The Longboat Key Code Enforcement Board voted at its Monday, Aug. 9 meeting to fine Longboat Key resident James Armstrong $50 a day until he brings his property, located in the 2900 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive, into compliance. He will also be required to pay $2,178.50 for administrative costs.
At Monday’s meeting, Armstrong told the board that he had plans for many of the issues that had concerned Code Enforcement officials, who alleged that he had installed multiple updates to his home without obtaining the necessary building permits.
“As a citizen of this community, I want to be on the right side of this,” he said.
Armstrong told the board, which had set an Aug. 6 deadline for compliance at last month’s meeting, that he notified Interim Building Official John Fernandez on Friday that he would be unable to meet that deadline but told him he would be working throughout the weekend on plans. He asked the board to give him extra time, saying that personal issues had interfered with his plans and that as little as one week could be helpful.
“I’d rather err on the side of making this right,” Armstrong said.
The fines stem from a case that was opened April 15 when Code Enforcement Officer Heidi Micale received a call from an electrician who said that he had been hired to work on Armstrong’s property but wanted to see if he had obtained the necessary permits. Micale found no active permits for the property but said that the property contained evidence of construction. According to Micale’s case notes, Armstrong said that the town provided contradictory information on its website about what permits were needed. At last month’s meeting, he also said that town staff trespassed on his property to obtain photographic evidence.
Board member Susan Landau suggested the $50 a day fine, an amount lower than the $250 a day maximum fine that could have been imposed for each day of noncompliance.
“I think we have to do a fine because it has been going on for so long,” she said. “If we don’t, it can keep going on.”
The $50 a day fine will be retroactively effective as of Aug. 7. Armstrong will be required to pay administrative costs by Aug. 16.
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org.