County issues response on Hurricane Ian debris removal, says it was illegally dumped

Residents living off of Hatchett Creek Boulevard in Venice are expressing concern over...
Residents living off of Hatchett Creek Boulevard in Venice are expressing concern over Hurricane Ian debris that is still covering the streets.(WWSB-TV)
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 3:56 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2023 at 4:46 PM EST
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - Residents living off of Hatchett Creek Boulevard in Venice expressed concern to ABC7 over Hurricane Ian debris that is still covering the streets. The City says the debris were illegally dumped in the area.

Residents said the piles line both sides of the street and the biggest concern is the safety of residents in the area.

Residents in the area expressed concern over who is actually in charge of removing the debris with part of the street being in the City of Venice and the other in Sarasota County. According to the city spokeswoman Lorraine Anderson, Sarasota County is responsible for the clean-up of Hatchett Creek Boulevard.

“Hatchett Creek Boulevard is entirely Sarasota County right-of-way and the properties which front the roadway are all in the county,” said Anderson. “The City of Venice does have some property on the north side, but they front a different road completely. So, that debris should be collected by Sarasota County.”

The County responded to ABC7′s Michaela Redmond with the following statement:

The vegetative debris in the right-of-way along Hatchett Creek Boulevard has been identified by county staff as illegally dumped storm debris from Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club.

Under the county’s emergency declaration, collection efforts applied only to eligible debris generated from individual residential properties, and per FEMA’s public assistance (PA) program guidelines, needed to be placed in front of individual residences for collection. FEMA also considers golf courses as commercial property which is ineligible and excluded for debris removal under FEMA’s PA program and not considered eligible for debris removal by Sarasota County. Commercial properties, commercial contractors and commercial tree services were not permitted to place construction and demolition or vegetative storm debris on public-right-of-way for county collection or to avoid disposal fees.

On Nov. 3, 2022, county staff made contact with the Pelican Pointe General Manager informing them that they would be responsible for the debris removal and should work through their insurance, Small Business Administration or other methods.

As no action toward debris removal was made, Sarasota County Code Enforcement assessed and documented the debris piles on Dec. 13, 2022 and attempted to make contact with the GM again.

On Dec. 16, 2022, Pelican Pointe informed county code enforcement that they were waiting to hear back from haulers to schedule removal.

Today, Jan. 3, 2023, code enforcement conducted a reinspection and found no additional progress on the debris removal. Another attempt to contact was made.

Sarasota County reported 3.3 million cubic yards of storm debris have been collected so far with collection wrapping up.