Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
February 5, 1997
Author: Yolanda Rodriguez STAFF WRITER
The owner of Rosemary Court has three months to clean up the property or face a series of fines for code violations.
Three historic houses and a cottage are on the parcel, which is near 10th Street. The houses lie on the north end of the Rosemary District, a low-income neighborhood that the city wants to redevelop.
Roger Morris, the owner, has rented the houses to a group of people that is trying to start an artists' commune and open shops to sell their works.
On Tuesday, Morris and two of his tenants met with City Manager David Sollenberger and Tim Litchet, the building and zoning manager, to discuss the code violations and what can be done to save the buildings from demolition.
Morris said he is not willing to pour large amounts of money into the property unless the city commits to cleaning up drug dealing in the surrounding neighborhood. He said that he would like to allow his tenants to develop the site, but also said th! at he would be better off financially if he tore down the buildings.
Last month Morris was cited for a series of code violations, including the unlawful accumulation of rubbish and junk vehicles. He was also cited for: allowing transient lodging on the property, which is not permitted under its existing zoning; not having a ``certificate of zoning compliance'' for buildings; and having a vacant building that does not conform to the site plan. The vacant building was burned in a fire in August of 1994, and the residents have been slowly repairing the interior.
Morris faces fines - $50 a day per violation - and is due to appear before the city's ``special master'' to contest them Feb. 13. Morris said that the vehicles and rubbish have been removed.
He got no commitments from the city about more police enforcement in the area. But, at the close of the meeting Tuesday, Litchet said that he would ask the special master to continue the case for 90 days.
S! ollenberger said he would have police look at crime concerns in the ne ighborhood.
Copyright (c) 1997 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Record Number: 9702050365