MARCO ISLAND — City Councilor Larry Sacher asked Marco Island’s Code Compliance Board to penalize the owners of 387 Edgewater Court to the fullest extent. The board considered a complaint Tuesday on the property’s non-compliant driveway/parking area.
Sacher spoke on the issue because he learned a neighbor was upset with renters at the property. He felt the board had an opportunity to send a message to landlords responsible for the actions of their tenants.
Bryan Milk, community affairs director, explained the problem. A gravel parking area was constructed beside a concrete driveway without a permit and using non-conforming materials. The gravel extended into the city’s right-of-way and into the lot’s setback. It also was placed over a culvert. The surface was not constructed using a compacted base or a dustless surface.
In addition, there were issues around the manner in which tenants were parking cars in the yard. The Edgewater Court property is owned by Robert and Theresa Szczepanski.
“The owners have had every opportunity (to correct the problem),” Sacher said. “The renter is in complete disregard of the neighborhood and is affecting the property values of neighbors.
“We’re going to see more and more of these, and we should penalize to the fullest extent,” he continued. “It’s time to start going after these people. We pay a heavy price to live on Marco Island, and we don’t understand why these abuses are happening.”
The board gave the Szczepanskis 15 days to remove the gravel and replace it with sod. On day 16, fines of $100 per day will start accruing if the problem is not corrected. The penalty included a $150 administration fee and required the owner to educate renters on parking in the yard.
The board was more lenient in two other cases.
Willard Giansanti, a local builder, told the board he was willing to purchase and renovate a property at 815 Rose Court. The property has been in foreclosure for four years and has received multiple code violations since 2010, marking it as a blight on the neighborhood.
Giansanti said repairs would cost an estimated $150,000 to the interior and exterior to bring the property up to code and make it livable. He was willing to proceed, but asked the board to stop accumulating fines and give some relief on fines that accrued while the property was in foreclosure.
The case was unusual, board member Rony Joel said, because Giansanti was asking for mitigation before compliance and before purchasing the property.
The board, swayed by Giansanti’s promise to return the property to Marco Island standards, reduced the accrued fines of $22,800 to $0. Giansanti has 120 days to purchase the property, obtain permits to repair the cited violations and complete the outside work.
“I’m comfortable with this mitigation because there were no additional hard costs,” said Liz Carr, Marco Island’s code compliance supervisor.
In the case of 1448 Collingswood Ave., owner Anadenia Liy told the board she was in bankruptcy and would not be able to connect to the city’s sewer system as required by law. She asked for more time to connect.
The property is not in foreclosure. Connection would cost Liy around $1,800. That amount would be outside the individual debt adjustment Liy has already entered, she said.
The board extended the time requirement giving Liy an additional 180 days to raise the money and connect to the sewer system. If she does not comply, fines of $250 per day will begin on day 181. The board warned Liy the opportunity to mitigate fines after the grace period would meet with little favor because she was granted the extra time.