BELLEAIR BEACH - The City Council Monday night decided to take legal action against a homesteaded homeowner who has blatantly ignored his neighbors pleas to maintain his property and avoided the town's municipal efforts to bring his home to code.
The council debated back and forth between filing a law suit or offering the home owner an olive branch and giving him one last chance to avoid litigation.
A neighbor spoke about his and others living near the address in question. He said, "He's de-valuing our properties. What you don't see from the street is that part of the garage door is missing. Children play in the area. It's a safety concern, too." He chided the council, "We've offered olive branches before. You are letting the citizens down by stalling."
Morino noted that some of the city's prettiest homes are located on Harrison in that neighborhood and said, "212 does bring it down."
A motion was made by vice-mayor Donna Durante to serve the homeowner with a letter stating the town's final position and giving him 5 days to present a contract for construction proving repairs will be made within 30 days. If not, city attorney Paul Morino has been advised to automatically file a civil law suit. The motion was passed.
Police Chief E.S. Armistead was asked by Morino to give a synopsis of the town's history with the homeowner. Armistead referred to a memorandum he wrote from December 2, listing notices for fines that have been given the homeowner regarding a damaged garage door.
According to Armistead, the homeowner was recently charged with crimes related to criminal mischief, aggravated stalking and vehicles without tags.
In other action Monday, the council announced the winner of the city logo contest that was being held. Three council members voted for the entry from artist Tony Blue, who will receive the $500 first prize.
Belleair Beach city council meets in its regular meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m.
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