Tag Archives: 01-29-2014

Beachbuilders resume dredging, pumping sand

Anna Maria Island’s beach renourishment project appears stuck between cold weather systems dropping down from the north.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, dredging operations were halted Jan. 20 due to northerly winds and rough seas nearshore in the Gulf of Mexico. When seas reach 4-5 feet, contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock halts dredging and moves its equipment north to safe harbor near Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County.

Pumping resumed Jan. 26 and GLDD was able to renourish southward to 31st Street in Holmes Beach by Jan. 27 from the Dec. 20 starting point at 79th Street.

GLDD lost several days of dredging during the holidays in late December, but progressed along the beach rapidly when the weather allowed, Corps spokeswoman Sirisha Rayaprolu said.

When dredging is a daily decision, she said. “It’s day to day because of the changing weather conditions.”

GLDD has 60 days from the Dec. 20 start to reach Coquina Beach. That would put the contract end date at Feb. 18, but GLDD has some contract allowances for bad weather.

Rayaprolu said GLDD can renourish 1,000 feet of sand per day, weather permitting.

When dredging is halted, GLDD workers use the time to smooth sand already pumped on the beach and relocate equipment further south. The company is operating 24/7.

The slowdown of the project aggravated some visitors.

Dan and Annie Garbowitz of Chicago said they were leaving two days earlier than planned because the renourishment equipment was directly in front of their beachfront rental.

“But the people were very nice and gave us a refund,” Dan Garbowitz said.

Others, such as Bill and Amanda Davidson from Alberta, Canada, said they didn’t mind the equipment that much.

“The weather is still a lot better here than back home. We came 4,000 miles to enjoy the island and we’re going to do that,” Bill Davidson said.

“This is a lot better than the subzero temperatures back home,” wife Amanda added.

With a period of good weather, dredging can resume and GLDD could reach Bradenton Beach at 27th Street in a day or two, Rayaprolu said.

The current project is funded with federal, state and county money at a cost of $12 million.

This project ends at Coquina Beach, where a second project funded solely by state and county money begins, will renourish the public beach going south to Longboat Pass.

GLDD will renourish Coquina Beach at an estimated cost of $3 million.

Having both projects done at the same time saved about $3 million in mobilization costs, Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie said.

Coquina Beach renourishment will be managed by the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department, said director Charlie Hunsicker. Coastal Planning and Engineering has been hired to supervise the Coquina operation.


2 builders ordered to stop work in Holmes Beach

Two developers renovating property in Holmes Beach received stop work orders when inspections revealed construction issues, as well as a broader scope of work being performed than what was permitted by the city building department.

Construction on properties at 626 Key Royale Drive and 108 39th St. have come to a halt. As of press time, one of the owners is working with the city to resolve the issues in the stop work order, while the other property remains in limbo, according to building official Tom O’Brien.

Shawn Kaleta is the listed applicant on the permit for the duplex at 39th Street behind Skinny’s Place. He paid about $1,700 for a building permit to renovate the property in October 2013.

Florida Gulf Coast Vacation Homes LLC is listed as the property owner on the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s website.

The permit was approved based on the application, but during a December 2013 inspection, the building department found no foundation and work to the roof that encompassed 100 percent of the building.

According to O’Brien’s report, the original structural drawings show a foundation that is not there.

In an email exchange between O’Brien and Kaleta attorney Louis Najmy, O’Brien wrote, “The critical issue is that the work in place far exceeds the scope indicated on the documents they submitted for the permit.”

O’Brien said the applicant could submit new plans showing the extent of the proposed work but, until then, “Due to the gross misrepresentation of the scope of work actually intended, and due to the lack of proper engineering investigation and assessment of the existing foundation conditions, and due to the lack of documents prepared by a licensed architect, the building permit is hereby revoked.”

On Jan. 23, O’Brien said Kaleta and Najmy were expected to begin submitting the appropriate documents.

The Key Royale property is on hold while O’Brien awaits further contact from Kamila Yavalar of Yavalar Built Inc. in Bradenton. Leah Marie Enterprises LLC with a post office box in Anna Maria is listed as owner on the MCPA website.

The stop work order was issued in December 2013, when a roof inspection revealed the contractor removed more of the original roof than was permitted.

A letter from Yavalar dated Jan. 6 indicated a desire to clear up the issue and move forward.

At a Jan. 16 work session, Commissioner David Zaccagnino said the city lacks a “set rule on the 50 percent rule” and defended the builders.

“They just want to know what is going on, instead of having a moving target,” he said.

Zaccagnino was mentioned in the documents supplied by the mayor as having received a call from Kaleta complaining to him that the city was forcing builders from renovating ground-level homes into doing what the city doesn’t want done — building big-box homes.

O’Brien disagreed with that assessment, saying feelings and emotions had nothing to do with violations of the Florida Building Code and the evidence is clear that work exceeded the building permit.

Mayor Carmel Monti, who previously said the stop work orders are a message to developers that the codes will be enforced, agreed with O’Brien.

“The two red tags are blatant violations,” he said.

MCSO searches for abandoned boat’s owner

A 27-foot Sea Ray cruiser is beached on the shore at Bean Point, Anna Maria, and has been there since Jan. 19, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Paul Davis said. The MCSO Marine Unit is attempting to find the registered owner, Stephen Flores of Palmetto, to remove the boat, or it will be moved by the marine unit, Davis said. The marine unit also will be fining the owner for abandoning the vessel and for having an expired registration. Islander Photo: Courtesy Steve Trygg