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Date of Issue: August 20, 2008

Olesens claim city sign 'infringes' on their property

This beach access sign between 502 and 504 S. Bay Blvd. is at the center of a controversy between Anna Maria and property owner Terry Olesen of 504 S. Bay Blvd. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Issues with the property at 504 S. Bay Blvd. owned by Terry and Patricia Olesen continue to plague the city.

The latest controversy involves the city’s beach access sign on the north side of the Olesen property, announcing the location of a public pathway.

The Olesens have filed a lawsuit, claiming the sign is on their half of the 10-foot-wide easement that was part of a lawsuit brought by the Olesens against the city in late 2007.

The Olesens claim that efforts to have the city relocate the sign have failed and that the city has informed them it “does not intend to move the sign.”

The city has consistently maintained that it owns all of the easement, but is allowing the Olesens use of the easement as part of the mediated settlement that resulted from the 2007 lawsuit.

Not so, say the Olesens.

They allege they granted the easement to the city and that under the terms of the settlement, the city “may only use this easement to allow the public to use it for pedestrian travel.” No sign is allowed on their part of the easement.

The Olesens also claim that they own the “real property” located between the lot line and the asphalt on South Bay Boulevard.

The attempt by the city to place the sign in the right of way is “inconsistent” with the settlement agreement and the Olesens have asked the court to order the city to remove the sign.

In the midst of this legal maneuvering, a lawsuit brought by Laura Gee of 502 S. Bay Blvd. remains unresolved.

The Manatee County Circuit Court dismissed some of the issues brought in the Gee suit, but did agree with Gee that placement of air conditioning units on the Olesen property did not conform to the city codes and interfered with her ability to sleep. The city had allowed the units to remain in place as part of the mediated settlement.

The dispute began in April 2006 when then-building official Kevin Donohue issued a stop-work order on the Olesen’s renovation project because he believed the project was encroaching on city property.

In late 2006, the Olesens sued the city to resolve ownership of the easement and both sides agreed to a settlement.

As part of that settlement, the city agreed to grant multiple variances to the Olesens to allow them to complete their expansion project.

But Gee was not part of the mediation or settlement and brought her own legal action against the city after the variances were issued.