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Date of Issue: December 26, 2007

Code board continues hearing

The Holmes Beach Code Enforcement Board continued a hearing over an alleged violation at a triplex in the 6200 block of Marina Way.

Board members agreed Dec. 20 that they wanted to provide an opportunity for city staff to return to the property or for the property owner to provide additional information.

The decision came after a 90-minute hearing on allegations that work in an apartment at the site took place without a permit.

The municipal code, in conjunction with Florida law, requires that work in rental units be done with permits and by a state licensed contractor.

The case originated in September, when Holmes Beach code enforcement officer Nancy Hall received notice of a complaint that non-permitted work took place in three apartments and a shed at the triplex owned by David J. Sandoro of Longboat Key.

Hall and city building officer Bob Shaffer went out to inspect the property with Sandoro.

Hall said there were no violations recorded in two apartments, but there was a problem with a window in the third unit and concern about electrical and plumbing service in the shed.

Shaffer echoed Hall’s statements.

Both city employees said Sandoro told them that he had recently hired a handyman to replace the window, including the glass and the frame. That work, according to Hall, should have been done by a contractor and with a permit. Shaffer added that the window lacked proper anchors.

The concern with the electrical and plumbing service in the shed was that city officials believed a washer and dryer hookup had been recently added, also without a permit.

Hall said that during her initial visit, she and Shaffer told Sandoro they wanted to make a second inspection.

But that second inspection never occurred.

Instead, Sandoro got in touch with his attorney, John Paul Fleck, and they decided to go before the code enforcement board rather than allow city staff to proceed with inspection of the property.

Sandoro said he felt the complaint was the result of a vindictive neighbor and that he also felt railroaded by the city.

Several times during the Dec. 20 hearing, code enforcement board members encouraged Sandoro and Fleck to steer clear of personality and peoples’ motives.

“The issue is the facts before us,” said board chairman Don Schroder.

And it was in determining the facts that the code enforcement board had trouble.

Sandoro claimed that the washer and dryer hookups in the shed were not new, though the second-hand appliances themselves had been installed not too long ago.

He also said that the window frame that the city was concerned with was not new but that glass in the frame had been replaced in April or May of 2006.

Hall and Shaffer said that during their inspection in September, Sandoro told them the entire window had recently been replaced.

Code enforcement board member Barbara Hines said she was disheartened that Sandoro had declined to allow city officials a follow-up inspection.

“This property owner chose not to allow the second inspection, which puts us in an unenviable position,” she said. “We can only deal with the facts as they are presented to us.

“What I would really like to see happen is for this property owner ... to allow another inspection so that these issues could be cleared up.”

Board member Ted Geeraerts suggested that when Sandoro returns before the board in January, he should bring the receipt for the window work, which would show whether new glass or a new window was installed.

The code enforcement board’s next meeting will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.