Replacing more than three boards on a dock requires a permit
Marco resident and attorney William Moore respectfully disagreed with Marco Island's Code Compliance Board on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The lawyer lost.
Moore received notice that he failed to obtain the proper permit to replace decking on a boat dock at 1270 Stone Court, a property owned by Margaret Moore. He wrote back to the city denying any violation of city code.
On Tuesday, he testified before the board during a hearing for noncompliance. Moore admitted that he replaced approximately 70 percent of the dock's decking. He believed he did so as maintenance and not as a replacement or new build.
During his testimony, Moore cited several sections of the city's building code, pointing out ambiguities he felt supported his conclusion. He explained the 1985 home had a dock constructed in 1987. Over the years, several planks were replaced as necessary due to tidal damage. The original 19-foot by 34-foot dock was built by Marco Marine Construction and was built to code, Moore said.
"There were so many splinters and cracks that people were getting splinters from it," he said.
That damage, coupled with the fact the property was sometimes rented, led Moore to replace planks and resurface the dock. His work did not affect the structure or pilings, he said.
"I just saw this as maintenance."
Bob Mahar, chief building official for the City of Marco Island, told the board he visited the location to see if Moore could be right. His inspection revealed that most of the decking had been replaced, then sealed or painted with a substance.
"This deck is pristine; all brand new wood," Mahar said. "There was no weathering on any other part of the dock." Mahar said a can of paint or sealing material was sitting by the dock, and he could tell that new planking and screws had been used.
The Code Enforcement Board asked if the electrical had been checked. Mahar said he did not check it because that would need to be done by an electrical inspector. If a permit had been issued, an electrical inspection would have been standard practice, he said.
In a discussion on repair versus replacement, Mahar admitted it was not specifically spelled out in the code. Practice dictated that plank replacement of more than three boards required a permit, he said.
"In essence, docks are on top of city property," Mahar said. "There are riparian rights, but property lines end at the seawall."
Moore continued to explain that his repair was not a result of damage.
"We have a dock that wore out," he said. "Just because Marco Island has been making people get permits for small jobs that doesn't make it right."
Mahar pointed out that Moore might have another code violation if he did the work himself on a property that was rented. Regardless of the amount of time a property is rented, a contractor is required. The owner-builder exemption only applies to homes that are not used as rental properties, Mahar said.
The compliance board moved to require Moore to obtain a permit from Marco Island's building department within 30 days. After that, inspectors will review his work. Failing to get a permit will cost Moore $250 administrative fee and $100 per day until compliance.
After the ruling, Moore expressed his displeasure with the decision.
"There are too many boards, too many permits and too many egos involved."