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Date of Issue: April 30, 2008

Fiskes seek land-use judgment

Evelyn and Jack Fiske of South Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria have filed a legal action against Anna Maria, asking for a “declaratory judgment” that their property can be used for commercial marine purposes.

Attorney Chuck Webb, representing the Fiskes, filed the action in the Manatee County Circuit Court, noting that since 1911 the property has been used for commercial marine purposes.

The property is south of Galati Marine next to Rotten Ralph’s Restaurant at 850 S. Bay Blvd., and presently has a residential home and a number of rented docks and boat slips.

The Fiskes want the declaratory judgment because, the suit alleges, “In recent years, the city has harassed plaintiff’s seeking the unlawful termination of plaintiffs commercial marine use of the property.”

The suit alleges the city has demanded building permits but that the Fiskes comply with the city’s zoning code, and “the use of the property is a lawful nonconforming use” under the city codes.

In addition, the suit alleges that the city code “does not contain a provision by which a property owner can obtain a determination of whether the use of the property is a legal nonconforming use, also known as a grandfathered use, and whether a structure is located in the city and thus subject to the city’s jurisdiction.”

The Fiskes demanded a judgment that the property and docks are “not subject to the city’s jurisdiction” and also a judgment “enjoining the city from further harassment.”

The Fiskes also seek to have the city pay costs and attorneys fees.

The action has been turned over city attorney Jim Dye for assessment.

Ironically, the Fiskes are slated to appear before the city’s code enforcement board May 5 on an alleged code violation regarding their property and activities there. It is unknown if the lawsuit is a result of the code complaint.