They range from $50 per property to $500. The Marine Resource Task Force is expected to be fully briefed on the number of fines and the total dollar amounts Wednesday at 2PM. They’ve been kept in the dark on the stats up to this point.
For the last several meetings, members of MRTF have been requesting fine totals from Environmental Project Manager Chadd Chustz. At every one of those meetings, Chustz could not produce the stats and said he’d get them for the committee members. The town council has directed staff to be more aggressive in levying fines on properties that consistently violate the town’s turtle lighting ordinance. Councilman Jim Atterholt also asked Town Manager Roger Hernstadt to produce the numbers last week at the town council meeting.
Scanning the 15 pages of turtle ordinance violations issued this year, we can see that the Seaside Condo building on Estero Boulevard has been slapped with a $500 fine for improper lighting at their pool visible from the beach. They have a hearing scheduled in front of the magistrate for September 15th.
A $250 fine was paid by the owners of 3534 Estero Boulevard for this violation below.
Another $250 fine was levied on this property, located at 8044 Estero Boulevard. As of this morning that fine has not been paid.
In all there are approximately 225 turtle ordinance violations that have either been resolved, advanced to the stage of a fine being issued or are still under investigation.
The fines are extreme, and are issued to renters/owners who are only there for a few days or a week, who are not being warned first with a citation. I received a $500 fine for the FIRST violation of my unit in a complex, and it wasnt an outdoor light or even one close to the beach side of the unit. They need to issue each unit/renter their own warning so they arent being punished for what the previous people there did. Ive been coming to FMB for many years in summer and NEVER had a problem and have always adhered to not having lights on close to the slider doors on the beach side. It appears they’re out for money from unsuspecting victims.
Are these properties rentals? Maybe the people there don’t know any better? Do the rental companies require documentation at each beach side rental?
Why is there such a delay in notifying the MTF on the finds? Who is keeping the records and what are the check and balances?