Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Code Enforcement Handles Problems, Seeks Magistrate

By Carol Glassman

At the City’s Code Enforcement meeting on Oct. 14, the board heard an addition to the agenda, involving a sewer connection from a previous meeting to be installed at 641 Inlet Drive, a property owned by Joanne and Neal Beightol. The board voted unanimously to extend Beightols’ compliance deadline as their contractor had experienced difficulties with the installation.

The board also received a letter from Duane Thomas Marine Construction requesting a postponement for a case involving the removal of vessels at 620 Rockport Court, as Thomas’ attorney was unable to be present. The board voted unanimously to continue the case at the November meeting, and cautioned that although the barges had been removed, if it happens again Thomas would be treated as a “repeat offender.”

A representative of New Petroleum Holdings appeared before the board to affirm that their property at 861 Bald Eagle Drive, cited for lacking a minimum landscape buffer, would take care of the situation quickly. The requirements are for a 3-foot vegetative hedge with a tree every 10 feet, according to Nancy Richie, the city’s environmental specialist. The company employee who appeared in the absence of the owner said he would consult with the city’s Planning and Community Development Department in order to correct the violation properly or face fines of $250 per day.

A foreclosed property at 503 S. Barfield Drive was cited for not being connected to the sewer and lack of maintenance by the deed holder, FV-1 Inc. Listed to sell “as is,” the property, according to Officer Liz Carr, has a structural defect that prevents the sliding doors from opening without causing further damage to unsupported ceilings; violations with landscape issues and vegetation growing over the sidewalk and driveway; and an unprotected and neglected pool. Carr said she had reminded the company about all violations, and although the pool had recently been covered and was no longer a safety issue, all other problems were still outstanding.

The board voted unanimously to allow 30 days for the property to be brought into compliance and to be connected to the sewer or have a city contractor do it at the owner’s expense. Fines of $250 per day would commence from the signing of the board’s order until compliance.

A property at 370 Worthington Street, which had been previously cited under owner D.J. Sweeney, Jr., was again brought to the board under foreclosed ownership by Bank of New York Mellon. The property is still not connected to the sewer and contains derelict vehicles. According to Officer Carr, the new owner, the Bank of New York Mellon, is responsible for all violations and has not as yet responded to the city.

Councilman Larry Sacher who attended the meeting asked why the city had not put a lien on the property before foreclosure proceedings and attempted to collect revenue owed. He was informed that the outstanding mortgage and the fines exceeded the value of the property itself.

The board voted unanimously to allow 14 days for removal of the derelict vehicles and 30 days to bring the property into complete compliance or face fines of $250 per day. If the city pays a contractor to connect to the sewer, it may then charge the owner and put a lien against the property in order to collect any outstanding costs by selling it.

Following recent discussions, the City Council is now actively seeking a Special Magistrate to conduct code enforcement hearings. An applicant must be a graduate of a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and a member in good standing, preferably with five years of experience or an arbitrator qualified by a recognized arbitration association. The applicant must have knowledge of the city’s ordinances and rules. The position, requiring an estimated 10 hours per month, will pay up to $175 per hour.

A cover letter and resume should be submitted by Nov. 14 to City Clerk Laura Litzan, City of Marco Island, 50 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island Fl 34145 or via e-mail to laura@cityofmarcoisland.com.

Please note that with the Nov. 11 Veteran’s Day commemoration, the next meeting of the Code Enforcement Board will be held on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 3 PM at City Hall.




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