Marco Island city manager pleased with city’s code enforcement changes

— Marco Island’s top administrator says a kinder, gentler approach to code enforcement is working. Nearly a year ago, at the behest of city manager Jim Riviere, the name of the code enforcement department was changed to “code compliance” and was placed under the authority of the Marco Island Police Department.

On Tuesday, Riviere told board members that during the current fiscal year which began in October, 2010, code compliance officers have opened a total of 615 cases. However, Riviere stated, all but 10 cases have been closed.

Riviere noted that a program which allows the city to clean up blighted properties, often the result of foreclosures, is not intended as a money-maker for the city. Under the program, the city takes over improvements such as yard care, drainage, and pool clean-up, then a lien is placed on the property. The amount spent by the city is recouped when the property changes hands or is sold.

“Make no mistake, code compliance is a police action,” Rivere told board members, adding that not all code enforcement members supported his approach, with some believing the city was being too “soft” on violators.

“My view, and I hope it’s not myopic, is that it looks a lot better under this scheme that it did before.”

Newly-elected board chairman Lou Prigge said he sees the work of compliance officers first hand through his lawn mowing business.

“I know they’re reaching out and citing people,” he said, noting that he has even received a code violation letter. “I think what you’re doing is right.”

Sale of half finished home pending

An unfinished house that has been an eyesore for nearly three years is about to get a new lease. Code violation officials first cited Diana Borgo and her husband, Peter, for their unfinished home on San Marco Road in August, 2008. The couple claimed they had been victims of an unscrupulous builder and a business that went bankrupt. After several permit extensions to finish the build-out and the death of Peter Borgo, city officials finally ordered the demolition of the property by May 30, or Diana Borgo would face $100 a day fine for non-compliance.

At Tuesday’s meeting, a representative for the widow said she is close to selling the property to a New Jersey man who plans to finish construction of the home. A deposit amount is already in escrow, and the deal is expected to close in mid July.

Robert Garraty, a real estate agent who represents the potential buyer requested that board members grant a 180 day extension for the renewal of permits and the start of construction.

“I think they (the Borgos) fell into a bad situation,” said board member Carol Glassman. “I think we should give a lot of thought to what she’s been through.”

After a brief discussion, and in light of the amount of time the property has already remained unfinished, board members unanimously agreed on a 90 day permit extension. The finished home could be completed sometime this fall.

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Comments » 10

an0nymou5 writes:

Some Marco Island Codes limit our freedom, and spoil my opinion of the system. I believe a few need to be changed.
People on Marco aren't permitted to sleep in their own RV on their own property, nor keep your trailer or shed on your land. Not that it effects me personally, but it is a rule that limits our freedom and interferes with our personal property and rights, probably according to the authority of those completely unaffected by "violations" of those rules.
Our rights should not be compromised for the elite. We're also not allowed to make plywood painted signs for garage sales. Our signs are our art. The expression of creativity on such signs may encourage others to visit a garage sale, helping the seller and the environment (secondhand purchases divert people from big name businesses.) Our canvases should not be limited.
We work hard for our money and the property we've earned. If we want to sleep in our own RV on our own property, what's it to you? If we want to paint flowers on our wooden garage sale signs, support us, don't discourage us. Being nice is a good approach, but striving for a true state of freedom would be the cherry on top.

Seek out limitations on freedom in your community and express your beliefs about them in as many ways as possible. You might think it's something small but if you don't say it, who will?

liberator100 writes:

an0nymou5: You are so right my man! What is all this oppression all about anyway? I as a homeowner and taxpayer should be able to pile up my old tires in my back yard along with old engines, trailers and boats if I want to! Why are the residents made to pay for those ugly green and yellow containers to "re-cycle" plastic and glass containers? Who benefits from this anyway? Glass bottles and plastic containers make great flower pots in the yard! Don't let me get started. Why should anyone care how many people I invite for a Sunday afternoon barbecue in my garage? Or play music past 10PM on a weekend night? I am sick and tired of all these rules. I will paint my house any old color I want, water my lawn 24-7 and let my grass grow five feet high. And I will park my RV in front of my house, sleep in it and rent my house for some extra income during these hard times.

Pepsi writes:

I can not believe the comments from liberator100 or anonymou5. They must have Marco confused with someplace else. Marco has always been a relatively "exclusive" place to live. By allowing what they suggest we could all see futher depreciation of our properties. Frankly if they have to live in their motorhome and, rent their house they are most certainly in over their heads and, should exit stage right! Please don't try to bring the rest of us down with you. Perhaps a course in financial management is in order. Lesson one is learning how to say NO. The City Manager is apparently not familiar with the neighborhoods on the island. They have gone downhill tremendously. Situations that would have been addressed at once are now being allowed to slide. I think liberator100 suggests that it is "oppression" to keep in place the rules and regulations that makes Marco a destination to be coveted. "Oppression" is Liberal far left speak for; "I think I am entitled to do anything I want and, by the way you hardworking people who made it, I believe you owe me some of your money too!" It's the Liberal "spread the weath" mentality. No thanks!! Hey there are plenty of countries that could hook those two up nicely. We "elite" as you call us want to keep the remaining values of our homes as high as possible. We have planned for days like these and, will make it through. We take pride in our homes and choose not to make them resemble a third world country nor do we want to make Marco look like a 60's hippie commune with pretty floral plywood "art". I will not apologise for Marco being considered a place for well to do persons to live. It is not a crime (the last time I checked) for people to work hard, make, invest, and, accumulate wealth. That does not make one evil or greedy. In my opinion a renewed effort should be made to bring into full force the compliance to the codes we have on the books on Marco. It is very sad to see the seedy condition we have been allowed to slip into.

ba10da69 writes:

Pepsi...don't get soil your depends....I think liberator 100 is just kidding....

an0nymou5 writes:

Seedy condition? Take a look at the world on a global scale. War, poverty and oppression exist everywhere. The top 1% could carry the bottom 99% but I originally never said anything related to finances. I'm talking about freedom.
I do not even own an RV. This is a minuscule issue but if one owned land in a free country, and owned an RV which he kept on that land, and wanted to spend the night in it for whatever reason, why should he not be permitted? Why should anyone but himself have a say in that?

ajm3s writes:

in response to liberator100:

an0nymou5: You are so right my man! What is all this oppression all about anyway? I as a homeowner and taxpayer should be able to pile up my old tires in my back yard along with old engines, trailers and boats if I want to! Why are the residents made to pay for those ugly green and yellow containers to "re-cycle" plastic and glass containers? Who benefits from this anyway? Glass bottles and plastic containers make great flower pots in the yard! Don't let me get started. Why should anyone care how many people I invite for a Sunday afternoon barbecue in my garage? Or play music past 10PM on a weekend night? I am sick and tired of all these rules. I will paint my house any old color I want, water my lawn 24-7 and let my grass grow five feet high. And I will park my RV in front of my house, sleep in it and rent my house for some extra income during these hard times.

Nice tongue-in-cheek! However, on our island of Ordinances and Codes, the Code Ordinance Board was on a path of using $250/day fines as an "incentive" for maintaining properties. All in keeping with city rules and regs. And we saw how that worked.

Thank god for the city turnaround with regard to code compliance management, because we have seen the effects of code compliance on steroids. And it is scary, especially when you listen to neighbor go against neighbor in front of past Code Boards using the code as the stick for neighbors who perhaps do not like each other.

Imagine, having your boat in your driveway more than 8 hrs is a code violation. Imagine, if we actually enforced all the codes on a real time basis, the city would have to employ 10-20 more employees.

ba10da69 writes:

Sounds like a conflict of interest....Newly-elected board chairman Lou Prigge said he sees the work of compliance officers first hand through his lawn mowing business.

deltarome writes:

While I think Marco has an excess of "Rules", if one doesn't like to live with "Rules", move to Goodland. That is what Marco would be like if we didn't have "Rules"

liberator100 writes:

Thank you ba10da69. You got the humor; not the rest of the "intelligent" crowd...

Crackerass writes:

You people have no idea what Marco was, is or should become. Not one of you. PLEASE STOP, listen and think about what you are doing. Are you kidding me a place for the elite? IS a fishing community a place for the elite? You have stolen the real Marco and you will fight and fight and fight until it is totally destroyed.

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