DEP halts Madeira roof construction after environmental destruction

Article Courtesy of  The Marco Eagle

By Omar Rodríguez Ortiz  

Published August 16, 2019

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection notified the Madeira on Marco Island's condominium association and contractor RR Restoration that roof construction activities must continue to be ceased until proper construction permits are obtained.

The Marco Eagle reported on July 25 that DEP sent two warning letters on July 22 to the Madeira's condo association and RR Restoration after a department inspection revealed several code and law violations.

DEP personnel noted the removal of native dune vegetation, use of heavy equipment, damaging the existing dune and the unauthorized addition of shell fill material as a road base during a July 2 inspection.

The warning letters required both parties to schedule a meeting with DEP within 10 days to provide the additional information necessary for the department to complete its regulatory review.

DEP’s Compliance Assurance Program and Division of Water Resource Management team held a teleconference with the Madeira on Marco Island condominium association and RR Restoration on July 24, according to Alexandra Kuchta, operations analyst at DEP.

"Both parties are cooperating with DEP’s regulatory review, which is ongoing," Kuchta wrote Thursday in an email to the Eagle. "During this call, DEP conveyed that roof construction activities must continue to be ceased until proper Coastal Construction Control Line permits are obtained."

A pile of the removed vegetation was still visible on the seaward side of the Madeira Condominium on July 22.

DEP’s Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) Program regulates structures and activities which can cause beach erosion, destabilize dunes, damage upland properties, or interfere with public access.

"Regulated activities include the construction of all structures such as homes, condominiums, hotels, amenities, and armoring structures such as bulkheads, revetments and seawalls," Kuchta wrote. "Any kind of protection structure, ground alteration or vegetation removal activity seaward of the CCCL requires a permit."

Neither the Madeira on Marco Island's condo association nor RR Restoration applied for a CCCL permit from DEP prior to beginning activities associated with roof repairs, according to Kuchta.

"On July 31, 2019, DEP received a CCCL permit application to resume activities on the seaward side of Madeira on Marco Island Condominium," Kuchta wrote. "DEP’s Division of Water Resource Management and CCCL Permitting Program are reviewing the application."

RR Restoration and the condo association’s management staff are working closely with DEP to secure approval for resuming work along the exterior of the building, according to Dennis Kariores, operations manager at RR Restoration.

"As general contractor for roof replacement at exterior work at the Madeira, RR Restoration has gone to great lengths to secure the proper permits and protect the beach in and around the Madeira property line," Kariores said.

Kariores said to the Eagle in July that he had "no idea" about the reported code violations.

"We didn't tell anybody or authorize anybody to remove that vegetation," Kariores said at the time. "That's not our equipment there."

DEP intends to pursue formal enforcement in this matter in the form of a consent order.

"Restoration of the dune and beach will be required, as well as civil penalties," Kuchta wrote.