RVs removed, AM enforcement questions persist

Recreational vehicles parked on Gladiolus Street in Anna Maria are gone, but uncertainty surrounding code enforcement lingers.

Two RVs were parked along the street, with one hooked up to electricity and water outside 250 Gladiolus St. and another parked in the right of way across from 610 Gladiolus St. despite being reported to the city in October 2018. Code prohibits parking RVs or trailers on a right of way between sunset and sunrise.

The owner of the RV at 250 Gladiolus St. said he left it to charge while vacationing in Bonita Springs, according to Angela Albrecht, code enforcement administrative assistant until her discharge Jan. 24.

Code enforcement manager Debbie Haynes had told the owner the RV could remain until Jan. 27, according to Albrecht. An inspection was scheduled Jan. 28 to ensure removal of the RV.

The RV parked across from 610 Gladiolus St. is registered to the owner of a home at 610 Fern St.  Haynes wrote in an email Feb. 1 the owner was notified of the violation and told to remove the RV from the right of way by Jan. 27, and the owner complied.

Albrecht told The Islander she was sent to investigate the vehicles in January but was hesitant to issue citations based on her interpretation of the city code.

“The way the code reads, you can have an RV parked there, but it can’t be there past 12 hours and you can’t live in it,” she said Jan. 29. “The problem with proving it is that we don’t work 12-hour shifts. So if I issued them a citation and I have to go to court … I can’t say truthfully that that has actually been there for 12 hours.”

Only sheriff’s deputies patrolling overnight can issue such citations, according to Albrecht.

“Parking isn’t our main objective,” MCSO Sgt. Mike Jones said Jan. 29. “If the road wasn’t blocked, we probably wouldn’t flag it on the spot. If there was a complaint, we would have addressed it.”

Two anonymous complaints were made — an email to code enforcement Oct. 23, 2018, and an email to Mayor Dan Murphy Nov. 4, 2018. However, Jones said the complaints were not reported to him.

“We take anonymous complaints, but they are very low priority,” Murphy said Jan. 31. “If someone doesn’t have the courage to come into city hall or at least use their names, it’s not going to be priority and it’ll probably appear in my email’s spam folder.”

He said it was Albrecht’s responsibility to deal with the RVs.

Murphy also disagreed with Albrecht’s interpretation of the city code.

“Of course they’re allowed to go after it, that’s their job,” he said. “If it’s been there day after day after day, you should probably know that’s a code violation.”

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