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Date of Issue: October 27, 2005

City orders Gulffront homeowner to fix house before Mother Nature performs task

falling porch pic
Falling soon
Anna Maria city officials have asked the owner of this beachfront house at 103 Sea Grape to either fix or remove the front porch before it collapses into the Gulf of Mexico. Beach erosion the past few years has pushed the sea to within a few feet of the structure, threatening its collapse in the very near future. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

People who rent the house at 103 Sea Grape Lane in Anna Maria don't have far to go to find the Gulf of Mexico. It's directly under their front porch at high tide.

Mayor SueLynn said the city was going to issue a notice to the owners to fix or replace the front porch, which is constructed on posts dug into the beach, before the entire structure collapses in the Gulf of Mexico. The house is located just north of Newton Lane off North Shore Drive.

Thankfully, word of the notice apparently reached owner Steve Isherwood in Connecticut just in time. On the day last week the notice was to be mailed, Isherwood applied for a building permit to fix the porch and supports.

"It's a safety issue," said the mayor. The porch, and indeed the entire house, could easily fall into the Gulf of Mexico, creating a safety hazard for boaters, swimmers and beach walkers.

In fact, said the mayor last week, she would not be surprised if Hurricane Wilma finished off the sand under the house and pushed the entire structure into the Gulf of Mexico.

The city has closed the beach access at this location because erosion has removed much of the beachfront, creating a dropoff of several feet from the access path to the beach. Only a few feet of sand and some rocks separate the beach access - and 103 Sea Grape Lane - from the Gulf.