Bringing down the house: Milk asks Marco Island Code Enforcement Board for authority to raze derelict home

— “NOTICE: This property has been determined to be vacant/abandoned.”

Even the official warning sign posted on the home’s front door is dilapidated, torn and water stained, with the blue tape peeling off.

The house at 923 North Barfield Drive, said Marco’s Community Services Director Bryan Milk, under whose jurisdiction code compliance falls, has a host of structural and safety issues, where the only reasonable solution is to level it.

“We’re looking to pursue demolition of this house,” Milk told the city’s Code Enforcement Board at its meeting Tuesday afternoon in the City Council chambers.

From the foundation to the roof, the seawall of the waterfront property, collapsing ceilings, and a swimming pool covered over with a grid of planks and steel mesh, the home is too far gone to save. The value of the property, surrounded by million-dollar homes, is only $17,000 according to Collier County, Milk told the board.

Before demolition through the city can proceed, he said, “you have to make a finding” to that effect, which will be transmitted to the property’s owner.

“We’re on record with Mrs. Flores that we intend to demo the house. She’s elderly, and there’s a language barrier,” he said of the absentee owner. “She may be able to demo it herself.” There is a history with the property, he said, of previous violations and fines levied.

In response to a question from board member and former chairman Lou Prigge, Milk said yes, the home does represent a safety hazard.

This is the normal fare for the Island’s Code Enforcement Board, dealing with the aftermath of shattered dreams and schemes gone wrong, with the mess left behind by those who cannot or will not comply with the city’s rules. The city’s costs, including demolition and cleanup, along with fines levied, will become a lien against the real estate, so in time the taxpayers will get their money back.

Vice Chairman Phil Kostelnik presided at Tuesday’s meeting, in the absence of Chairman Dick Adams, and listened to a staff report requested by Adams from Code Compliance Supervisor Liz Carr.

Throughout July, said Carr, the department fielded 329 phone calls, 28 walk-in complaints, and 421 emails, although, she said, not all the emails represented complaints. Code Compliance closed 227 cases, and opened 285 more.

Of the cases opened, fully 140 involve weeds and unmown lots, a natural result of the long, hot — and wet — summer.

In a related issue, Carr said that those who do clear their property, generating yard waste, are obstructing city rights of way, putting the trash out on the swale before the appropriate time for scheduled pickup.

“How soon is too soon?” asked board member Rony Joel. Yard waste, said Carr, cannot be placed out until 6 p.m. Wednesday for Thursday pickup.

“It’s an education issue, for property owners to communicate to their landscapers,” she said. “They can’t put that stuff out — they need to take it with them when they leave.”

In addition, the CEB dealt with three cases of “failure to connect,” homeowners who did not make and pay for the required tap into the city’s sewer system. These have been a staple of CEB meetings, but Carr indicated the steady drip of sewage cases is winding down, as the system goes online islandwide and noncomplying properties are dealt with.

The property at 1909 Sheffield Drive, which was finally foreclosed on by the lender, had necessary repairs made, Carr reported, but the financial institution, Renaissance Home Equity, neglected to obtain a permit before fixing an unsafe stairway. In all these cases, the standard for fines of $250 per day after a 30-day waiting period, plus a $250 administrative fee, plus any hard costs incurred by the city, were imposed.

Board member Debra Shanahan reported taking Carr up on her suggestion of a “ride along.” Shanahan spent a morning touring with Code Compliance Officer Patrick Hayman, and said she was impressed by his thoroughness, encyclopedic knowledge of city codes, and soft-spoken approach to the position.

The CEB will meet again on Sept. 10.

“Pat’s very good talking with people in violation,” said Shanahan, plans his route to save fuel, and dealt as efficiently as possible with the unwieldy software used by the department, which necessitates multiple entry of the same data.

The CEB will meet again on Sept. 10.

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Comments » 11

happy6 writes:

hey milk...pretend you,re in Detroit...mow it down with no permission...

ed34145 writes:

Hey Eagle...you are missing the real story from the Code Meeting.....why were two complaints dropped?

naples_rocket writes:

in response to ed34145:

Hey Eagle...you are missing the real story from the Code Meeting.....why were two complaints dropped?

??? tell us more

enoughalready writes:

How about the house on gulfport? They now have a new foundation, but the rest of the burned house is a disgrace.

laslic writes:

Checked the agenda last week and a certain DT marine contractor was on the list for illegal dumping and public safety, he was not prosecuted, wonder why??? Watched the hearing and the code supervisor when asked about them stated he was comp LIED!! Something fishy about this one. Eagle, where is your investigative reporter? Please dig into this one.

ajm3s writes:

"In a related issue, Carr said that those who do clear their property, generating yard waste, are obstructing city rights of way, putting the trash out on the swale before the appropriate time for scheduled pickup."

So when is the damaged flagpole lying in a swale in Plummer Park going to be picked as city waste and "obstructing city rights of way"?

Time for fairness. Is it time to issue a violation to the city? Question: Will it be submitted to Mr. Milk or Mr. Pinter?

JohninMarco writes:

in response to ajm3s:

"In a related issue, Carr said that those who do clear their property, generating yard waste, are obstructing city rights of way, putting the trash out on the swale before the appropriate time for scheduled pickup."

So when is the damaged flagpole lying in a swale in Plummer Park going to be picked as city waste and "obstructing city rights of way"?

Time for fairness. Is it time to issue a violation to the city? Question: Will it be submitted to Mr. Milk or Mr. Pinter?

What Carr really said is do what we say, not as WE do.

Aviaconsul writes:

Have we considered the big cost of running our city that has put a burden on many families. We should have a committee to ivestigate the tendering out of services by city managers. The code enforcement department is out of control. Why have'nt we reduced this department to match the volume of construction?

OldMarcoMan writes:

You cant 'Law the Law'

softy writes:

hey johninmarco, are you still a wanna be cop at key marco?

softy writes:

aviaconsul, it is apparent you do not know what you are talking about, code has nothing to do with construction, they enforce city codes. So why do you think they are out of control?

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