Sewer hookup violators get their day in quasi-court

Code board in disagreement over when to start fines

Elections are over, sewer installation will in all likelihood continue, but the Marco Island Code Enforcement Board is just beginning its own share of the battle.

The council-appointed board met Wednesday afternoon to address 10 violations of the city code requiring residents to hook up to city sewer lines within 365 days of availability of the sewer line. But first, the board had to discuss among itself when and where its authority begins. Though sewer customers in the Tigertail and South Barfield districts were required to hook up by Jan. 8, notices of violation sent to violators required them to apply to hook up by Jan. 24, obtain a permit by Feb. 9 and finish with the connection by March 9.

Board Attorney John Shamres told the members of the quasi-judicial board that their responsibility was to determine whether a violation exists, give the violator a reasonable amount of time to hook up and establish the fine to be levied against the violator.

However, board members Tarik Ayasun and Jose Granda both expressed perplexity that the board could not fine all violators who were not in compliance any time after Jan. 8, and not just those property owners who remained out of compliance on the date of the meeting.

“By not tying in, they have benefitted,” Granda said. “We are rewarding them for not doing what they should have done.”

City Chief Code Compliance Officer Eric Wardle corrected Granda on that point, however.

“They are being charged the monthly sewer fee regardless of whether they are connected or not,” he said.

The base fee charged to a property, regardless of whether it is hooked up to sewer, is $20.

Throughout the special-called session, though, Granda and Ayasun both continued to battle the city staff over just when the violation officially began.

“There is a difference here, that’s what we’re grappling with,” Ayasun said. “A date was given, right? And that was Jan. 8.”

But Wardle held firm that until the date of Jan. 8 lapsed, a property owner could not technically be in violation. And without an actual violation, he explained, the city could not levy any sort of warning or fine against the owner. The city first had to issue a notice of violation and give the owner a reasonable amount of time to comply.

However, Ayasun told Wardle and Community Development Director Steve Olmsted that he wanted to see a list of the violators who received notices after Jan. 8 but did not appear before the board on Wednesday.

“Let’s bring it out in the sunshine: who are the violators, what is the settlement, what will go on, why these people are here and those people are not,” Ayasun said. “I think it’s up to the city to tell us we made the settlement with Mr. A, Mr. B and Mr. C on this date. This is an issue that almost brought the city down. I think we’re gonna make sure that whoever needs to be penalized gets equal justice under the law.”

Of the 26 violations identified by the city in early January, those 10 that appeared before the board Wednesday were the ones that still had not obtained a permit. The notice of violation required those owners to have a permit in hand by Feb. 9, so someone with a permit application but no permit would still have to appear before the board.

“There have not been any deals,” Olmsted told the board. “That is the law: they must connect by Jan. 8 and those not connected by Jan. 8 were all in violation. There were some people that decided they would comply even though it was after the fact.”

Of the nine property owners in violation, three appeared to contest the violations Wednesday night. Each had varying reasons for not hooking up on the four properties between them, from being out of town and not receiving the notices to being unable to verify the location of the sewer pipe just inside the property line. All three property owners had either bought or inherited their property after the sewers were completed in January of 2007.

In the instances of the property owners with reasons for violation, the board voted unanimously to give the owners until March 21 to hook up, with a $250 a day fine to be levied beginning March 22. Board member Bob Schuh was absent.

An administrative cost of $250 was waived in those cases where the owners could demonstrate a reason for not hooking up.

For the remaining six properties, including one foreclosed home now owned by a corporation, the board voted to impose a $250 daily fine beginning March 22, plus the $250 administrative cost if the owner is still in violation.

While Granda and Ayasun voted in the minority on the first four properties, on the basis that the fines should begin in January, they changed their votes to agree to the March 22 start date for fines on the last two properties.

The change came after Wardle said simply, “I have to agree with the attorney’s interpretation that you do not have the authority to fine retroactively.”

© 2008 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 23

EdFoster writes:

“By not tying in, they have benefitted,” Granda said. “We are rewarding them for not doing what they should have done.”

Wow! What an admission! Judge Hardt validated the city's bonds and authorized "special assessments" to pay for them on the grounds that those being assessed would benefit from the installation of sewers. According to Florida law, special assessments can be levied ONLY on those who will benefit from the project and in proportion to the benefit received. Now this guy Granda, backed by his buddy Tarik Ayasun, tells us that those who have NOT tied in are the ones who have benefitted and so should be penalized. He's blown the city's whole case for sewering the island and for issuing special assessment bonds to do so! We need geniuses like this on our enforcement board? Hysterical ... if it weren't tragic!

In the words of the immmortal Cool Hand Luke, what we have here is a failure to think and an excess of hatred disguised under the cloak of zeal. Marco leadership at its worst.

Ed Foster

OldMarcoMan writes:

Shut up Ed.
Your as Irrelevant as a draft dodger giving military advise.
Nothing makes me sicker than a guy who just b*tches.

Have you ever done anything FOR this City?
Ever volunteered?
Been on a City Committee?
Helped at the School?
Cleaned Tiger Tail On Cleanup day?
Offered your time for any local Philanthropy?

Ed Foster ? Looks like Ed Part of the Problem not part of the Solution.

lowus writes:

problem oldman, ED ,like him or not is 100% right, and i'm sure judge Hardt has already contacted Tucker to tell these board members to stifle it.

dc5799 writes:

Oldmarco Man,
Ed just tells it like it is and if you were not so s----- and hateful you would grasp what he says.
He might not be here but I hope his e-mails never stop. I have this warm feeling just knowing Ed and the other good guys are always looking out for my best interest.

strike3 writes:

Can someone tell me how much the city has actually issued in muni bonds to pay for this?

Hopefully not much. Rates to cities on these bonds are sky rocketing. Though I have serious doubt there is anyone smart enough running the city to know this.

veridicus writes:

OldMarcoMan, sounds to me like your talking about every one of these cave dwellers with Foster at the head of the list.

Have you ever done anything fOR this City?
Ever volunteered?
Been on a City Committee?
Helped at the School?
Cleaned Tiger Tail On Cleanup day?
Offered your time for any local Philanthropy?

I noticed Foster's buddy Neylon was not on the list, he hooked up. I give him credit for seeing the folly of his ways and abiding by the law. It will be interesting to see what Foster the mouth does. What say you Edward? You going to take on the Code Enforcement Board or are you just all mouth.

patton1 writes:

veridicus and OldMarcoMan:

I have Ed Foster's answers to your questions:

Have you ever done anything fOR this City? NO
Ever volunteered? NO
Been on a City Committee? NO
Helped at the School? NO
Cleaned Tiger Tail On Cleanup day? OH! NO!
Offered your time for any local Philanthropy? NO

Where is the asbestos Ed?

EdFoster writes:

Beowulf, Lowus, dc5799 et. al.

They just prefer to shoot the messenger rather than consider the message. That's the mark of a small mind and a hateful soul. Rather than use what intelligence they have to help heal the city, they pick up chewing gum wrappers off the street and call it "volunteering." In my opinion, no one with the vindictive personality of Mr. Ayasun (and I have dozens of e-mails to prove just how personally vindictive a man he is) should serve on a city code-enforcement board. He makes a mockery of any semblance of "justice" from the board and apparently had to be told by the city attorney that he couldn't get his way.

It's reminiscent of the time that Mike Minozzi, from the council dais no less, literally screamed for "treble damages" against CARES and had to be told by the city attorney that there is no provision for that in the law. These people have been and are the real "haters" on the island and the root cause of much dissention. I pray that the new council will treat Marco residents with the same respect that they wish for themselves. Tranquility will not be restored until the council applies the Golden Rule to everyone, not just to their friends.

Ed Foster

lauralbi1 writes:

Ed and His Supporters: Let's not get into squabbles or emotions. The dye is cast, whether you like it or not. We can't have the "nuts" running the asylum (pretty appropriate), so there is a need for the Code Enforcement Board to do their thing. Your emotions and positions on Island issues are passe at this point, and will be for the next 8 years. So to everyone that gets upset with Mr. Foster's postings, he doesn't even live here anymore and hopefully soon will sell his home and not be a taxpayer. Neylon did hook up the other day. I'm certain he has future political aspirations and wants to keep a clean record. He can hope all he wants, but as much of a liar that he has been (yes Sam the documentation exists so don't send me any letters), he can hang that thought up. Anyway, Ed, you will be happy to know that OUR Island is in good hands and is better off financially and spritually without CARES and you.
Ed Issler

SmokeyJoe writes:

The new Council should be aware that the actions of all boards and employees reflect on them. The tone being set by Tarik Ayasun and Jose Granda on the board may have the board be referred to in the future as the BOARD OF PERSECUTION. Mr Ayasun says "Whoever needs to be penalized [should] get equal treatment under the law" Penalizing should not be the purpose of the board.Getting residents to tie in to the sewer should be the goal.Even after the board Attorney,John Shamres told them they could not issue fines retroactivley,Ayasun and Granda still wanted to do it. They also wanted to make all names of those not in complyance brought out in the public without hearing the reason for non-Compliance such as they did not own the property until recently and maybe did not receive notice for that reason. These two board members need to realize they are there to serve all City residents not to persecute them.

EdFoster writes:

Those two board members should be removed from the board. Vindictive people should not be permitted to serve on a board of code compliance any more than they would be permitted to serve on a jury. I call upon those councilors who nominated Mr. Granda and Mr. Ayasun to terminate their support and nominate citizens who exhibit more rational behavior.

Ed Foster

OldMarcoMan writes:

The new Council should be aware the Ed Foster is not a resident and in not being they should let him ramble on, shake their heads yes or no as you would a little child telling stories of Dragons, Monsters, or Asbestos then get back to work for the people who hired them.

SRELCARAJO writes:

Ed Foster you left Dodge City because you couldn't take the heat. We are glad you are gone forever. These people had no intention of connecting to the sewer. They had hoped for a different election result and they were going to stick everybody else on Marco with the penalty for them not connecting to the sewers. They made their choice and should accept the penalty for violating the law and not connecting by January 8, why don't you ask Colombo to write a letter asking City Council to pay for their hook up. Ed please remember you are a nobody, your base is gone, even your friend Enman has some common sense to know that is over. I am enjoying imagining your face reading this and your blood pressure going up, you looser.

lauralbi1 writes:

To Those That Are Complaining: What is it about the word "Enforcement" do you not understand. It is NOT persecution and jnot inappropriate to administer fines for delinquency in hooking up. These penalties will not only be put to good use, but will form a precedent for future connections and their timely completion. If there were no penalty for speeding, our World would be a Daytona 500 all the time.
Ed Issler

dc5799 writes:

srelcarajo,
It would be in your best interest to learn how to spell since you write so many comment's, you LOSER.

maharg writes:

Three friends go to a movie every Saturday night. One Saturday, two of them want to see movie A. The third friend says, "I don't like those kinds of movies. Let's see something else." The first two friends insist; "No, we are all going to see movie A. Majority rules and that is that!" The three go to see movie A. It is the last they see together as they are no longer friends.
This is the nature of majority rule, order but no friendship. Marco will never be friendly again. Thirty-five hundred "friends" have been forced to do something they really didn't want to do. Sad!

Lolala writes:

maharg, your analogy is very appropriate and illustrates clearly why succesful democracies give equal consideration to minorities. I would go one step further and predict that the "informed" majority of 5,000 will diminish as their taxes, franchise fees, utility fees and service fees increase. Several of these fees are already approved to be increased during the next 12 months. I also pridict that there is now a strong possiblity that control of our public safety agencies will be turned over to some other entity within the next 8 years. We will witness another big fight over the replacement of the Jolley Bridge and a toll will be imposed as Councilman Minozzi has promised us. Paradise lost.

SmokeyJoe writes:

Mr. Ed Issler.......I hope you do not get appointed to any City board ! You say " penalties [ will be ] put to good use" Would you establish penalties and fines just to increase revenue so you can spend more ? While it is not inappropriate to "administer fines", even the board attorney said not to do so retroactively, but neither you nor the two board members seem to accept the board attorney,s ruling on the law. Also , to fine residents that waited to see how the election turned out to see if they would have a choice about tieing into the public sewer seems unfair. One group of council candidates said they would permit a choice about tieing in and the other group did not respond to this public promise. The City professionals seem to have it correct. Give those not tied in to sewer a warning and a deadline with penalties for non-compliance within so much time. Do no assume that all those that did not tie in did not vote for the slate you supported and should therefore be fined retroactively.

SRELCARAJO writes:

Lolala we will all be happy when we see a for sale sign on your home at Osprey Ct. Smokey Joe your name is very appropiate, you probably had two much weed on your younger years and it has taken a toll on your brain. Poor maharg, he lives in Paradise, but he feels that Paradise has been lost, he had the same problem with his 3 friends that wouldn't let him enjoy the movie he wanted to see. Ed Issler you are a great American, you say it like it really is.

Hawke1 writes:

SRELCARAJO, after reading your comment, I finally understood that you had mistakenly referred to the wrong writers. I wonder, do you think your "weed' comment more accurately reflects your comprehensive thought processes? Better get some help before you do something serious to harm yourself.

Rachael writes:

maharg, lolala:

Unfortunately, it has turned to this. Marco Island has become a joke to our neighboring communities. I had a conversation with a woman from Bonita yesterday and she went on and on about our "sewer saga" on Marco Island.

This is ridiculous. When I first moved here, this island was community oriented, fun, gorgeous place to live. Now... not so much.

I hate to sound cliché -- but can't we all just get along?

lauralbi1 writes:

SmokeyJoe: Great feedback and I agree wholeheartedly with the points you brought up. In this case, the violators were notified by letter in advancde of this hearing. In fact, Mr. Neylon went ahead and pulled his permit and hooked up before this hearing. I am not in favor of taking advantage of any of my fellow citizens. There is a process to everything. We just need to follow that process and make certain that we enforce the laws and rules to the maximum.
Great dialogue !!!
Ed Issler

lauralbi1 writes:

Lolala: You already have reduced the 6,000 plus to 5,000 when those 6,000 represented over 70% (a defined landlslide) of the voters participating in the last election. You fail to acknowledge, as you always do, that this result was a mandate and a choice for the direction of Marco Island. The PEOPLE have spoken and it's time you realized this. We will have sewers and the 3,000 voters will be reduced down to below 2,000 (the last recall petition got 1,550 signatures). The eelcted Councilors will comprise a majority on the Council, most likely for the next 8 years. And according to the majority, that is a good thing. This is paradise and if you are miserable, then you should consider moving. It is just athe greatest thing in the World to be able to live on Marco Island.
Ed Issler

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features