The issue regarding the violations which resulted in the Madeira Condominium Complex at 350 South Collier Boulevard being cited for the destruction of the dunes bordering the beach at the south end of Marco Island continued before the city’s Code Enforcement Magistrate last week.
During the summer months, contractors for the condominium association destroyed those dunes and the vegetation on the gulf side of their complex, resulting in a major breach of environmental regulations and did so lacking any permits or permission by the city or the state.
The condo association had contracted with R&R Restoration to do roof construction as a result of damages caused by Hurricane Irma. At the August 2019 Magistrate Hearing, Dennis Karlores, Operations Manager for R&R Restoration, appeared before Special Magistrate Myrnabelle Roche and took full responsibility for the damages. However, he and his company knew nothing about the damages being done by the sub-contractor hired by his company to place a large crane to facilitate those repairs on the roof.
The discovery of the non-permitted work and destruction of the dune system and removal of the vegetations has set in motion months of legal haggling and court appearances by representatives of all parties involved when it was discovered by Code Enforcement in July of 2019.
Permits for the restoration of the protective dune system as well as the required vegetation in the area has been presented to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for their approval.
R&R had applied for the building permit from the city late last year to make the necessary roof repairs, but that has yet to be issued. However, no permits for any of the other work such as staging of heavy equipment, vehicles on the beach permit and no Vegetation Trimming and Removal Permits had ever been applied in addition to the removal of the dunes.
The dune areas, which can be found up and down the beach, are placed there to protect from catastrophic beach erosion due to storm damage. The vegetation found on and about those dune areas helps to anchor that protective barrier from erosion and are protected by Florida law.
Caleb Pringle, attorney for the Madeira, came forward during the January 2020 Code Enforcement Magistrate Meeting to update the magistrate on the progress that had been made on the issues pertaining to the destruction of the dunes and their anticipated completion date for the roofing work
To date, the city has issued fines amounting to $1050 in total and fines by the city for the illegal removal of the dune have been delayed until further action by Florida DEP.
Pringle explained they had completed applying for the permits and were awaiting approval from DEP and the City of Marco Island. They are still anticipating an April 2020 date for completion of the roof project. Pringle was also seeking a stay of any of the additional fines as they were working in good faith. The magistrate was reluctant to do that in case a failure to follow through by the contractor and the condo association should result in further delays. They will be back before the magistrate in two months.
A secondary hearing was held regarding violations by the Madeira and another contractor doing work on their property. This time, the contractor was trimming seagrapes on the beach on Madeira property near the public beach access with no permits for the trimming or permission for the vehicle being on the beach.
Greenscapes was not aware permits were required to have their vehicle on the beach or permits required to trim the vegetation. Greenscapes has since applied for the necessary permits for beach access by vehicles and the Madeira has applied for the permits for the seagrapes.
Both Madeira and Greenscapes agreed to a $500 fine per violation and the magistrate ordered those fines to be paid as well as court costs.