OKEECHOBEE – Code violations on Marvin Brantley’s property on Parrott Avenue were once again the topic of discussion this week by the Okeechobee City Council.
At their April 20 meeting, the Okeechobee City Council agreed to accept settlement of a Final Judgment entered in City of Okeechobee v. Marvin W. Brantley; Case No. 2004 CA 309 related to real property located at 1905 S. Parrott Avenue, Okeechobee, Florida 34974.
The city attorney explained the Brantley family offered to settle the case for $24,000 under the terms contained in the court order, including paying civil penalties, staff costs and attorney fees. There’s a long history here of noncompliance, he said. “The individual we are dealing with now is Mr. Brantley’s son. They will both be signing the settlement agreement.” The settlement agreement includes automatic civil penalties of $500 per day if they go into violation again. The case will be handled differently and more aggressively than it has in the past, he said.
In other business, the city council voted to accept a settlement proposal in the Walgreens code violation case. The Special Magistrate entered a lien against this property on Jan. 11, 2018, as a result of violations of Sections 30-43 and 30-44 of the City’s Code of Ordinances. The city provided the 90 day notice letter to the property owner, Okeechobee Park Street, LLC on or about August 30, 2018. The lien has continued to accrue daily fines of $50. The City provided a demand notice letter to the property owner, Okeechobee Park Street, LLC on or about Feb. 17, 2021. The property owner has offered to settle the case and pay $9,920, to be paid immediately. This amount covers all of the City attorney’s fee and costs plus 75% of the lien amount.
The city council also approved the Special Magistrate’s recommendation to settle a code enforcement case against Bella Rose Day Space, 311 N.E. Second Street. In March 2020 the city provided the property owner with a Notice of Violation of the City’s Code of Ordinances. The city provided several additional notices after that. In August 2020, after proper notice, the Special Magistrate held a hearing and entered a lien against this property. The city inspected the property eight times in 12 months and the property ultimately came into compliance on March 9, 2021. Pursuant to the lien, fines accrued in the amount of $14,600. The Special Magistrate considered the property owner’s fine reduction request at a hearing on March 9, 2021. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing and testimony of the property owner and City staff, the Special Magistrate recommended a 50% reduction of the total fine of $14,600 plus all previously assessed administrative fees “is more than reasonable and fair and that such reduction is in the best interest of the City of Okeechobee.” The magistrate also recommended that the property owner should arrange a payment plan to pay the fines and fees within a reasonable time.
An attorney for the property owner said some evidence pertinent to the case was not considered by the Special Magistrate. He asked if the case could be sent back to the magistrate to be reconsidered. Councilman Bobby Keefe said other cases were not given the option of sending a case back to the magistrate. Mayor Dowling Watford said the case could be appealed through the circuit court.