MANATEE COUNTY, FL. - Manatee County Code Enforcement was set to address the issue of glass dust coming from a nearby factory into a mobile home park on Wednesday.
It will now be addressed in February before the entire code enforcement board.
The mountains of glass and debris are still there. In fact, residents of Villa Del Sol Mobile Home Park at 6515 15th Street East in Sarasota we spoke with say since we reported the story last year, the piles have gotten bigger.
The issue is this that people who live in the area say their homes and vehicles are always covered with glass dust blowing out of the facility. They also fear they are breathing that glass dust in.
They say they are fed up and want the county to step in and do something about it. "I’m at the end of my rope, yes," says Susan Durham.
Durham says over the past year, she's watched these mountains of glass just get bigger. "I don’t have any problem with them running a business, like I said years ago, these used to be little hills, not mountains," says Durham.
Last year, ABC 7 News reported on the glass dust that nearby residents say blows from the strategic materials plant onto their cars and houses, and they fear into their lungs as well. "I do believe if it’s in your home and on your car, the dust particles are in you," says Durham.
Strategic Materials agreed to build a 40-foot tall barrier between the plant and the Villa Del Sol Mobile Home Park, which borders it, but it's not stopping everything.
Now, nearby residents say they want the county to step in and take action. "We have all talked to code enforcement. They know us on a first name basis. We've talked to them so much," says Jimmy Blastorah.
On Wednesday, Strategic Materials was set to go before a code enforcement magistrate, however on Tuesday the company filed a plea of Not in Violation to county code enforcement. That means Strategic Materials will now face the full county code enforcement board on February 13.
"The county will present their side of the case, what they feel the violations are, the respondents can rebut that, tell their side of the story, and then the seven member board will decide whether there’s a violation or not," says Joe Fenton, Manatee County Code Enforcement.
Despite the company's plea that they've committed no violations, county officials think otherwise. "They were cited for trash and debris, non-residential screened outdoor storage, and adverse impacts of odors dust and airborne releases," says Fenton.
We did reach out to the plant manager, John Burns, but were told by someone answering the phones that he was not available today, but that he might be back tomorrow. We were also told that there was no one else today that could speak with us.
If the county code enforcement board decides violations were committed, most likely Strategic Materials will be given 30 days to bring their operation into compliance with county codes or face fines.