Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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Court orders removal of dock pilings

ISLAMORADA -- Jeffrey Adeeb and Deanna-Brueck Adeeb, whose planned 500-foot dock received permits last decade due to an inaccurate survey, must tear out the dock's pilings by the end of next month, according to a court agreement reached last week.

"It's not over until the fat lady sings, and the pilings aren't out yet," said Patty Silver, who has represented Adeeb's Plantation Key neighbors Scott and Laura Morgan in a lawsuit they filed to block the project in 2009. "I just hope they will be by Feb. 28."

Along with the court deal, Adeeb entered into an administrative agreement Dec. 19 with the state in which he admitted to submitting an inaccurate survey. Forty-one pilings from the aborted project stretch into the ocean from the Adeeb's home just south of the Treasure Harbor neighborhood.

The outer pilings for the dock, which was to be five times longer than the standard 100-foot cap imposed by the village, sit in just two feet of water at mean low tide -- half the depth required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in a rule designed to ensure safe navigation and protect seagrass.

Nevertheless, the project was initially permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the DEP based on the survey the Adeebs submitted, which said the end-of-dock water depth is 4.4 feet at mean low tide.

In addition, the village approved a variance allowing for the extra-long dock despite concerns expressed by then-village biologist Leslie Whaylen about the lack of water depth.

The Adeebs began work on the project in the winter of 2009 but were quickly halted by the Corps after Morgan sent photos of a construction barge damaging the seagrass. The DEP followed suit in late 2010, alleging that the Adeebs and contractor Conch Republic Marine damaged 2,100 square feet of seagrass.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also got into the act, accusing surveyor Lawrence Frank of filing a flawed document. In April 2011 Frank agreed to pay a $3,500 fine.

The village, however, stood behind its variance, spending $86,000 over nearly three years to fight the Morgan's lawsuit.

Nevertheless, Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled in November 2011 that the pilings must be taken out. The Adeebs filed an appeal, which they lost in September.

However, they weren't quick to take out the pilings. Last week's agreement came before a hearing on a motion for contempt of court, which Silver filed because the pilings remain in place.

The Adeebs' attorney Andrew Baumann did not return a call and an email for comment.

rsilk@keysnews.com

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