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Town discusses ways to build on its codes

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  • | 5:00 a.m. January 25, 2012
  • Longboat Key
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“There ought to be a code.”

That’s the sentiment of many residents, according to town staff. They frequently hear from residents who want to know if the town can use its codes to direct residents to fix green swimming pools, peeling paint, broken windows and rotting garage doors. They also hear about aesthetic issues, such as overgrown hedges, dead vegetation, fallen fruit and items stored in yards. Many of these issues have increased in current years because of mounting foreclosures and vacancies.

Currently, Code Enforcement is limited to enforcing weeds-and-grass violations and life/safety issues. But that could change if the town adopts the International Property Maintenance Code, which addresses many of these issues. Town Planner Steve Schield and Code Enforcement officers Heidi Micale and Amanda Nemoytin, along with former Longboat Key Code Enforcement Officer Ben Bailey, who is now a building inspector for the city of Fort Myers, discussed current limitations of current town codes and the possibility of adopting the IPMC at a Tuesday, Jan. 24, workshop.

Bailey said that in Fort Myers, which has adopted the IPMC, said that the code encourages proactive maintenance and hasn’t changed the general process of code enforcement, with violators receiving a warning and given the opportunity to correct the problem before their case is turned over to the Code Enforcement Board. In many cases, the IPMC has encouraged banks to be proactive about distressed properties that were often not priorities to avoid liens and fines.

But several of the approximately 35 residents who attended the workshop had concerns about how the IPMC would be enforced.

Schield said that the IPMC was presented as one solution that hundreds of cities, including Sarasota and Bradenton, have adopted and been tested.

Changes to town codes, including adoption of new regulations, would require the approval of the Longboat Key Town Commission.

Causes for concern
Town staff identified the following issues that they frequently receive complaints about but can’t currently address:
• Maintenance of swimming pools
• Peeling, flaking and chipping paint
• Maintenance of doors, windows and window frames
• Maintenance of parking lots
• Landscaping issues, such as overgrown hedges, dead vegetation and grass and fallen fruit from trees
• Items stored on the exterior of structures


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