Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - November 17, 2015
November 17, 2015 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #7

Violations of Manatee County's Land Development Code, Section 703.2.23, by Marthel D. Mitchell, at property located at 1604 - 26th Avenue East, Bradenton, Florida


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Geoffrey K. Nichols, Assistant County Attorney, ext. 3750

Action Requested
Motion to authorize the County Attorney's Office to pursue all appropriate legal action, including filing and prosecution of a lawsuit for an injunction against Marthel D. Mitchell arising from various code violations.

Enabling/Regulating Authority

Chapter 125, Florida Statutes

Background Discussion
The Manatee County Code Enforcement Division of the Building and Development Services Department (“Code Enforcement”) has requested assistance from the County Attorney’s Office regarding various code violations by Mr. Marthel D. Mitchell. The entirety of the violations have occurred at Mr. Mitchell's property located at 1604 - 26th Avenue East, Bradenton, Florida. Due to the condition of Mr. Mitchell’s property, numerous complaints have been made by his neighbors.  In an attempt to bring the property into compliance, Code Enforcement has exhausted their remedies. 

The condition of Mr. Mitchell's property has resulted in over 65 citations being issued by code enforcement officers.  The violations are of Manatee County's Land Development Code, Section 703.2.23.  The citations have included, but are not limited to, parking and storage of junk or inoperable vehicles, tools strewn about the property, vehicle parts stored on the property, refuse piles, trash and debris, and unscreened outdoor storage.  These same violations have been present on Mr. Mitchell’s property for years. Mr. Mitchell has refused to pay the fines imposed by the Special Magistrate, and the amount of the fines now exceed the value of the property.  In addition, it has been reported that Mr. Mitchell is dumping oil and other contaminants on the property.  The agencies with jurisdiction over the matter have been contacted and are investigating these allegations.   Pursuant to Chapter 1-19, Section 1-19-23, Code Enforcement exercised its authority to clear the property and file lot clearing liens.  Lot clearing liens, if not paid, are added to the tax bill.  In this case, the lien was added to the tax bill then paid, along with the property taxes, by a third party who has a remainder interest in the property.  However, his procedure is not resolving the condition as Mr. Mitchell is unaffected by this enforcement tool.  Additionally, Mr. Mitchell now refuses to allow Code Enforcement to clear the lot.  It is clear Mr. Mitchell has no intent of correcting the violations, or maintaining the property in a manner which is not in violation of Manatee County's Land Development Code. 

It is the opinion of the County Attorney's office that the only long-term solution is to file for an injunction against Mr. Mitchell and have the Court enter an order requiring Mr. Mitchell to bring the property into compliance.  If Mr. Mitchell does not follow the court order, he could be held in contempt.  Contempt is punishable by fines, imprisonment, and other sanctions.

The County Attorney's Office, therefore, requests authority to take appropriate measures, including the filing and prosecution of a lawsuit to obtain injunctive relief.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other

This is a County Attorney item.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Return an "approved" copy of this agenda memo to Tracy Hanrahan at the County Attorney's Office via email to tracy.hanrahan@mymanatee.org


Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
The total costs of litigation are unknown at this time.

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs
The total costs of litigation are unknown at this time.