Code enforcement denies request for rehearing
The Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board unanimously voted to deny property
owners William and Dana Holmes' request to rehear their case.
At its November meeting, the board
ruled that the Holmeses property at 107 47th St. violates the floodplain
management ordinance due to the existence of a third unit located on
the ground floor of the duplex.
The Holmeses were out of town and
unable to attend the hearing, but the board proceeded with the case in
November, resulting in the owners being required to remove any partitions,
raise electrical outlets to four feet, remove plumbing fixtures and seal
In a letter from William Holmes,
a continuance was requested due to his ill health and inability at that
time to travel to Florida from New Jersey.
Holmes suffered a stroke and says
he thought the matter was resolved with a letter indicating his health
problems from his doctor to the city.
Upon returning to Florida, Holmes
retained the services of attorney Chuck Webb and filed a motion for rehearing
so that he and his wife could present evidence supporting their position
that the ground-floor unit was permitted.
Webb argued before the board that
his client deserves his "day in court" and that since the
home was built more than 20 years ago, the only remaining witnesses with
first-hand knowledge are his clients.
Webb said his client's ill
health should have been sufficient grounds to grant the requested continuance
and that it was "key for them to be here" for the hearing.
Although board members noted their
sympathy for Holmes' ill health, members believe that he had sufficient
time to obtain a representative to appear at the November hearing on
Attorney Patricia Petruff, representing
the city, objected to the Holmeses request, citing that there has been
no indication of any new evidence available that wasn't already
presented at the initial hearing.
Webb countered that given the length
of time passed since the home was built many records have since gone
missing or been destroyed, placing a hardship on Holmes.
Webb said he had evidence that
a bank lien was filed in 1982 for an addition to the home and suggested
that a bank would not authorize a loan without the appropriate building
permits in place.
Petruff argued that the documents
Webb procured as new evidence would not indicate what specific work was
to be done. It could have been to enclose a porch, she said. And since
the lien was only filed with the circuit court, not the city, she argued
that it could have been done to protect the contractor. "Maybe
nothing is missing, maybe there was no permit applied for," she
After little debate, the board
consensus was that no new factual or compelling evidence was uncovered
that may have had an impact on the November decision, and denied Holmes' request.
Holmes has 30 days to bring his
property into compliance. A notice of appeal has already been filed with
the Manatee County Circuit Court.
In other news, Code Enforcement
Officer Walter Wunderlich reported that all cases involving Island businesses
in violation of the city's Dumpster regulations are in compliance.
The disrepair at the Stefantos
property at 524 74th St. has also been brought into compliance, he said.
Finally, Wunderlich notified the
board that the city filed a lien against William and Diane Sorg's
two-story residence at 3707 Gulf Drive, which was found in violation
of the city's building codes for failing to maintain the balcony
railing in July 2004.
According to Wunderlich, the Sorgs
have brought the property into compliance. However,
the repairs to the balcony were done without obtaining a permit from
Wunderlich said he had notified Sorg that $900 in fines have
accumulated already and he will continue to be fined
$30 a day until he applies for a permit.