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Use of trailers and campers approved for residential areas in Fort Myers

FEMA will allowing travel trailers like this one to move onto the barrier islands of Sanibel, Estero and Pine Island, a FEMA official said Tuesday.
File photo
Trailers like this and manufactured units could be showing up soon in yards of Ian-damaged homes in Fort Myers. The city council has voted to allow, with permits, temporary use of trailers in residential areas, as well as in yet-to-be-determined community sites in the city.

Campers and trailers could be coming soon to yards of homes, and to vacant land in the City of Fort Myers.

The city council has approved temporary housing for victims of Hurricane Ian.

In non-emergency times, the city does not allow people to live in trailers or R-V's in yards, parks or vacant lots. On Tuesday the Fort Myers council voted to allow people to live temporarily in campers or manufactured units on their own property, while waiting for their homes to be repaired. The city also will allow what it calls community sites, where residents and non-residents could live in campers during repairs.

Steve Belden is the Fort Myers community development director. He spoke about community sites.

"These may be, but not limited to, existing mobile home parks where they have concrete pads," he said. "Or it could be recreational sites or vacant land for this temporary housing."

People would have to get permits for the temporary living units. City resident Terry Myers said he supports the plan.


"You know you are talking people's lives," he said. "If you've ever been homeless you know how tough it can be.  So I think it's a great idea."

Randall Guy is a seasonal resident in Fort Myers, and says he's looking to buy a home so he can live in the city year round. He is not sure that trailers will look good in people's yards. He also voiced concerns about how long people could live in the trailers.

"Could become a legal nightmare for the city." Guy said. "When do you say, okay now the emergency is over?"

The council will review the use of trailers every three months, and city official Steve Belden said he hopes the temporary housing would not be needed any longer than a year and a half.

Forty-one-year veteran of television news in markets around the country, including more than 18 years as an anchor and reporter at WINK-TV in southwest Florida.