BELLEAIR BLUFFS -- A property owner who has balked at complying with a court order faces a $5,000 a day fine beginning Friday and subsequent lien and forfeiture if the order is not complied with by today.
This was revealed by Tom Trask, Belleair Bluffs city attorney, at Monday night's commission workshop meeting.
Mark Naedel, a spokesman for the owner at 342 Bluffview, said that the property will be in compliance by the deadline date.
The case goes back about two years and centers on a wall that the city maintains violates the code.
After much discussion and negotiations, the city went to court earlier this year and obtained a court order under a stipulation between the parties that would have brought the wall into conformance with city law.
But the owners of the property failed to do so and the case came before Judge Brandt Downey last month. After a lengthy hearing, he found the defendants in "wilfull contempt" and ordered the deadline (August 11) for compliance with the attendant penalties.
Naedel is the son of Barbara Granholm, the owner of the property. Early in the controversy there was confusion over exactly who the property owner was. It was determined that ownership was held in a trust.
Naedel said that his mother created the trust and was its beneficiary. She recently took back direct ownership of the property, he said.
Naedel was at the commission meeting Monday night and argued that the stipulation is not lawful and not enforceable. Mayor Chris Arbutine allowed him to make brief remarks but pointed out that the issue was "out of the city's hands" and in the province of the court.
On another subject, one citizen complained that Waste Management, which has a contract to pick up trash in the city, failed to collect all of his material set out. When broached on it, a worker for the trash collection company sought a tip, the resident said. "He said, ‘no tip, no service,'" the resident said.
A similar incident was reported recently in Belleair Beach involving the same company.
It was reported to the commission that Waste Management has failed to send bills to many residents. Robert David, the public works director, will send a letter to the company urging it to rectify the situation.
Also on the agenda was the question of increasing the terms of elected officials from two to three years.
The question must go to referendum and if it were to be effective with the next election the vote would have to take place in November. That would cost the city $2,000 or so for a special election.
Arbutine urged that the issue be put off until the March election, saving costs. If approved it would take effect with the election of 2007.
The city is still seeking a member for the Board of Adjustment.
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