Owners face hearing for lighting violations
SUN PHOTO/LAURIE KROSNEY
AMITW Section Coordinators Susan Camp, standing
and Christina Swosinski, kneeling on left locate
the eggs in a nest found Sunday by Volunteer Johanna Gering.
BRADENTON BEACH — Bradenton Beach is cracking down on violators of its sea turtle protection ordinance.
City officials invited Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission Imperiled Species Management Lighting Specialist Jean Higgins to come and assist the city in making after-dark inspections along the beach.
City codes mandate that all sources of light that might be visible from the waterline be shielded or turned off during turtle nesting season because the marine turtles are attracted to the artificial lights and often head toward the light source instead of toward the water.
Higgins was in town on May 12 to give her expert opinion to Building Official Steve Gilbert and the city’s code enforcement officers, Gail Garneau and Wendy Chabot.
Higgins generated a report citing the problems at the 11 properties. Her report specified exactly what the violations were on each property and what could be done to correct the problems. Photos included in her report document location of the problem lighting fixtures.
"We want these properties to come into compliance," Gilbert said. "Our goal is not to issue fines, it’s to motivate people to come into compliance."
Gilbert said he was surprised to learn that some of the most serious violations were at properties on the east side of Gulf Drive.
Since the violations occurred after the May 1 commencement of turtle nesting season, the properties were already in violation of the ordinance.
Violation is "irreparable (cannot be repaired)" and "irreversible (cannot be reversed) and/or turtle nesting season is already underway," were checked on the notification form.
"Therefore this violation is being immediately referred to the city of Bradenton Beach Code Enforcement Special Master for a hearing to enforce the city’s code and assess penalties and costs at a hearing which will be scheduled as soon as possible," the summons read.
The notice gives the property owners until May 27 to come into compliance. A fine of up to $250 a day could be levied for each day after that the property remains out of compliance.
For a repeat violation, the fine could rise to $500. The violator could also be liable for any costs incurred by the city, including attorney’s fees.
The hearings will take place sometime in June.