Notwithstanding recent social media posts suggesting otherwise, the Town of Fort Myers Beach always has been and continues to be willing to meet and negotiate in good faith in any mediation process with the principals of Texas Hold’ Em, LLC, and Squeeze Me Inn, LLC, regarding the disagreement over the Town Council’s denial of a special exception for a dune walkover, whether that mediation is pursuant to Florida’s Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution Act (FLUEDRA) or court-ordered mediation.
If Texas Hold’ Em and Squeeze Me Inn elect to withdraw from the FLUEDRA process they themselves invoked and elect to pursue litigation, the parties will be required to attend a court-ordered mediation. In other words, the parties can engage in mediation now, or later. The Town prefers “now” but cannot force Texas Hold’ Em or Squeeze Me Inn to engage in mediation under FLUEDRA. Ironically Texas Hold’ Em and Squeeze Me Inn can force the Town to mediate the dispute under FLUEDRA. The Town is willing and ready to do so now!
Putting aside the “how” and “why,” based upon the current situation dictated by Covid-19 limiting intrastate and interstate travel and the difficulty in coordinating the calendars of close to a dozen individuals who would participate in any mediation, the parties are realistically looking at the middle of next month as a target for any FLUEDRA “sanctioned” mediation. In fact, recognizing the practical impossibility of meeting the FLUEDRA statutory deadlines, almost two months ago the parties agreed to waive those statutory deadlines – which is specifically allowed. This delay is now being characterized as the reason for Texas Hold’ Em and Squeeze Me Inn’s withdrawal which is their prerogative.
However, the Town wants it to be clear that it stands ready and willing to participate in any mediation and negotiate in good faith regarding the proposed beach dune walkover now, or later, if that is the property owner’s preference.