Just a few months ago, the Longboat Key Town Commission was considering doing away with the Code Enforcement Board while questioning its effectiveness.
Now, commissioners are applauding the board, saying it conducted business properly after it fined a homeowner a record $49,106 for three code violations that accrued over periods ranging from 160 to 219 days.
At its Monday meeting, the commission agreed to uphold that fine after briefly considering a motion from Commissioner Phill Younger to cut the fine to $15,000.
But after Commissioners Ed Zunz and Irwin Pastor argued against reducing the fine, Younger said he felt compelled to rescind his motion.
“I’m going to withdraw it or vote against my own motion,” Younger said.
Pastor said property owner Randy Mann should have been more responsive to repeated notices of code violations and hearing dates.
“I don’t think you could possibly say it’s an unreasonable fine,” Zunz said. “They were given months to straighten it out, but they didn’t do it. It would be arbitrary and totally unreasonable for us to reverse this.”
The commission voted 7-0 to uphold the fine.
After the meeting, code board member Joel Mangel had one word to describe his reaction to the commission’s decision to back the fine: “unexpected.”
“I came in hoping they would do that,” said code board member Beverly Shapiro. “It’s the CEB’s responsibility to bring homes into compliance.”
The code board reported that Mann, of Mount Sterling, Ky., ignored repeated notices for three code violations for more than a year. He asked for the fine to be cut in half after spending more than $170,000 renovating the residence at 549 Hornblower Lane.
The home is listed for sale at nearly $1.9 million. Mann bought the property in a 2010 short sale for $1.2 million.
Mann did not return repeated calls for comment from the Longboat Observer.
• A $100 daily fine for 160 days for a violation involving a deteriorating, rusty fence.
• A $100 daily fine for 219 days for a roof and drainage violation.
• A $50 daily fine for 221 days for a violation related to unsound stairs.