City to rule on Sunpiper park
The mobile home park is battling Largo over jurisdiction and code enforcement issues.
By LORRI HELFAND
Published December 19, 2006
LARGO - City commissioners are expected to decide tonight the fate of 13 units at the mobile home park formerly known as Sunpiper.
Earlier this month, the city's Code Enforcement Board filed a report concluding that the homes were unsafe.
If the commission agrees with the board and staff recommendations, the owner, Key Largo Communities, would have 60 days to acquire permits to fix or remove unsafe homes and 30 additional days to complete the work.
If the owner doesn't comply with the order, the city will demolish the homes and put a lien on the property to recoup the costs, building official Mike Sizemore said.
Key Largo Communities, which recently changed the park's name to No Go Largo Village in protest, has been battling the city over jurisdictional and code enforcement issues since July.
City officials said an inspection showed a number of violations, including exposed electrical wiring, sewage leaks, unpermitted construction, work without asbestos remediation, units missing hurricane tie-downs and holes in floors and exterior walls.
There are about 70 mobile homes in the park.
Attorney Brian Battaglia says his client, which has owned the property at 1760 Clearwater-Largo Road since late June, intends to appeal the decision with the court if commissioners deem the units unsafe.
Meanwhile, Helene Provenzano, an agent for Key Largo Communities, has applied for and received city permits to remove recently installed water meters and a sign with the park's new name.
She did so "under protest" to comply with a Dec. 7 Code Enforcement Board decision, saying it wasn't worth fighting the city on such small issues.
"They threatened to fine me," Provenzano said.
The permits and applications have the words "Under Protest" written on them in various places.
Last month, the park owner filed a lawsuit in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court challenging the city's June 2005 annexation of the park.
City Attorney Alan Zimmet said that the fact the owners are applying for permits helps the city's position.
"It is further evidence that they're within our jurisdiction," Zimmet said.
But Battaglia said the fact that Provenzano applied for the permits under protest means she is not admitting her property is in Largo.
John Hubbard, city attorney for Dunedin and Tarpon Springs, said applying for the permits under protest may enable the owner to argue that it wasn't consenting to the city's jurisdiction. But Hubbard added that he wasn't sure if that argument would be successful.
Lorri Helfand can be reached at 445-4155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Last modified December 19, 2006, 06:54:45]
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