On July 22, 2019, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) sent a warning letter to the Madeira Condo, following a Complaint Inspection conducted on July 2, 2019.
The Compliance Inspection Report described the alleged non-compliant events observed during the inspection by FDEP personnel:
Unauthorized removal of native dune vegetation, use of heavy equipment in the dune resulting in damage to existing dune contours, excavation of the beach, and the placement of shell fill material for the creation of a new beach access path for the heavy equipment. The activities described appear to have been conducted seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line (“CCCL”) without a Department permit; in addition, the activities and use of heavy equipment has occurred within marine turtle nesting habitat during marine turtle nesting season.
As stated in the FDEP Inspector’s comments contained in the report, at the July 2 inspection, the Madeira’s Maintenance Operations Manager Marty Keefe said that “the area had been cleared for the staging of a crane and work trailer for activities related to roofing.” He also stated, “this wasn’t the first time that this activity had been performed.”
According to the FDEP, the dunes serve as Florida’s first line of defense against storms, lessening potential damage to buildings and our beaches. Dunes are also home to Florida’s protected wildlife. FDEP will require that the dune and beach be restored, as well as civil penalties.
On July 24th, the Madeira Condo applied to the FDEP for a permit to use the excavated dune area as a construction staging area to re-roof the Madeira condo. On August 16th, FDEP sent the Madeira a “Request for Additional Information (RAI),” with 60 days to comply before issuing a permit.
On August 27th, while appearing before the Marco Island Code Enforcement Magistrate for assorted Notices of Violations, Dennis Kariores, Operations Manager of RR Restoration, stated that “in order to re-roof and paint the Madeira, RR Restoration has determined that they need a crane to be able to reach the roof. The crane is so large that they need an FAA permit and the only place to put it is on the beach.”
Kariores added that “RR has also determined that putting the crane in front of the Madeira would crush their parking garage, which is located underneath, and Collier Boulevard was not an option.” Once they (RR) decided to use the crane, they also leveled that area on the beach and stated, “by the way, we were planning on putting the vegetation back.”
Kariores indicated that “the project is now pushed to April 2020, and there is no possible way that RR can get the re-roofing done before Marco’s busy season and that JW Marriott nor Royal Seafarer may not approve the crane’s presence on the beach during high season.” Kariores also stated that it will take 3½ weeks to build the crane on the beach, which will push the Istart date to May 1st and will have six months to complete the restoration.
Kariores informed the magistrate that RR Restoration has pulled over 250 permits in Marco and completed and passed inspection on all of them until now. He had high praises for the Building and Permitting Department and stated that “Ms. Tonia’s department has been awesome to work with and that people take for granted what they have to do.”
RR Restoration is already setting the stage as they look to the city leadership to grant them a construction permit on the beach.
Andrew Tyler from a neighboring condo is concerned that granting a special beach permit to Madeira will set a precedent for all the other buildings on the beach. The Madeira is the youngest building on Marco’s beach and according to Tyler, “at least 10 other buildings might have a similar argument.” (Tradewinds, Princess, Prince, Duchess, Summit House, Sandcastle, Les Falls, Club Regency, Tampico.)
Tyler said that “a good neighbor has respect for the community and environment” and added that he is “disappointed that Madeira, an affluent condo uses its contractors to remove vegetation as a shortcut to a roofing project. Some neighbor.”
Just a few issues to consider:
- April – October is sea turtle season.
- Rainy season and hurricane season.
- Madeira Lake forms during the rainy season, creating pooling and mud in areas close to the construction site (Madeira did not participate in the beach re-nourishment project in April 2019).
- Pollutants and spillage from construction materials.
- Trash problem attracting nuisance wildlife.