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An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downstairs Enclosures

Information on enforcement measures taken against alleged illegal enclosures of downstairs areas always seems to be of interest to residents of the Florida Keys.

Several home owners living in Ocean Reef, a community not unlike Duck Key made the news this summer over a possible violation of flood plain laws.

Homeowners Paul and Marsha DePoo, were among the first to be prosecuted based on the result of a flood-insurance inspection program.

Another couple, Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, were slated for prosecution after a federally-mandated flood insurance inspection disclosed a fully furnished, 12-room downstairs enclosure behind the garage doors in a living area beneath the Gifford's Ocean Reef home.

Legal action against the Gifford's was not pursued do to a subsequent change by the Monroe County Commission in the definition of the word "concealment". What is significant about the Monroe County Commissioners' redefinition of criteria for determining whether prosecution of alleged illegal construction below the base flood elevation should take place?

It seems the Commission undertook this action just a day after attending the Annual dinner held for Commissioners at the private Ocean Reef Club. Commissioners voted to change the definition of "concealment" so that in order for construction be considered concealed, it must only be visible by entry through the home.

Redefinition of the term "concealment" meant the Commission had in effect caused a halt to code enforcement proceedings against the Giffords. Though Kathy Lee and Frank Gifford were not mentioned specifically by the Commissioners in their discussion, the Gifford's home at the time of the Commission's action was the only home in the Upper Keys alleged to be in violation of the downstairs enclosure provisions of the floodplain laws. The DePoos had admitted guilt prior to the commission's action.

Commission member, Murray Nelson pointed out that the home at issue had many windows in it visible from the street. Code Enforcement with the new definition of "concealment" thus had to view the fully furnished, 12-room downstairs enclosure behind garage doors beneath the Gifford's Ocean Reef home as "visible".

 

 

 

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