Failure to hook up to sewers results in fines of $20,000-plus

kwadlow@keynoter.comAugust 16, 2014 

Three Key Largo property owners, who already face more than $20,000 each in code-violation fines for not connecting to the sewer system, could be taken to court.

Monroe County commissioners, meeting Wednesday at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo, will be asked by staff to approve litigation seeking to enforce a five-month-old lien on their respective properties, all north of mile marker 103.

The cases apparently are the first failure-to-connect cases from the unincorporated county to reach this stage of enforcement, said Assistant County Attorney Lisa Granger, who handles code-compliance cases. In Marathon, there are 810 open cases but not all are going to hearing or facing fines since once people are cited, they generally hook up, according to Marathon Code Compliance.

"We really just want to get them hooked up to the system so we'll be in compliance with the state deadlines," Granger said this week of the Key Largo properties.

After the owners were mailed formal 30-day notices to connect to the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District system last November, a county magistrate ruled all three were in violation as of Jan. 1.

Fines of $100 per day have been assessed since, leaving each with a bill that topped $20,000 mark on July 22.

"The code case remains open for non-compliance and failure to pay outstanding fines and costs," says a county report on each of the three cases. "County staff recommends initiating litigation against the property owner for injunction, foreclosure, money judgment and writ of execution."

None of the three properties are listed as a permanent residence of the owners.
The three properties and listed owners are:

-- A Lance Lane mobile home owned by RKV Investors of Miami, with an assessed value of $211,000, near mile marker 105.

-- An Eagle Drive mobile home owned by Yolanda Menendez of Miami Beach, with an assessed value of $247,000, near mile marker 106.

-- A Barracuda Boulevard home owned by Mario Rapado Villoch of Coral Gables, with an assessed value of $777,000, near mile marker 103.5. The home sold in 2009 for $1.36 million.

About 86 percent of dwellings and businesses in the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District are in compliance with connection rules. That leaves about 1,400 homes still to connect, according to the County Attorney's Office. The Monroe County Attorney's Office handles non-compliance cases for the district.

Code-compliance fines could be reduced if the owners meet legal requirements to connect to the wastewater system.

In an unrelated code-compliance case, the County Commission will be asked to file legal action against the owners of a mobile home in Blue Waters Trailer Village that now faces fines of more than $84,500 for not fixing violations dating to mid-2012.

Jesus and Maira Sanchez of Miami agreed in writing to fix unpermitted construction including paving, electric installations, a boat lift and porch enclosure at the Normandy Drive property by February 2013.

After two extensions, the violations remain uncorrected, according to county records. Fines of $350 per day are being assessed.

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