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Code compliance ordered for Cape property deemed in violation

By Staff | Jul 17, 2015

In the not-so-distant future the neighbors in a southwest Cape Coral neighborhood may not have to look at deteriorating boats floating on a nearby property with code violations.

At a code compliance meeting, a magistrate Thursday ordered the owners of the property to either fix, clean or remove the three boats, much to the relief of nearby property owners who say the “zombie boats” are an eyesore that has affected their quality of life, sale of their homes and property values.

Homeowner Ken Rankin said the decision seemed satisfactory.

“It’s up to the city to take the authority the magistrate gave them and get rid of those boats. We’ll see in a few weeks whether that happens,” Rankin said. “It sounds like it’s going to resolve the problem.”

Special Magistrate Harold Eskin said the owners of the property at 117 SW 53rd Terrace, the estate of Andreas Plattner, needed to do something about the decaying boats on the property that neighbors say have sat there for more than a decade.

Nobody from the Plattner estate attended the meeting held in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Richard Carr, code enforcement manager, showed Eskin photos of the boats and property taken by now-retired code enforcement officer Jack Lytle.

The boats are covered in mildew and dilapidated. There also is overgrowth on the property and a wooden dock that is virtually unusable. Further photos taken five years earlier show the boats had been pretty much left unattended to even then.

Carr said neighbors have complained that rodents, such as possum, live in the area and go into neighbors’ yards, and that they haven’t seen a person on the boats for years.

Rankin and his wife, Lois, testified they have lived across the canal from the property for 10 years and have never once seen the boats run.

“My real concern is for our neighbors. This isn’t only a property value issue but a quality of life issue,” Rankin said. “I like to be on the water and it’s a mess. I want it cleaned up.”

Lois said she and her husband have been trying to sell their home for almost a year, but every time an interested party comes and looks across the canal, they lose interest.

“They don’t respect the property or the neighbors. Consider that,” she said.

Eslan ordered compliance by July 27 or the owners will face a fine of up to $100 per day. He said the city had the right to correct the problem on its own and consider its options, including removal at the cost of the owner.

A compliance hearing will be held Aug. 20. If the issues are not resolved, a lien can be placed on the property, to be paid upon sale of the property.

Rankin had a suggestion if nothing is done to get the boats cleaned up or removed.

“I’d like to see the boats taken into the Gulf of Mexico and sunk,” Rankin said.

Parties affiliated with the estate could not immediately be reached for comment.