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Downstairs Enclosure - Duck Key originally posted in February 2010 -

New material posted in red - December 2011

Note the pitched driveway. This home's first floor is elevated on piers and appears to have been built to code 10 feet above base flood elevation. The portion surrounded by dirt beneath the first floor is the downstairs enclosure. That portion has not been made habitable. The County contends the visible "first floor" is the downstair's enclosure.

Monroe County Vacated the Order to Demolish 40% of Stazzone hom - Email from Michael Stazzone October 2011

"You should be aware that this case is over and the county Vacated the Order to Demolish 40% of this home.

As seen here: http://egov.monroecounty-fl.gov/eGovPlus/code/code_dtl.aspx?case_no=CE08060181

Simply, the home (first floor of 2) was built to the correct elevations in 1975 and was never a "downstairs enclosure".

Federal Regulations, County Codes, Base Flood Elevations, Flood Plain Management Requirements, Construction Methods, etc.. have changed so many times over 30+ years since 1975 (year home was built) - a little due diligence and legal research was required.

Due to the blessings of the county Attorney who prosecuted this case (Lisa Granger) who remained open minded to fact gathering, etc.. the family probably would have had been forced to demolished 40% of an Ocean Front piece of property in 2009."

234 West Seaview Circle

Email from Michael Stazzone December 2011 -

Duck Key should be aware that after 3 years of back and forth on this issue, the county finally acknowledged that the home (both floors) were built complaint to BFE in 1975 (10ft. as measured to the TOP of the floor) per county codes and federal regulations of that time and certified (as required by the Regs. and Codes) via 1975 permit, 1975 land survey, 1975 plans and 1976 CO.

A motion to vacate the final order (the final order demanding demolition of the first floor of a legit 2-story home -- rasied on pilings) has been issued and approved by all parties. (Public record)

Had some basic due diligence been made day #1 reviewing 1975 documents, our family would have never been dragged into a losing battle with Code Enforcement on oversights and errors. Thus, giving my family 30 days to demolish 40% of an ocean front piece of property on Duck Key. (potential lose of $500,000+).

We had to turn over every rock to prove our case to county officials to help "turn around" a losing CE case which does not allow missed evidence or testimony in an appellate review.

That effort, quit frankly, took 2 years and many hours on my part (personally) to help my parents.

It involved hiring new attorney's, Surveyors, Structural Engineers, GC, Flood Plain Managers outside of MC and the State of Florida, Retired MC officials, retired FEMA officials, and ultimetly solicitation and assistance from Senator Bill Nelson to help us get answers from top officials at FEMA and the State of Florida.

With the Senators efforts, a Flood Insurance renewal bill that was issued to my family on this home for $85,000 (as a direct result of the errors of this case) was reduced to $6400.

It should be noted that my father and mother took the equity of this home and donated it to the less fortunate over the years. While some have shown lack of compassion for a family with a home "on the Ocean" "in Duck Key" with an attitude of "rich folk" with second home "driving up housing costs in the keys", they should take note of facts and recognize that my extremely generous mother and father (more generous then most will ever meet) (my father: a 30% DAV, who served this nation 4 years in the Navy, who recieved pencils and underwear for Christmas, an Italian Immigrant family/grandfather, with no college education, who worked his butt off for his family (wife and 4 sons), HONEST, hard working American) (mother: equally hard working -- a daughter of a 30-year retired FDNY Fireman raising 7 boys and 2 girls, daughter of a man who served our country during WWII on the decorated USS CABOT (one of our nations first small aircraft carrier), sister of an Engine 6 Pumper of FDNY Lieutenant who dug for fallen brothers (months$ during 911 (truck now on display at the 911 museum in Albany, NY) now living with 30% lung capacity, sister of Marine veteran who retired NYPD 30 years Homicide and Child Molestation Detective) have been innocent victims of a flawed system and mistakes under the Pilot Inspection Program. Our family incurred nearly 100K in expenses and I personally lost @ 100K in income proving our case.

The late great Phil Shannon of CNS was so considerate and compassionate, he took the time to call and email me while overseas on vacations to help answer questions and offer support. One email coming the night before his passing. He knew early on our case was different. He listened and understood our position that the first floor was not "a downstairs enclosure".

Mr. Shannon was very much a very generous man -- and I just wanted to say, if I could speak to his family, that there are some success stories coming out of his efforts and support -- by example of this case. I am sure the Shannon family would appreciate hearing a story of success and appreciation for Phils efforts.

Lastly, its should be noted that had it not been for County Attorney Lisa Granger remaining open minded, fair and considerate for truth (when maybe others in her inner circle were more resistant), our home may have been destroyed or Mom and Dad out another 200,000 fighting.

Thank you.

Merry Christmas to all and mostly, the Shannon Family Family.

Ps... If all the was not crazy enough.. The home was never supposed to be in a V zone.... We changed the flood zone (correctly) to AE 10... FYI -- the Duck Key Homeowners Association needs tocontact me because most homes along the outer limits of Duck Key should NOT be in a V zone-- the rock barrier island around Duck Key was never contemplated in the last flood maps issued by FEMA -- changes the flood zone from V to AE (like we did) will save a tremendous amount of flood premium to it's residents. (like it did for us) .

Peace

Michael Stazzone

 

DUCK KEY HOME OF JOSEPH AND BARBARA STAZZONE

The downstairs enclosure at the home of Duck Key resident Joe Stazzone has been an issue since the summer of 2009. It started with a need for a roof repair permit and in the process the County decided the "first floor" of the Stazzone's West Seaview Circle home was illegal.

According to research done on the matter, the Stazzones point to Federal Regulations for years 1974, 1975, and 1976 pertaining to flood plain management which allowed their first floor or any part of their floor to be built to the 100 year flood level in a V zone. The home was built and 1975 and the law change in 1977 which called for measuring the the lowest horizontal member of the floor.

It would seem the County has put the Stazzones through a needless ordeal. Note May 16, 2010 comment toward foot of this page where Michael Stazzone writes'

" 2 YEARS INTO THIS NONSENSE, 60k IN ATTORNEY'S FEES, ERRONEOUS TESITMONY MADE BY COUNTY OFFICIALS UNDER OATH IN A CODE ENFORCEMENT HEARING, AND NOT ONCE DID ANY PERSON TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK THE REGULATIONS FROM 1975 AND VERIFY IF THE STATEMENT ABOUT THE COUNTY HAVING AN "ERROR ORDINANCE" WAS ACCURATE."

The home the Stazzones own was built in 1975 and the Stazzones believe the home's first floor is not a downstair's enclosure but a legal first floor. In 2009, the County reclassified that home's first elevated floor as a "improperly permitted downstairs enclosure".

Joseph and Barbara Stazzone bought a three-bedroom, two-bath house at 234 West Seaview Circle in 1998 as a vacation home. According to the Stazzone family Joseph is "recovering from brain Surgery - his 14th surgery in 9 years".

The Stazzone family has been fighting an up hill battle family in order not to tear out "downstairs" rooms that were built in the mid 1970s, long before Joeseph Stazzone bought the house.

The County has ruled against them. The Stazzone family believe they are being treated unfairly. They believe that the County is at fault. Home sellers, realtors, contractors, lenders, and title insurers all led the Stazzone's to believe that downstairs enclosures were legal.

The Stazzones contend the downstair's enclosure was legal at the time of construction. Much depended on interpretation of ordinances, and wrong information which County official provided at a Code Enforcement Hearing.

While thousands of illegal downstairs enclosures have been built in the Keys, the Stazzones believe no rules were broken in the building of their home. The home appears to have been built legally at the time though errors were made by County Officials.

 

LOCAL OFFICIALS

Have County officials turned a blind eye and allowed rules to be bent for downstairs enclosures?

As late as 2005 County Commissioners were bending the rules. A 2006 Key West Citizen article by Anne Henson told of

"The Monroe County attorney (Collins) says he was fired because he stood in the way of favors and deals orchestrated by county Mayor Sonny McCoy.
Richard Collins accused McCoy of changing an ordinance to help a celebrity couple in Ocean Reef,. . ."

Under a section entitled "Changing the laws" reporter Anne Hanson wrote that the problem started with the enclosing of the downstairs portion of an Ocean Reef home owned by celebrity couple Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford.

The Gifford's downstairs enclosure of 3,700-square-foot was listed on the building permit as storage, but instead contained 12 rooms including a maid's quarters, bedrooms, bathrooms, a gym and other amenities. The Giffords were cited for having a "concealed illegal enclosure".

Citizen reporter Hanson wrote,


"But at a February 2005 meeting, McCoy urged the commission to change the ordinance regulating the prosecution of building code violations to define "concealed" as being visible only upon entering a home. Since their enclosure had exterior windows, the Giffords were off the hook.
The board advised Collins to take no action in the case."

Unlike the Giffords the Stazzones did not enclose their downstairs. Rather they say they purchased the home in good faith in the belief that what they were buying was legal. Perhaps they wil have to go to court and obtain a favorable ruling in their behalf as did Sandra Carter.

Circuit Court Judge David Audlin ruled this January 11, 2010 that Sandra Carter can keep her downstairs enclosure despite County rules against them. This is the second time Judge David Audlin has ruled against Monroe County in the Carter downstairs enclosure case.

Essentially Audin has ruled Monroe County can't cite Carter for a code violation as her enclosure was built years before laws were on the books regulating them, and the county was aware of the enclosure.

STAZZONES' PLIGHT - KEYNOTER LETTERS

Many letters have been posted in the Key West Citizen referencing the Stazzones' plight.

Portions of two such letters appear below.

Maria Stazzone, wife of Joseph's son, Michael, has written to the Keynoter and to Congressional Representative. Part of that letter and others are replicated below.

Michael "has contacted every prior owner and found each of them in 3 different States. He has fired his first attorney who screwed up his father's case and worked on his own to gather all the facts and evidence after he found out a code enforcement hearing was ill prepared for and final order issued in favor of the county on oversights and errors. The evidence, pictures of home during construction, and much more is overwhelmig in his favor. But, it seems the county is using loop holes in the code enforcement process to box him into an incorrect final order and demolition. It sounds like the county will not support a simple rehearing on the facts, new evidence, new testimony from experts, pictures while the home was under construction, etc.. without my husband's family giving up their right to an appellare review! If that is true, you should ask yourself why? Are they afraid to actually lose and look embarrased?"

 

"LOOK AT THE STAZZONE CASE / HOME on Duck Key!!
Submitted on Tue, 12/22/2009 - 7:06pm
The county took a legal, two story home built to the correct BFE as outlined by county ordinance (3-1975) in 1975 with permit, and in 2009 reclassified that homes first elevated floor (elevated up on pilings) as a "improperly permitted downstairs enclosure"...(that's in writing from the county). They ask the family to gut the first floor of this home on the Ocean to bare bones walls and floors which will cost the family 600,000+ in Value despite knowing full well that this floor was in fact PERMITTED with STRUCTURAL Walls (not break-a-way per FEMA Regs.), finished interior walls, electric, A/C, a bathroom, Recreation Room (aka Living Space) in 1975, w/ CO issued 1976! They know they made errors by dragging the Stazzone Family into this issue (maybe others too), but they choose to fight using loop holes in code enforcement procedings that do not easily allow for new evidence, testimony, etc.. instead of admitting oversights. They do this simply to remain looking favorable in the eyes of FEMA while FEMA beathes down their necks with threats of pulling the plug on the NFIP for all of the KEYS Residents. FEMA does not want to take ANY responsibility for the FIA / HUD early years of lack of controls which resulted in Monroe County issuing permits and Ordiances in there own words "in error" due to "only 8 months in the Regular program of the NFIP". Seriously, these elected officials need to start taking responsibility on both ends...and STOP passing the buck to innocent homeowners 35 years after houses were built, permitted and approved by the counties predecessors!! Congresswomen, seriously, this issue has spun out of control. FEMA and the County and YOU are elected to PROTECT US....instead, the beuacrats of our Government have tunnel vision...what ever happened to "WE THE PEOPLE".....our Forefathers are TURNING in THEIR GRAVES!!!!"

 

 

MICHAEL STAZZONE, son of Joseph Stazzone, SEEKS HELP FROM ENGINNER'S PLACE

A long dialog between engineers and Michael Stazzone outlining the facts and happenings may be found at http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/52999/Land-Survey-USC-G-Datum-vs-NGVD29

A few highlights taken out of context are provided below. They explain some of the construction history and the recent difficulty in interpreting past ordinances. They are reproduced typing errors and all. They show the frustration

April 7, 2010

MIke Stazzone - The county issued a Flood Plain Management Ordinance in March 1975 measuring BFE in a V zone to 10ft. MSL. The home was built 5 months later (August 1975) according to the ordinance in effect at the time. In 1977, the county corrected the ordinance explaining that BFE in a V zone must be measured to the bottom of the lowest horizontal structure. (2 years after home was built) Dad bought the home in 1998. (4th owner) County is saying this floor is a "downstairs enclosure" We are saying it a first floor of 2 built at BFE in 1975 (second floor is @ 18.2 ft.) County is saying second floor is the "first floor" (aka lowest floor) We say the 10ft. floor was built to county ordinance, therefore compliant to BFE in 1975. County says, the ordinance was issued in error and the home was built below BFE (was supposed to have been measured to bottom of the beam) We say nonsense. They say prove it. We spend $$ getting 2 surveyors measuring 9.9ft. to top of the floor, which is the same elevation as the spike in the utility pole referenced on the 1975 land survey. Turns out, 4 or 5 poles on the block all have very old paint reading (10ft.) with similar 4d spikes, but the surveyors say current elevations read 9.9ft using NGVD29 at each of these poles and spikes. So, county says sorry you are short (and, they are backed by FEMA). So, now a bathroom and 2 bedrooms that we can prove were installed on the floor @ the time of construction (1975 aka County Tax Record) but not referenced on the original plans, must be removed (aka gutted). County says gut the floor because these features were not approved for a "downstairs enclosure." We say we should be able to keep these features under the 50% rule as the floor was built to BFE in 1975. They say, no, the floor was supposed to have been built 10ft. to lowest horizontal member. Remove a bathroom and 2 bedrooms on an Ocean Front piece of property in the Florida keys and lose $400,000 in value of your home. Fight the county over .1 and spend $100,000 in attorney's fees. (plus, counties apparently have immunity against error ordinances) Lift house 3 feet (current elevation is V11 -- 11ft. to bottom), spend $100,000. Trivial? I wish. So, just to clear my mind....I was asking if NGVD 29 datum is different then USC&G and maybe that can account for the .1 difference without saying someone made an error in 1975. Or maybe, really, my inquiry on this site to meant to hook up with a very smart, well connected Engineer who can help us make sense of this and save our home or put me in touch with someone who can. Thank you for your time. Mike.

April 8

MIke Stazzone - Thank you for the response. I hear you. But, the home's first floor was not built slab on grade. The homes was built up on pilings to 10ft. in 1975 (measuring to the top of the floor per county code). The home was not built as an enclosure. Its was built as a 2 story home. It should be grandfathered in our opinion. With that said, no doubt raising the home to current BFE (11 ft. to bottom of beam) is sensible from a lose mitigation view point and maybe even a value of home angle. Most importantly, maybe, the best route to solve this problem. The question is who should pay for it? The only reason the home was not built corrrecly (10ft. to bottom of the beam) was due to county error in ordinance. The original homeowners and builders relied upon the code in effect at the time. Government should NOT have the authrority to retroactively apply NEW codes or NEW FEMA Regs. to existing structures 35 years after the structure was built. Of course, that is is just my opinion (and others who are smarter then me). Peace.

Well, a lot of good feedback...and, I appreciate it. Sincerely. The person who said the path of least resistance is to raise the home to current elevations is correct. And, the person who said this is government at its best (taking of property -- taking an innocent family for a ride over .1 and/or an error in county ordinance from 1975) is also correct. Nothing would feel better then to feel retified by a judge somewhere who can see through the bueacracy and technocratcy (if that is a word). BUT, I am sensible as much as passionate about fighting for right and wrong. We have asked FEMA, the State and the county to help Dad and Mom with one of the MANY Federal Grants available to help flood proof America. It would seem this would be the true Win-Win. I am in the insurance business -- is this not all about Mitigating loss? I have asked for help pursuing a PDM (Pre-Disaster Mitigation) Grant which if I am correct, helps pay 75% of the cost to raise the home. The counties error in Ordinance should be acknowledged and they should be more then willing to help too. But, we have not heard from any of them yet on this issue. Peace.

April 8

MIke Stazzone - Yes, I have looked into that. We are talking 1975. The original surveyor is in heaven and business long gone. The guy who owned the house, he is in heaven. The guy who built the house, he is in heaven (along with his in house Architect). Did find the original owners children, however, in Indiana (they are not actually children, they are retired in their 60's), who have signed documents stating everything as it stands today was there in 1975. They are outraged that they believe their father made change orders towards tail end of construction (for Mom: who was 1/2 paralyzed and could not walk up stairs), approved by the county, and today, 35 years later my family is asking to have to destroy what he legitimately built. The suspiscion is that the feild copies of the plans were altered that went home with the original owners. Again, 1975 PC's, GPS, Digital, were not invented yet. Peace.

April 12

MIke Stazzone - Thank you. Not officially. But, I was told a variance would never be approved "off the record".....but, I was also advised to take the steps to ask. Two issues came up with a variance 1) Ask for a variance acknowledging the difference between 9.9 in 2010 vs. 10ft. in 1975 as 10ft. was approved with issuance of CO and in 35 years a home could settle one inch. 2) and/or ask for a variance to allow a bathroom and bedroom that is not reflected on the plans, but proven to have been installed at time of construction. #2 was addressed in conversation this this was the response: The variance criteria 122-5(2) states "The following factors shall be relevant in the granting of a variance". One of those criteria b. is: "whether it is possible to use the property by a conforming method of construction;" The property can be used by a conforming method of construction. Conforming, would be to Section 122-4(a)(9). In addition, 122-5(a) states: "Generally, where owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the floodplain management provisions of the plan would result in exceptional hardship unique to the property, etc". This hardship is NOT unique to the property. There are many properties in Monroe County constructed between 1975 and 1983 that were permitted incorrectly. This would set a precedent to allow up to 50% increase is all non-conforming previously issued permits which would increase the flood damage risk significantly." Thank you for your feedback.

April 12

MIke Stazzone - Thank you. My father and brothers who all reside in Melbourne (Satellite Beach) attend Holy Name of Jesus Church in Indianatlantic .....when our business was doing well (we insure more Auto Dealers in Flordia then anyone) Dad pulled the equity out of this Duck Key Home and donated it to the Church to help have a chapel extention built. So, today, with the crash, what he owes on the home is about what it is worth...maybe a little upside down = compounds this issue greatly. Our family does not want to lose the home obviously. I see you are @ the space coast. Our Corp. office is just past Coconuts on the Ocean -- Williams and Stazzone Insurance. My brother also ownes Space Coast insurance in the same building. Any help and feedback is greatly apreciated. Peace. ps....I gave up on the snit fits several months ago -- I am in a mode of trying to find a middle gorund outside of litigation with FEMA and MC. Being in the insurance buz. has us tainted on judicial procedeings.

April 12, 2010

MIke Stazzone - Yes, I am GUEST in one or two posts and also MVSTAZZONE. You sound like a man of great wisdom and experience. Let me complicate the situation by telling you what happened. My father was going in for his 15th surgery in 8 years when he got a final order issued on a code enforcment ruling. Code Enforecment hearing took place because upon pulling an Emergency permit for a Reroof, a condition was issued "inspection of home per flood plain managment review". Dad felt it was not right to let somone in to inspect his home. None of us were aware of the ongoing Saga between MC and FEMA. MC apparently is the ONLY county in America with their backs up against a wall with threats from the NFIP / FEMA to pull the plug on the entire program for 20,000+ homeowners. Reason: the county, in FEMA's opinion, have turned the blind eye to illegal build out of "downstairs enclosures" for 30+ years all over the keys. It is estimated that 10,000+ homes have them. Homes that were built up on stilts, area's underneath meant for parking, etc. -- illegally enclosed with bathrooms and bedrooms. Dads home got tied into this issue because MC has a unique "settlement agreement" with FEMA. Part of that agreement is what they call a "Pilot Inspection program" - inspections upon sale, renewal of insurance and permits pulled. Part of the "agreement" addresses homes that were built too low according to error ordinances, but permitted and legal. They let you keep what was permitted but will never let you expand upon the space and can ask you to remove the entire floor if any expansion has occured wihout a permit. In our case, the 1975 plans (only after you blow them up larger the 8x11 pieces of paper) clearly indicate "REVISIONS" in the lower right corner. Revision #1 = Elevate First Floor to 10ft. Revision #2 = Change first floor walls from Break-a-way to "Structural". Dad hired a local attorney who charged him 30K and his main defense was "the home was approved for a REC. room and a Rec. room is living space...so living space is living space". I jumped on this after reading the final order issued by Code Enforcment special master asking my Dad and mom to DESTROY 1/2 his Ocean Front property. No one in my family realized Dad was walking into a mine field on this issue. It was VERY apparent to me that somethiong was missed. Something very imporant like ELEVATION. The county, Dads attorney and everyone in between NEVER took the original plans to KINKOS to blow them UP and READ them. Instead, in the code enforcement hearing, they passed out 8x11 sheets of paper focusing solely on the floor plan. I blew them UP - LARGE -- Took them to an Architect. Guess what? Spelled out all over the plans, permits, and elevation sketchs on the plans says "First Floor to 10ft.", "First Floor Elevation Must be 10ft." "10 ft. MSL pointed to the top of the first finished floor directly on the plans". I said the CO was issued, 10ft. is spelled out everywhere, the home was built to MC ordinance, the CO was issued....WTF? This is when they said "prove it". I found the original owners children (now in their 60's,) (builder, architect, orginal owner, county officials of that time, inspectors, all passed) who provided me with PICS of the home under construction, clearly showing the home built up on pilings. The bathroom not shown on the plans, has the same dates, decor, and fixtures as the second floor bathrooms -- all 1970's stuff with toilet bowls stamped with dates (1975). This, along with the tax record card issued 3 weeks after CO proves with this stuff was installed. I addressed the missed defense with our first attorney, he found out we were not happy, he removed himself from the case while dad was under the knife in California. I met with county officials myself, called EVERY commissioner....seems everyone wants to help me but MC's flood manager is sticking to her guns with FEMA breathing down her neck and with the NFIP on the line for 20,000 homeowners. "Off the record" in meetings with the officials they give you 10ft. (would have rounded up in 1975 they say)....but on the record, with FEMA watching, they say..."sorry, you only got 9.9". New set of attorny's took a shot at a sit down as well...that cost 30K....NO help. They got 10ft. "off the record too", but the same nonsense. "the home was incorrectly permitted as a non conforming structure in 1976"..."the home is not subject to the 50% rule....built too low"...."must demolish the floor"..."county ordinance error does not matter"....yada, yada.....we have an appeal alive currenly....must be filed by June. BUT, due process does NOT allow NEW Evidence, NEW Testimony to me admissable in a Civil proceding. They will not allow a rehearing, unless Dad and Mom waive their appeallate rights to review. Attorney's see how passionte I am about trying to help my parents....say $160,000 to sue. 50K of that to follow through with the appeal that cannot introduce everything I found (aka New Evidence). So, I am FORCED to get something in my hands that explains the 9.9 vs. 10ft. so that "officially" MC can tell FEMA "look, this explains the 10ft.". In the end, even if I got 10ft., they are going to say their ordinance was in error - was supossed to measure to the bottom of the beam. Trying to fix this so Dad does not have to spend 160K, I asked the State, FEMA and MC to help dad with a PDM (Pre Disaster Grant) to help raise thie home up 3ft. so we can turn this into a Win - Win. No one -- not FEMA, not the State, not MC has advised us if this can be accomplished. The only thing that was stated was from the county officials who started this with dad said "you alreay have a floor 7 ft. above BFE"...."don't think a grant is going to help". I really just have one simple question. DO WE LIVE IN AMERICA? Thats how I feel. Thank you. Mike.

April 12, 2010

MIke Stazzone - Thanks...Yeah..I know I typed MUCH, any feedback or direction is appreciated. My family all live in Tortoise Island (father and 3 brothers w/ 10 nieces). If any of you attend Holy Name -- that chapel built -- part paid for by the equity of this home. Father Paige nows the family well. In my humble opinion, short of getting a sit down with a Congressman or Senator, or some news media outlet willling to digest all facts and take on the story, I do not think anything is going to help this situation -- as unreasonable as all of this sounds. I am however also trying to hunt down a person to conduct a restudy of the FIS data from 1975 and a site specific BFE, if in fact I can find the FIS data from 1975....not even FEMA seems to be alble to help with that. I am told...that BFE were rounded up -- that possibly the site specific BFE could have been 9.1. 9.2, etc...that that would make up any .1 difference and if done correclty FEMA would excpet the restudy. This was suggested county officials in other parts of FLorida who sympathize in dads situation. Lastly, as the county raising questions, I have overcome each. For example, they showed me a Permit for a septic tank and drain feild.....750 gal., 75 sq ft. drain feild...drain feild located under the driveway. I had it certified -- they dug it up -- 900 Gal. tank with 110 sq. ft. feild and everything is LEFT of the driveway...not what the permit says from 1975, but clearly someone was thinking about a 3/3 home in 1975, rather the a 2/1. Peace.

May 16, 2010

MIke Stazzone - MAJOR UPDATE ON THIS ISSUE: EVERYONE WAS CORRECT TOO MUCH TIME DISCUSSING AN IRRELEVANT ISSUE 9.9 VS. 10.
#1 -- WE RESEARCHED THE FEDERAL REGUALTIONS PERTAINING TO FLOOD PLAIN MANAGEMENT FOR YEARS 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 AND GUESS WHAT?? THE NFIP REGS. CHANGED IN 1977 MEASURING BFE TO THE LOWEST HORIZONTAL MEMBER OF THE LOWEST FLOOR. IN 1974, 1975 (WHEN THIS HOME WAS PERMITTED AND BUILT), AND IN 1976 THE REGS. SIMPLY STATED THE FIRST ELEVATED FLOOR MUST BE BUILT TO THE 100 YEAR FLOOD IN A V ZONE (THAT MEANS ANY PART OF THE FLOOR)!! 2 YEARS INTO THIS NONSESNE, 60k IN ATTORNEY'S FEES, ERRONEOUS TESITMONY MADE BY COUNTY OFFICIALS UNDER OATH IN A CODE ENFORCEMENT HEARING, AND NOT ONCE DID ANY PERSON TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK THE REGULATIONS FROM 1975 AND VERIFY IF THE STATEMENT ABOUT THE COUNTY HAVING AN "ERROR ORDINANCE" WAS ACCURATE OR TRUE! $56 AND ONE HOUR ON WWW.HEINONLINE.ORG AND THIS IS VERIFIED.
#2 -- THE FACT IS -- THIS HOME WAS BUILT 10FT. IN 1975 TO BFE COMPLING WITH TO COUNTY ORDINANCE AND COMPLYING TO NFIP NATIONAL REGS. OF 1975. THE 10FT. IS WRITTEN ALL OVER THE PLANS, ALL OVER THE PERMIT, ON A LAND SURVEY ATTACHED TO THE 1975 PERMIT, AND A CO WAS ISSUED STATING THE HOME WAS BUILT TO THOSE SPECS...END OF STORY.
#3 -- THE HOMES FIRST ELEVATED FLOOR OF 2 SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN INSEPCTED UNDER THIS UNIQUE "PILOT INSPECTION PROGRAM"....WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN INSPECTED WAS THE BELOW BFE "ENCLOSURE" WHICH STILL SITS UNDER THIS FIRST ELEVATED FLOOR WITH BREAK-A-WAY WALLS --UNINSPECTED TO THIS DAY.
#4 -- THE SPALLING ISSUES UNDER THE HOME HAS IF FACT SETTLED THE HOME ATLEAST 1.02 INCHES OVER 35+ YEARS. THESE MAJOR SPALLING PROBLEMS IRONICALLY ARE A RESULT OF FLOODS OVER THE YEARS -- "FILL" BEING ALLOWED IN 1975 (NOT ALLOWED TODAY) TO COVER 3/4 HEIGHT OF THE 16 PILINGS AROUND THE PARIMETER OF THE HOME. wHEN YOU BREAK THROUGH THE STUCCO WALLS COVERING THE REMAININ 1/4, YOU CAN JUMP DOWN AND WALK UNDER THE HOME -- YOU CAN ALMOST STAND UP STRAIGHT. WHEN WE HAD SEVERAL DIRECT HITS FROM STORMS OVER THE YEARS, THE WATER LEVEL CAME UP TO THE TOP STEP OF OUR FIRST FLOOR (AT LEAST ON 3 OCCASSIONS SINCE WE OWNED THE HOME)...THE 4+ FOOT DEEP TRENCH FORMED AROUND THE PILINGS UNDER THE HOME RETAINED SALT WATER. THE PILLINGS WERE DIPPED IN SALT WATER UNTIL THE WATER EVAPORATED. IT TOOK BROWNIE HOME MOVERS 5 MINUTES TO DETERMINE THIS ISSUE -- YOU CAN SEE THE LINE OF SPALLING ACROSS EACH PILING -- THE WATER LINE AND MAJOR SPALLING. ABOVE THAT LINE = ZERO PROBLEMS = CLEAN.
ONLY ONE EXPLANATION THE ENGINEERS TELL US.
#5 -- THE BED AND BATH WERE IN FACT PROVEN TO HAVE BEEN INSTALLED AT TIME OF CONSTRUCTION. IT COULD HAVE BEEN A CHANGE ORDER OR THEY COULD HAVE BEEN SNUCK IN THE DAY AFTER CO (WHICH IS VERY UNLIKELY BECAUSE THEY WERE TAXED ON THIS STUFF 3 WEEKS AFTER THE HOME WAS BUILT SO WHY DO IT?) BUT, EITHER WAY, THESE FEATURES FALL UNDER THE 50% RULE AS THE HOME WAS IN FACT BUILT TO BFE AS OF THE DAY IT WAS BUILT.
SO, IN THE END....WE WILL FIND OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE MADE OF SEEING SO MANY ERRORS HAVE BEEN MADE IN THIS CE CASE. DO OFFICIALS STAND UP AND ACKNOWLEDGE MAJOR OVERSIGHTS AND CORRECT THEM?.... OR??????

 

PRESS RELEASE

December 10, 2009

Ros-Lehtinen Comments On FEMA’s Response To Her Letter On Behalf Of Homeowners With Downstairs Enclosures

For more information:  December 10, 2009
Alex Cruz, Communications Director
Office 305-668-5994 Cellular  202-225-8200 


Washington, DC --- Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, sent a letter dated September 17 on behalf of Florida Keys homeowners to FEMA asking the agency clarify its expectations in the ongoing dispute regarding floodplain management and downstairs enclosures. Ros-Lehtinen also expressed her concern that FEMA has not been adequately taking into account its effects on local residents.  The disappointing response from FEMA dated December 7th repeats FEMAs conclusion that ongoing efforts are sufficient and that local residents must simply accept the course set out by local and federal officials. 
For years Ros-Lehtinen has actively supported Keys homeowners in their battle for fair access to the National Flood Insurance Program. Many residents continue to suffer unduly because of decades of local government and federal government missteps that left them with “non-conforming downstairs enclosures.”  
In her letter, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen requested that FEMA take greater care to address the needs of local residents who are being penalized for these government failures. Obviously, FEMA’s response is not acceptable and Ileana will continue working on this vexing issues. 
Said Ros-Lehtinen, “This response from FEMA only pays lip-service to finding real solutions for Keys homeowners. This hollow response continues to view individual homeowners as the problem rather than victims of years of bureaucratic failures. I will continue working with all involved until the problem is addressed in a more equitable manner that takes into account the harsh impact this policy is having on scores of families throughout Monroe County.”

 

ILLEGAL SEARCH?

Several homeowners in Key Largo are suing Monroe County and FEMA alleging violation of their state and federal constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure. The Key Largo residents claim inspections of the homes in 2008 were conducted under false pretenses.

The Keynoter quotes their lawyer Timothy Thomes

"They were inspected and there were allegations of noncompliance found, and of course the method under which they obtained access was one of these, 'We'd like to do an inspection for your flood insurance.' They never placed my clients on notice that the information obtained would be turned over to [county] Code Enforcement."

"Thomes said his clients' homes were inspected more than a year ago. He sued in lieu of scheduled code enforcement hearings this month. He said he was awaiting resolution to negotiations between the county and FEMA."

MONROE COUNTY COMMISSION

The Commission in a 4-1 vote on February 17, 2009 approved a rsolution put forth by the Citizens Not Serfs organization seeking a end to the downstairs-enclosure inspection program. The resolution was rejected by FEMA.

Monroe County Growth Management Director Christine Hurley is quoted in the Keynoter. She explains that the inspection program has three components.

1. When a property's flood insurance is renewed the county inspects the downstairs enclosure to see if it is legal or not. This is the FEMA component.

2. Inspections also take place after an application for any building permit

3. Property sales - A point-of-sale inspection is also being used to find illegal enclosures

Growth Management Director Hurley indicated that FEMA believes there may be as many as 5,400 illegal downstairs enclosures. Of these 2,000 have been inspected and 1,600 have been brought into compliance. The County Commissioners have been using the figure of 400 homes yet to be inspected.

The Keynoter article quotes Citizens Not Serfs representative John November "What the resolution does is provides local support that gives Washington officials the green light to end the program. We're currently setting meetings in Washington ... and we're confident that it's going to happen."

ADDITIONAL LINKS

Article by Steve Estes of the NewsBarometer on Ros-Lehtinen Letter to FEMA

Position of Citizen Not Serfs

 

 

 

 

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