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Palm Coast Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 1 year ago

Code enforcement prepares to issue notices for hurricane-related damage

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So far, resident have received only courtesy notices.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

So far, Palm Coast Code Enforcement has given residents a break on repairing code issues related to Hurricane Irma, sending out only “courtesy notices” about violations.

But at the end of November and beginning of December, residents with hurricane damage to fences, docks or other structures may start seeing official violation notices, said Palm Coast Code Enforcement Manager Barbara Grossman.

Violations usually go to the city’s code board about two months after the violation notice was issued, and residents can fix the code problem in that time to avoid a fine.

For the most part, residents haven’t been using the cover of the hurricane to break rules. In some cases, Grossman said, “We do see that. But we kind of know our frequent fliers.”

Because of the hurricane, Code Enforcement judged just 359 code cases in violation in September, down from 1,024 in August and 789 in July.

FENCES, YARDS, SHUTTERS

The city will start issuing notices for damaged fences starting Dec. 1.

City staff have already identified problem locations and have started working with some residents who are trying to repair the damage.

Residents who’ve been given a reprieve from mowing flooded yards will be expected to mow as soon as previously swamped areas have fully dried, Grossman said.

Shutters are allowed to be up for a month before and after hurricane season — if they’re permitted types of shutters like bohemian shutters, accordion shutters, roll-down shutters, or clear guard panels.

Residents who don’t have permitted, commercially made shutters can use what they need — like plywood — to protect their homes, but must take the makeshift shutters down immediately after a hurricane watch or warning has ended, Grossman said.

Leaving shutters up makes things difficult for rescuers if a home catches fire or there’s some other emergency inside.

“I’m very adamant about ingress and egress and first responders,” Grossman said.

DOCKS, BOATS AND RVs

City staff members assessing damage to docks on navigable saltwater canals have so far  identified about 20 damaged docks.

Starting Nov. 30, the city will tag those homes with courtesy notices.

But it will work with residents who are often waiting for insurance adjusters, FEMA reimbursement and contractors who are overloaded with work. 

Generally, Grossman said, residents who have a contract with a contractor but are waiting for the work to be done can present the contract to the city to prevent being fined.

The city is also working with a number of residents who have taken their boats and recreational vehicles out of flooded RV storage properties and are keeping them in driveways until they can put them back in storage.

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