Sunday, December 8, 2019

Low Fines for Repeat Turtle Offenses


Photo by Maria Lamb | According to MIPD, in 2019, 31 notice of violations were issued and nine were for repeat offenders.

“We are better than this,” Marco Island City Councilor Charlette Roman reminded her fellow councilors at the September 3rd city council meeting. Roman was referring to the low fines that repeat offenders received from the Code Enforcement Magistrate at the August 27th session.

Madeira Condo, a repeat offender in the sea turtle lighting violation received a $50 one-time fine with no additional fees and costs. Marty Keefe, Maintenance Operations Manager for Madeira, blamed lightning strikes for destroying their landscape timer.

“We better get started in protecting our environment or we are not going to have anything left to save,” Roman reminded her colleagues, referring to a condo with violations, where hatchlings were pulled dead from their dunes due to white light disorientation.

Roman also reminded members of the Marco Island City Council that they came together at the recent strategic planning session as she read a portion of Marco’s Vision Statement for 2034, which stated, “Marco is distinguished by our beauty, our world class beach and natural environment and waterways.”

According to a report by Marco Island Police Department Captain Dave Baer, during the 2019 sea turtle season, 31 notices of violations were issued and nine were for repeat offenders. Below are samples of the repeat offenders appearing before the magistrate.

Princess Del Mar Condo Association: The attorney for the city requested a one-time fine of $500 with $50 for fees and costs. The magistrate imposed a one-time fine of $250 plus $50 fees and costs and issued a warning that for a third violation, it will be $500.

Tampico Condo Association: The attorney for the city requested a one-time fine of $500 with $50 for fees and costs. The magistrate imposed a fine of $250 plus $50 fees and costs with a warning that for a third violation, it will be $500.

Sandcastle 1: The condo received a Notice of Violation for lights reflecting off from its pool area. Sandcastle called Conde Electric to install a dimmer switch for the pool area and will need to be re-inspected by a Code Enforcement officer for compliance. The magistrate ordered a stay on the accumulation of fines and case is rescheduled for the October docket.

Sea Winds Condominiums: “We are at the mercy of weekly rentals,” the condo manager told the magistrate. The attorney for the city requested a one-time fine of $500 with $50 for fees and costs. The magistrate imposed a fine of $250 plus $50 fees and costs and a warning that for a third violation, it will be $500.

Emerald Beach Condominiums: On July 29th, sea turtle hatchlings wandered toward the white lights of the Emerald Beach Condo. Tyler Beck, Collier County Sea Turtle Monitor, testified that he pulled several dead sea turtle hatchlings from the dunes of the Emerald Beach Condo on the morning of July 30th. Beck also picked up live hatchlings from the pool deck and parking lot. The Emerald Beach condo manager stated that they have retro-fitted their pool lights, but the Code Enforcement officer has not had a chance to inspect it for compliance.



The magistrate ordered a stay on the accumulation of fines, and the case is rescheduled for the October docket.

Marco Island’s Sea Turtle Ordinance 01-35 has been in effect since November 5, 2001. Collier County mails out a sea turtle informational packet to all Marco condo managers one month prior to sea turtle season and again, one mail-out during mid-season. The City of Marco Island also mails out a sea turtle packet to all condo property managers during sea turtle season.

Additional Beach-related Violations Heard by the Magistrate on August 27th

The Madeira Condominium, RR Restoration and Calusa Site Development were issued Notices of Violations to appear before the magistrate for the following: For unpermitted vehicles on the beach, Madeira, RR Restoration and Calusa Site Development each received $250 fines with $50 in costs and fees; For landscape certification, RR Restoration and Calusa each received a $150 fine.

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