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NOT IN MY BACKYARD: Roadblock for $200 Million Project on Fort Myers Beach

There's a significant setback for project proposed to replace Moss Marina on Fort Myers Beach.
Posted at 7:32 AM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 07:32:16-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The future of the ambitious Arches Bayfront development is in question, because the Fort Myers Beach Local Planning Agency (LPA) denied the first step of the project.

During the April 9 LPA meeting, several people voiced their opposition to the project. Among them was Chris Mosteiro, a local resident and business owner, whose home is directly behind the proposed site. Mosteiro said he was concerned about a parking garage planned adjacent to his property.

"The current proposal puts a six-floor parking garage in my backyard, right there where that blue building is. That's six floors of noise, cars honking, doors slamming, echoing, car fumes... Right in my backyard," he explained.


Mosteiro also told Fort Myers Beach Community Correspondent, Anvar Ruziev, about the importance of maintaining marina access for boating. Other nearby residents are concerned about increased traffic the 400 proposed hotel rooms could bring to their streets.

However, Ben Freeland, owner of Moss Marina, says that the project would actually reduce car traffic. "We think having a destination resort, right at the base of the bridge with adequate parking, pulls traffic off the island. People can walk and bike and get everywhere they want. We agreed to a water ferry going up and down the island to shuttles for our customers and employees coming onto the island," Freeland said.

The project would also necessitate the temporary relocation of the marina's sole restaurant, The Rude Shrimp Co. Despite the potential inconvenience, its owner and chef, T.J. Holzapfel, supports the development.

"I'm for growth, and like I said, someone is going to do it, so let's give it to someone that's lived here for a long time," Holzapfel remarked.

Freeland says he remains open to adjustments and is willing to compromise on the scale of the project to avoid any more denials, including possibly reducing the number of hotel rooms.