Sarasota News Leader

05/30/2014

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OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL F o r m o n t h s , T h e Sarasota News Leader has been following a pair of Code Enforcement cases that have been … well, frustrating for Sarasota County. Frustrating because efforts to bring a home at 6537 Sabal Drive on Siesta Key and Bob's Boathouse, a restaurant on South Tamiami Trail, into continuous compli- ance with existing regulations has proven somewhat Sisyphean. Violations at the Sabal Drive home, owned by local chiropractor Craig Siegel as a vaca- tion rental property, first were discovered by Code Enforcement officials in November 2012. Siegel had bricked in the open portion underneath the raised home, in violation of local and FEMA regulations, so he might col- lect huge weekly rents for a "12-bedroom" house. However, in addition to flouting flood control regulations, the illegal modifications put occupants at an unacceptable risk in the event of a fire, since ingress and egress were sharply limited. County Code Enforcement officers made several visits, tallied a long list of violations and tried — often in vain — to serve either Siegel or his attorney with notices of those violations and orders to correct all noncon- forming structures. Finally, the county took the next step. It went before a Code Enforcement Special Magistrate in the office of the Sarasota County Clerk of Court, whose job is to adjudicate dis- putes with noncomplying property owners. After reviewing the county's case, the Special COUNTY CODE ENFORCEMENT NEEDS TOUGHER SANCTIONS OPINION

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