved permitting documents must remain posted in a weather-protected condition at the job site, visible from the street. 

The existing sewer lateral must be capped off and the Lee County Utilities Department must conduct an inspection before it is covered. Email the Lee County Sewer Disconnect Form to LCUNewinstalls@leegov.com;  

The capping of the existing sewer lateral and the associated inspection is to be requested by the contractor and passed by Town Utilities prior to commencing demolition work on the structure. A copy of an approval letter from Lee County Utilities must be received by the Town Building Services Division at buildingpermits@fmbgov.com prior to commencing demolition work on the structure. For additional questions contact Lee County Utilities at 239-533-8399.  The existing water meter must be capped off on the customer’s side of right of way. The FMB Utilities Department must conduct an inspection before it is covered. Email the Town of Fort Myers Beach Utilities Department at utilities@fmbgov.com or call 239-463-9914 to request an inspection and approval. The capping of the existing water meter and the associated inspection is to be requested by the contractor and passed by FMB Utilities prior to covering the work and commencing demolition work on the structure. 

It is the contractor’s responsibility to request and pass all inspections from Lee County Utilities, FMB Utilities, and the FMB Building Services Division when the associated work steps are complete. The contractor is solely responsible for any damages to sewer or water systems.

TEMPORARY USE PERMIT

HOW TO APPLY FOR A TEMPORARY ELECTRIC SERVICE POLE?

If you need temporary electric service for a temporary trailer/RV or for re-construction or renovations, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Visit FPL.com/construction to request a temporary electric service (a Florida-licensed electrical contractor can complete this step for you). Refer to: Creating Project Application One-Pager for Temporary Service Only  and upload your W2 form for billing and invoice purposes.
  2. An FP&L representative will assess the power requirements and provide you or your contractor with the requirements and the cost of installation. You can then make payment for the installation on fpl.com/construction. Refer to Project Portal Paying Construction Invoices Online   for more information. 
  3. Obtain a trade permit from the Town of Fort Myers Beach. Before service can be run, a Florida-licensed electrical contractor must acquire a trade permit through the IWorQ online permitting system at http://www.fmbgov.com/building. The trade permit application form is located at the Town of Fort Myers Beach Applications & Forms page at https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1069/Building-Services-Applications-Forms. After the permit application is approved and the permit is issued, the contractor may install the temporary electric service pole. The contractor must then request a building code inspection from the Town, using their contractor code, through the IWorQ request portal at https://portal.iworq.net/FORTMYERSBEACH/permits/600. Once the inspection is passed, the Town will notify FP&L with authorization to energize the service.
  4. For more details on constructing a temporary electric service, see also the following FPL electric service standards:  

FPL electric service standards for underground service

FPL electric service standards for overhead service

Once FPL is notified of approval from the Town of Fort Myers Beach work request to install temporary service will be completed within 10 business days.  

If you have questions on either this info or any other restoration related concerns, please call 833-FPL-4IAN

CALCULATING THE 50% RULE

The Town's Frequently Asked Questions about Building Services document includes steps to calculate the 50% rule.  Read it here. 

DEBRIS REMOVAL

Debris clean up from the waterways is underway by contractors vetted by the Florida Department of Emergency Management and has been for awhile.  This work will continue to happen in canals and waterways throughout Estero Island until all debris is cleared. If your waterway has not yet been cleared, please be patient.  Watch this video to learn more.

Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis has a website for donations and volunteers

INTERNET SERVICE CONTACTS

Century Link  (866-460-4355)

Comcast  (1-800-XFINITY)

KEY QUESTIONS WITH KEY STAFFERS

FMB residents can pick up mail in the Fort Myers Beach temporary Post Office located next to the pre hurricane destroyed office. Property owners can also request that mail be delivered to their addresses now. 

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mail and package pickup, as well as Post Office Box service, will also be available on Saturday from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Post Office Box customers who had a box at the original Post Office can pick up their new key by showing a photo ID during retail hours. Their Post Office Box numbers will remain the same.  As a reminder, customers must show a picture ID when picking up mail and packages.

MOBILE CRISIS RESPONSE TEAM

The Center for Progress and Excellence’s Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) has resources available for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Call 844-395-4432 to connect with a mental health professional who can assist you during this time of recovery.

MOORING FIELD

Matanzas Pass Mooring Field is open for WET STORAGE ONLY on the 19 additional moorings west of Matanzas Pass Bridge that were recently constructed. These moorings accommodate vessels up to 85 feet in length. To sign up for one of these moorings, visit https://dockwa.com/explore/destination/8qcd598-matanzas-pass-mooring-field?form=transient

These moorings added to the Town's current 70 bring the total for the entire Mooring Field to 89. This project was in process before Hurricane Ian. The closure of the field due to the storm provided the opportunity for it to be completed. Watch the Town’s social media outlets and website for information about when Mooring Field will re-open to guests. 

MOUND HOUSE

Mound House museum reopened on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 9 a.m. The Mound House museum and museum store will be open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the grounds will continue being open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

PARKING

Most all parking has been restored in the Town. Parking fees at $5 per hour have resumed as have violations. The two-hour time limit is removed though parking fees will continue to be collected per hour and violations will be ticketed.  Paid parking is enforced island wide in all Town marked parking areas, including beach accesses.  

BUSINESS Parking Permit - $50 (tax included) 

RESIDENTIAL Parking Permit - $25; Business (tax included) 

PORTABLE PUBLIC RESTROOMS

The Town has placed ten portable public restrooms in Times Square and at the Palm Avenue Beach Access. One accessible bathroom is at each of those locations. Some restaurant owners with food trucks in Times Square and other locations are also providing portable restrooms for their customers. 

PROPERTY APPRAISALS

For information about property appraisals following the hurricane, visit www.leepa.org.

SAFETY INFORMATION FROM THE FMB FIRE DISTRICT

  • Do not attempt to move any leaking or damaged propane cylinders. If you encounter a leaking or damaged propane cylinder, call 911. For non-emergency removal of intact propane cylinders, call the Town of Fort Myers Beach at 239-765-0202 and have the address of the propane cylinder ready. 
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and conditions as you return to your home.
  • As the temperature rises, remember to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade when possible. 
  • Keep the road and fire hydrants clear of debris piles. If a hydrant is opened, contact the Fire District. 
  • Wear proper footwear (closed-toe, sturdy shoes). Debris piles cause uneven walking surfaces and tripping hazards. 
  • Treat all downed wires as live and electrified; do not touch downed wires. 
  • Point the exhaust of gas-powered machines away from any activity. 
  • If possible, avoid walking or working in high-dust areas or wear at least a N-95 mask.

SAND REMOVAL

Sand is considered debris. However, it is a resource that the Town wants to conserve to restore beaches. Keep sand debris separate from other types of debris as you stage it. There are two options for sand removal:

  • Use the sand to restore your beach property.
    • Separate and remove manmade debris from sand and sift it prior to returning to the beach.
    • Vehicles used on the beach to return sand should be permitted with the Town.
  • Stage the sand in the sidewalk right of way, keeping it separate from other types of debris.
    • Know that this sand may not be returned to you after debris contractors remove it

For more information: visit https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1250/Hurricane-Ian-Resources

The permitting process for special events has re-opened. Permits are now required for any public event that an organization would like to hold in the Town, including parades, concerts, festivals, fairs, markets, etc. For information and the application, visit the Town’s website at www.fmbgov.com > Doing Town Business > Community Development > Community Development Applications & Forms > Special Events. Email specialevents@fmbgov.com with questions. 

STATE AND NATIONAL RESOURCES

General Info & Resources: FloridaDisaster.org/Info
SAIL: 1-800-342-3557
Disaster Assistance: DisasterAssistance.gov
Donate: Volunteerflorida.org/donatefdf
Volunteer: Volunteerflorida.org
Debris Removal: IanDebrisCleanUp.com

Click on STATE AND NATIOAL RESOURCES  for a listing of other resources available.

SWIM ADVISORY

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) has issued a countywide precautionary swim advisory for all public beaches and swimming pools and is advising the public to not enter the water due to the possible increase of waterborne illnesses. The water quality has been affected by Hurricane Ian, and swimming is not recommended.

TRASH AND RECYCLING

Recycling and trash collection services are provided by Waste Management. For questions about trash or recycling pickup, holiday hours, or to request a new recycle bin, contact Waste Management at (239) 334-1224. 

If possible, place household waste in a trash can that you provide. Bagged material will be picked up if separated from storm debris. Put bagged household waste in a separate pile at the end of your driveway away from storm debris. Household waste is picked up every Thursday morning. Recycling is picked up on Wednesday mornings. 

NEED A NEW RECYCLE BIN?

For any questions, missing recycle bin, pick-up or holiday information, contact Waste Management at (239) 334-1224. If possible, place household waste in a trash can. Bagged material will be picked up if separated from debris. Please put bagged household waste in a separate pile at the end of your driveway away from storm debris. Household waste is picked every Thursday morning , recycling Wednesday morning. 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

United Way is working with local emergency managers to coordinate volunteer opportunities. Please do not self-deploy. Check the United Way site to register as a volunteer, and they will contact you with available opportunities. The areas impacted by Hurricane Ian are considered hazardous at this time. To learn more and to register as a volunteer, click: here

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce also has ways you can help. Click: here for more information.

The State of Florida is also coordinating volunteers:  Volunteerflorida.org

WATER AND POWER RESTORATION

Residents must have an inspection from a Florida-licensed structural engineer and a Florida-licensed electrician for power to be turned on. Email inspection reports along with the property address and the contractor’s  Florida license number to buildingpermits@fmbgov.com. To have water service restored to your home: 

  1. Secure structural and electrical inspections.
  2. Submit the inspections by email to buildingpermits@fmbgov.com
  3. The Town’s Utility Department will notify you when your home is scheduled for water restoration. 
  4. You MUST be present when water is restored.

WATER UTILITIES

To arrange to have water service restored to your home, or for questions about utility billing, contact Utilities at utilities@fmbgov.com

If a property’s water is not being used at this time, water and sewer base fees can be waived. To prevent further billing of these fees, property owners should email the Utilities Department at utilities@fmbgov.com with their name and service address. PLEASE NOTE – All residents are required to pay stormwater fees. 

If property owner pays their water bill at www.eonlinebill.com/ftmyers or is set up with automatic payment with a credit card, there is a 3.5 percent credit card processing fee added. This fee was approved by Town Council in the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget which began on October 1, 2022. 

To avoid paying fee:

  • change to payment directly from a bank account;
  • mail a check to the Town at 2525 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931;
  • Deliver check to the Town Hall temporary complex at 2545 Estero Boulevard and leave it in the receptionist’s area in the designated drop box. Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

TIPS ON BOILING WATER

1.  Fill a pot or pan with cold water.
2.  Start timing after the water boils. (You may see little bubbles forming at the edges of the pot; these are just air bubbles from the water; when steady streams of big bubbles are sent up from the bottom of the pot, your water is starting to boil.)
3.  Boil for one full minute.
4.  Boil as much water in a pot as you can comfortably lift without spilling. Caution should always be exercised when handling boiling water to minimize the risk of burns.