Photo: NWF Daily News
“…Walton County is notifying coastal private property owners that its crews will no longer collect garbage from the beaches at their homes or condominiums.
County Attorney Sidney Noyes told county commissioners Tuesday that enough owners had refused to back off previous requests to keep county vehicles off their land to warrant the decision to halt all garbage collections.
‘Unfortunately, even though some of these individual private property owners have rescinded their requests, others are not willing to, so it looks like we will not be able to continue the garbage collection service on private property,’ Noyes told the board.
Noyes said letters would be sent out Tuesday or Wednesday to inform all owners that as of Aug. 13 they would be responsible for picking up their own beach trash, something Walton’s Tourist Development Council has done for years…
The county’s move is the latest fallout from the July 1 implementation of a new state law. HB 631 wiped out Walton County’s customary use ordinance and gave private beachfront owners the ability to post no trespassing signs on their property and prevent people from accessing dry sand areas there…
Sheriff Michael Adkinson, whose deputies have been called upon regularly since July 1 to mediate property disputes on local beaches, has said consistently his deputies are not going to charge anyone on the beach with criminal trespass.
Nonetheless, Commission Chairman Bill Chapman argued at Tuesday’s meeting that the county couldn’t risk collecting trash on private property for fear an arrest would result.
‘I don’t want to see legal action taken, criminally, by our guys going up and down there and picking up the trash,’ Chapman said. ‘I don’t want guys driving being subjected to arrest by the sheriff because we’ve violated a demand letter.’
..Litigation seems to be on the horizon. Attorney and customary use advocate Steve Uhlfelder warned commissioners Tuesday that by refusing garbage collection the private property owners were strengthening an argument against customary use. He urged them to continue sending crews to pick up trash in defiance of the no trespassing warnings.
‘Don’t go along with it. Go pick up the trash and maintain the beaches, otherwise you will be giving up some legal arguments,’ Uhlfelder said. “I don’t think you should be dictated to’…”
— Tom McLaughlin, nwfDailyNews.com
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Photo: R.E. Miami Beach,City of Miami
“Miami Beach Commissioners are turning their attention to the number of vacant storefronts in the City. Ricky Arriola, Chair of the Commission’s Finance Committee, started a lively conversation on Facebook recently when he posted an article from the New York Post about the idea of a vacancy tax floated by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio…
Miami Beach Economic Development Manager Michelle Huttenhoff said San Jose recently passed an ordinance calling for a storefront vacancy registry. ‘After 60 days you have to self-register an address as a vacant property and then put forth your plan of action to recruit a new tenant or if there’s a permit’for construction, she said. ‘I believe for them it’s about 300 days if there hasn’t been progress made they invoke an annual registration fee.’In addition to supporting the program, Huttenhoff said the fees also go into a business incentive program to support small businesses…
With a vacancy registry, she said, City staff and Chambers of Commerce can help attract businesses to vacant properties…
Currently, Huttenhoff responded, vacant storefronts are required ‘to have an opaque window covering and then if they don’t have that then they are able to purchase the blue window wraps from the city but they do need to have a covering.”
Sarah Saunders, Assistant Director for Code Compliance, said while officers were helping with the vacancy count, they checked on properties with open violations for compliance and also found new violations on other properties. ‘This is something that we’ve been working on for quite some time,’she said. Code Compliance has done ‘blitzes’ along Washington Avenue to ensure compliance and they continue to monitor the vacant storefronts.”
— Susan Askew, R.E. Miami Beach
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Photo: Citrus County Chronicle
“A development group plans to breathe new life into the old KC Crump restaurant property along the shores of the Homosassa River by turning it into a relaxing spot where people can eat, enjoy outdoor music acts and escape the heat…
Crumps Landing, as envisioned, would include a 3,000-square-foot thatched structure that — depending on who you talk to — is either a tiki hut or a ‘chickee hut.’…
But before anything can open, the applicant has to address several areas of concern outlined by the county on the developers’ submitted permit application.
After learning something was being built on the site, County Building Director Carl Jones said he sent an inspector out in March to look at it and discovered work was being done without a permit and that underground electrical lines were being installed. Jones said he told the builders to stop work and go through the proper permitting channels.
After meeting with Growth Management Director Mark Green, Dan Williams and Byron Rogers of Crumps Landing LLC, Jones said he explained that a formal permit application was needed.
Williams said he believed he was exempt from the from Florida building-code requirements because the hut was to be a ‘chickee hut,’ and being built by the Seminole Indian tribe. State law does exempt such huts from code requirements if built by the Seminole or Miccosukee tribes.”
— Matthew Beck,Citrus County Chronicle
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“What’s in a name? St. Pete Beach commissioners learned a tiki hut by any other name, such as a chickee hut, can be built without a permit.
During the city’s regular May 8 commission meeting, City Attorney Andrew Dickman told commissioners some residents are using a loophole in state law, governing building codes, to install structures known as chickee huts and avoid local building permit requirements.
Chickee is the word Seminole Indians used for house. In the 1990s the federal government signed a treaty with Native American Indian tributes allowing them to build their traditional chickee huts exempt from local building regulations. The move was designed as part of reparations afforded Indian tribes mistreated by the nation and settlers in the 1800s…
Dickman told commissioners during a code enforcement hearing he became aware of how some residents used the loophole in the law to circumvent local permit requirements.
A resident built a chickee hut with a tiled bar, chairs and electricity, much more like the modern day tiki hut, and was taken before code enforcement.
However, when the homeowner appealed to the Florida Building Commission, asking for a declaratory judgment that the chickee hut was exempt from permit requirements, the structure was granted approval, Dickman said.
The city attorney advised St. Pete Beach was never notified of the state hearing, so it had no opportunity to appeal the decision. In addition, there was no requirement on the part of the homeowner to notify the Building Commission that the chickee hut was part of a local code enforcement action.
He said if the city were able to appeal it would have noted that the structure in question does not meet the spirit or letter of the law.
The Florida Building Code states; ‘Chickees considered exempt are constructed by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida or the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The term ‘chickee’ means an open-sided wooden hut that has a thatched roof of palm or palmetto or other traditional materials, and that does not incorporate any electrical, plumbing, or other nonwood features.’ …
Florida cities have tried different methods of regulating chickee huts. Some cities like Boynton Beach point out ‘a chickee hut is exempt from the permitting process, but not exempt from zoning district regulations.’
Boynton Beach requires ‘an applicant to request a zoning verification letter. With the zoning verification request the applicant must submit a site plan or survey, with scaled dimensioning of the structure, ‘along with proof that the builder is a member of either the Miccosukee or Seminole Tribe…
Marco Island permits ‘chickees in rear yard setback areas by the approval of a conditional use permit…Chickees may not be used as a carport, storage shed, boat shelter, or the like.’
In Miami Dade County, Chickees require a zoning improvement permit, established to ensure that certain land uses now exempt from the Florida Building Code remain in compliance with the zoning code.
Pinellas County defines chickees, exempt from state and local building codes, ‘as constructed by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida or the Seminole Tribe of Florida … an open-sided wooden hut that has a thatched roof of palm or palmetto or other traditional materials, and that does not incorporate any electrical, plumbing, or other nonwood features.’
St. Pete Beach commissioners agreed with the city attorney’s suggestion to ask the Building Commission for its declaratory interpretation of chickee hut that can be utilized by the city, such as whether it can include a bar area, chairs and electricity…
— Mark Schantz, Tampa Bay Newspapers
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Photo: Collins Langat, The Star, Kenya
“The county says it will pull down billboards owned by at least five advertising firms, which it says are notorious for illegally felling trees on major roads. It plans to start this week.
Some trees even have been poisoned by toxic chemicals poured on the soil, county officials said…
The county said it will start pulling down all board standing near felled trees to ‘discipline’ companies for the illegal act.
‘This can start anytime. We cannot tolerate this,’ Agriculture executive Danvas Makori said.
‘We are going to arrest anybody cutting down trees for billboards and bring down those billboards. We’re not going to permit billboards if it means a tree or even a branch has to be cut off to put up a billboard,” he said…
‘They are now pouring chemicals under trees and after a short time, trees start withering and die. This is a new trick’ he said.
Agriculture committee chairman John Mwangi called the tree felling regrettable and said he would demand a comprehensive report.
He said the Finance sector is auditing to establish the number of billboards that are not permitted and for which companies have not paid taxes.
Ex-Governor Evans Kidero issued a similar caution following rampant felling of trees. He ordered the removal of billboards interfering with trees.’
— Julius Otieno,The Star, Kenya
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Photo: Pakastan Today
“National Highways Authority (NHA) and district administration on Tuesday jointly started a drive against illegal billboards around motorway near Charsadda interchange and pulled them down.
In the presence law enforcement personnel, the staff of NHA and the district administration led by Charsadda Assistant Commissioner Talat Fahad used heavy machinery to pull down the illegal billboards, raised around the Charsadda interchange and retrieved millions worth of government land from the occupants.
Talking to media, the AC said that no one would be allowed to take law into his own hands and the operation against illegal structures would continue indiscriminately…”
— Pakistan Today
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