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Date of Issue: October 21, 2009

Tall grass breeds lien, bank problem

Sue King, representative of U.S. National Bank, stood in front of Holmes Beach city commissioners Oct. 14 requesting a release of a lien on a Holmes Beach property.

The property at 506 74th St. had a lien placed by the city of $22,750.

“You are asking us to eat it,” commissioner David Zaccagnino told King.

“This is not a lien that we are willing to forgive,” added commissioner John Monetti.

King said the bank took a loss of about $500,000 on its loan from the time the bank acquired the property until it was contracted for a sale of $417,000.

The property is just one of many previously owned by Robert Byrne, whose real estate business and developments are bankrupt and defunct.

“This gentleman,” King said of Byrne, “didn’t take care of his properties.”

A Holmes Beach code enforcement order from October 2007 stated that the property was a nuisance because of the “height of turf or grass, weed and underbrush.” The board began imposing fines of $250 a day from the date of the violation.

“Everybody is given 10 days to Sunday to remedy this problem,” commission chair Sandy Haas-Martens said during last week’s meeting.

In the end, the commission denied a release of the lien.

Code enforcement officer Nancy Hall said overgrown weeds posed a threat to public safety, leading to breeding grounds for mosquitoes, attracting vermin, and negatively impact the neighborhood aesthetics. In addition, out-of-control weeds are a fire hazard.

In other business, the commission:

City planning consultant Bill Brisson reported on the city’s draft flood-plain management plan. “We’re happy with the work,” Brisson said. A resolution will take place at the next city commission meeting Oct. 27, followed by an ordinance at a later date.

Mayor Rich Bohnenberger praised the police department’s arrest of two people for alleged burglaries. Holmes Beach residents Mark Krauss, 19, and an unnamed juvenile, 17, were recently arrested for a rash of burglaries ranging from burglary to a vehicle to petty theft, or both.

Krauss faces five counts of burglary, and the juvenile faces two counts. The burglaries took place in the 3800 block of East Bay Drive and from 65th Street to 74th Street. One of the petty thefts was for $1 in change taken from a vehicle.