Saturday, November 22, 2014

Owner stands ground in hedge fight |

If you live in Palm Beach be very careful about removing those ficus hedges. It could cost you a lot of money. As Alese Kopf reports in the Shiny Sheet, click title for link:
The $250-a-day fine began Aug. 1, 2012, and accrued until March 13, 2013. That’s when Propp received Architectural Commission approval to buffer her office building with fishtail palms and install a 4-foot high fence. The project passed town inspection.
Propp said she removed the hedge because its roots were causing leaks to the building’s garage and threatening its structural integrity. She was told she didn’t need a building permit but was unaware she needed approval from the Architectural Commission, she said.
Masciarella argued Thursday that the fine should only have run from Aug. 1, 2012, to Sept. 13, 2012. He said Lead Code Enforcement Officer Rob Walton unlawfully fined his client an extra 179 days for the amount of time it took to install the fence, which was not a part of the original notice of violation or fine.
No fence was on the property originally, but Propp decided to amend the commission application for the fishtail palms to include a fence for security. The commission approved the addition.
The owner of the property also has a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of residents sitting on a code enforcement board, issuing fines and indirectly benefiting from that due to reduced property taxes caused by issuance and collection of fines. Good luck with that one.