Opposition is coming from current operators of parasailing and personal watercraft rentals on the beach, citing increased competition and the potential for more safety issues. The town has limited the number of operators since 1995, following restrictions enacted by Lee County in the wake of a number of safety issues. Current operators are pushing to force the resort developers to purchase licenses from an existing operator, which the resort said would cost more than some real estate on the beach and would be cost prohibitive. One estimate put the cost of a license at more than $1 million.
The referenced Lee County Ordinances and Fort Myers Beach ordinances primarily aim to restrict areas in which rental craft and other personal watercraft can be operated along the shoreline, and to ensure such businesses are properly registered so that the county can collect business taxes. Ordinances also require both personal watercraft and parasailing businesses to carry liability insurance, although there is no mechanism in place to ensure compliance. Continue reading ›